Tuesday, August 27, 2013

So What is Going on in Syria?


Quick Video, lots going on so I only did one take.
Stay Informed 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Road Trip Adventures: South Carolina Botanical Garden


Clemson Clay Nest
Clemson Clay Nest by Nils-Udo 2007

LaChaBenn is expanding territories and for the next few months I'll be posting on cool happenings and random sweet finds throughout the country. First up, a trip down south to Clemson, South Carolina, home of the ACC Tigers, Fort Hill and South Carolina Botanical Gardens (SCBG).

What began in 1958 as a small garden, South Carolina Botanical Gardens has grown to  300 acres of natural landscapes, display gardens, and miles of streams and nature trails. Recently, SCBG was severally damaged due to heavy flooding. As a result, the Natural Heritage Garden trail is closed until spring 2014.However the remainder of this gorgeous Garden and trails remains open.

SCBG, open from dusk til dawn, is free to the public. Perhaps the best part of this is how SCBG combines nature, art and culture. The collection of Nature-Based Sculptures here is amongst the largest in the country.  What is most unique about nature-based sculptures is that they are forever evolving. Some structure stay for years, but some are naturally shaped back into the surrounding landscape. For example, my favorite piece, the Steam Path, was installed in 1998 by Gilles Bruni & Marc Babarit (B/B).

Constructing Stream Path
Stream Path's Insulation

here are picture of the final project!
Stream PathStream Path

here is a picture of Steam Path in 2001

Stream Path in 2001

Also Sittin' Pretty installed by Patrick Dougherty in 1996
Sittin' Pretty

and Sitting Pretty in 2007

Sittin' Pretty in 2007 

However some structures remain intact over the years for example the Crucible by Herb Parker installed in 1995
Crucible and in 2004Crucible 2004

Also, Natural Dialogue by Alfio Bonanno installed in 1997

Natural DialogueNatural Dialogue inside

and again 10 years later
Natural Dialogue in 2007 Natural Dialogue in 2006

If you are anywhere near Clemson (i.e.Greenville :-) take the short drive to this beautiful Garden.
You can find more information about the sculptures and the artist by visiting this page.
To learn more about SCBG directions and hours please visit its homepage.
And if you have deep pockets, SCBG is working very hard to raise money to repair the damage it sustained earlier this year.  The picture below is a link to the donation page.
south Carolina botanical garden flooding, july 2013

possible tattoo



Thursday, August 15, 2013

PATC Glass House Cabin


Glass House's Snapshot

Location:101 miles southwest of Washington D.C. via 66W and Skyline Drive or 81S
Type: Modern, Private (NOT Open to Non-PATC Members)
Max Capacity: 12
Hike in: none, but super steep driveway. 
Hike to AT: none
Cost: $35/$50 
Pets Allowed:Yes
Closest town: Front Royal, VA

Nestled outside of Front Royal in-between 81 and is  Glass House. Built in 1950 by Ms. Jewell Jennette House as a Washington getaway, Glass House was donated to the PATC in 1968.  This one story, one bedroom home is in pristine condition. The kitchen is complete with fridge and an electric oven.  There is plenty of natural light though out the dinning area and the lounge/bunkbed area. The wood burning stove is an excellent source for heat. There is one bedroom (not pictured) with two beds and plenty of mattress pads.

Outside is a partially covered wrap around porch that faces west, perfect for sunset. Underneath the porch is a utility room, with a desk, and tools for gathering wood. On the land is a garden installed by Ms. House, a Mineralogist and amateur botanist and an area to hike north east up the adjacent mountain.

20 minutes south on 81 is Luray Caverns, North on 81 is Strasburg, 15 minutes east on 55 is Front Royal.

Please note, the driveway of this house is steep, Very steep, if is snowing or icey, and you do not have a 4x4 vehicle, don't even try it. If you do have a 4x4 vehicle, still be very careful.

As always, leave the cabin cleaner than you found it, leave more fire wood than you burn, never leave food, Be Safe; Have Fun.  

PATC Rosser Lamb Cabin


Rosser Lamb's Snapshot

Location:101 miles southwest of Washington D.C. via 66W and Skyline Drive or 81S
Type: Primitive, Private (NOT Open to Non-PATC Members)
Max Capacity: 12
Hike in: 0.34 mile but if you have a narrow 4x4 vehicle you can drive to the cabin
Hike to AT: 3.0 miles
Cost: $35/$50 
Pets Allowed:Yes
Closest town: Standardsville, VA

Back in the woods of the just outside of the Central Region of the Shenandoah National Park on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge mountains is the massive Rosser Lamb cabin (but really a house).

Rosser Lamb is a great spot for a large group of campers. It has THREE porches including a covered porch that is great for sleeping, eating and chilling.

Inside there is a large kitchen area, with ample counter space and a wood burning stove. However if you have a lot of people in your party I recommend bring a gas stove to this cabin. Also downstairs is a room that works as a bedroom or a living room.
Upstairs there is a "master bedroom" with one large bed. Also upstairs is a large loft like room. There are several bed frames, and mattress pads.

Entry Run trail runs just pass Rosser Lamb. A quick drive will take you to Old Rag and White Oak Canyon hike.  Both are moderate to intense day hikes, 7+ miles that require you to bring in plenty of water. Old Rag, is especially intense because at its peak is a half mile rock scramble.

Sprout for water and creek

As always, leave the cabin cleaner than you found it, leave more fire wood than you burn, never leave food, Be Safe; Have Fun.  

PATC Olive Green Cabin

Visit Dear Baltimore or follow @DearBmore

Olive Green's Snapshot

Location: 68 miles north of Washington D.C. via 270N and 15W
Type: Primitive, Public (Open to Non-PATC Members)
Max Capacity: 4
Hike in: None, there is a driveway and a pull off area for one 4x4 vehicle just past the cabin and fire ring.
Hike to AT: None
Cost: $20/$30
Pets Allowed: No
Closest town: Thurmont, MD 

Tucked away just pass the William Houck Camp Area in Maryland's Cunningham Falls State Park is the Potomac Appalachians Trail Club's Olive Green Cabin. The cabin, built in 1871, was donated to the PATC in 1986.

Downstairs is a wood burning stove, picnic table, chairs as well as basic cookware: pots, pans and silverware. The one window lets plenty of light in during the morning hours.

Upstairs there is ample floor space, as well as four mattress pads and two bed frames. PATC says maximum capacity is 4 but really this cabin is ideal for three close friends, a couple, or a couple with two kids. There are two windows upstairs. I recommend opening these windows upon arrival as it gets stuffy upstairs, especially when using the stove. 

Directly outside of the cabin you will find a deck and another picnic table. Inside the "User" shed is a lawnmower and bow saws. (the PATC no longer leaves axes). Next to the parking area is a fire ring and further along the way is a place to do your business.

Behind the cabin and past the driveway you'll find a trail to a stream. Perfect area to rinse dishes and yourself. You can follow the stream for a little hike. Also, down the road from the cabin (in walking distance) is an AWESOME lake with a dock.

For some it is important to note that this cabin is IN a state park and off of a main road. Rangers and Maryland NRP will not come to the cabin unless they have a reason to.

Another note..my first night there I heard a crazy sound, it happened throughout the night..it kinda sounded like a high pitch scream or screech but not of the human sort..I searched around the "interweb" and seems a few people around Catoctin Mountain have heard the sounds. (Update 8/22/13 they are screech owls! Duh)

As always, leave the cabin cleaner than you found it, leave more fire wood than you burn, never leave food, Be Safe; Have Fun

Dozens of Tiger Swallowtails 

There is a lawn mower, feel free to trim the yard

PATC Pocosin Cabin


Pocosin's Snapshot

Location:114 miles southwest of Washington D.C. via 66W and Skyline Drive or 81S
Type: Primitive, Public (Open to Non-PATC Members)
Max Capacity: 8 (24)
Hike in: 0.2 mile IF Skyline drive is open,  close to 3.5 if Skyline Drive is closed
Hike to AT: 0.1 mile
Cost: $30/$45
Pets Allowed:Yes
Closest town: Elkton, VA

Built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corp, Pocosin is an awesome cabin for any camper, or Appalachian trail hiker. As long as Skyline Drive is open (and you pay the fee to access it) you can park as many as six cars 0.2 miles away from the cabin. However if Skyline is closed or you don't want to pay the fee, then you will have to hike in appx 3.5 miles. I could be wrong about this distance..but I know from it definitely took 3 hours in the snow.  If you are hiking the Appalachian trail you will love this cabin because of its location to the trail.

Inside there are three large bunk beds. Really each bed can sleep two. There are no rails on the top bunk so mobile sleepers beware. There is a little area for kitchen supplies, as well as a wood burning stove.

Outside is an Awesomely large fireplace and a picnic table. The front area overlooks the Shenandoah Valley. Down from the cabin is the latrine as well as a stream.

Other information:
Video about Pocosin

As always, leave the cabin cleaner than you found it, leave more fire wood than you burn, never leave food, Be Safe; Have Fun.

PATC Catoctin Cabin


Catoctin Cottage's Snapshot

Location: 65 miles north of Washington D.C. via 270N and 15W
Type: Modern, Public (Open to Non-PATC Members)
Max Capacity: 8
Hike in: None, there is a driveway big enough for one car or three motorcycles
Hike to AT: None
Cost: $45/$75
Pets Allowed: No
Closest town: Thurmont, MD

driveway side of Catoctin

Directly off of Thurmont's route 806 is PATC's Catoctin cabin. It is not as much a camper cabin as it is a modern home and a quick getaway.

There are two rooms upstairs, a large full kitchen with a Picnic table big enough for everyone. In the other room there are two couches and several areas to sit including a dinning room table. Inside the cabin is a large fire place and tons of games and cards to keep people busy.

Upstairs is a huge loft with 6(?) beds and mattress pads.

Outside..well directly out front is 806. There is a picnic table in the back of the house and a small patio. The backyard is wide open and goes back 50 yards before its the treeline, (and someone else's property).

There is no place to hike, on the land, but If you want to get out, downtown Thurmont is a mile north on 806. There is a Zoo near by.. but I don't support it. And there is Catoctin Furnace down the street. Catoctin Furnace is is cool because it offers a touch of hands on history, an area to explore through and around. You can go inside the shell of the old iron furnace, and ascend its old stair way up and out.

As always, leave the cabin cleaner than you found it, leave more fire wood than you burn, never leave food, Be Safe; Have Fun.