The PATC Robert Humphrey (formerly Weaver) Cabin is located in the western foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of the Shenandoah National Park
This sign marks the driveway entrance at 2157 Weaver Road (SR-607)
An overview map shows the roads and trails of the surrounding area
A newly constructed wooden bridge provides a gateway from the parking lot to the cabin
The cabin's wall plaques offer a brief history of the building
Michele, Ryan and Elton drove from Chesapeake, VA and arrived at 4:45pm. Jonathan and Jim traveled from Fairfax and arrived soon thereafter.
Michele and crew begin the unloading process...
...as Maggie supervises
After opening the cabin, we quickly discover a ladybug infestation
The recently warming weather apparently triggered a massive hatch just days earlier
Jon and Michele set about to sweep away as many as possible
Meanwhile, Jim explores the grounds, and snaps a few photos of the renovated privy
The very nice black tile interior is apparently the work of Mary Jorgensen, wife of the regional PATC overseer
Reading material is provided at no extra charge
The well-maintained spring is located about 100 yards up the hill
Tested annually, the spring water is potable according to Tom Jorgensen, regional overseer
The spring's overflow pond and transport pipe that provides running water to the cabin's outdoor rinse sink
A view of the privvy and cabin from the west
Another wooden bridge offers easy access to the privy
After settling in for a bit, Jonathan and Jim explore the nearby PATC Cliff's House cabin, which is not yet occupied
Jonathan takes in the great view from the south deck
The cabin was once owned by Cliff Firestone (of tire company fame), but was later donated to the PATC
Although it appears large from the outside, only the second floor offers living quaters. This smaller deck sits on the north side of the house.
A view down the hill toward Humphrey where the group prepares to begin evening appetizers
The cabin is equipped with an excellent horseshoe pit which Jim tries out...
...as the others enjoy a fresh batch of Amish popcorn
Likewise, Jonathan, Jim and Michelle officially kick off happy hour
Sandy arrived at 8:00pm while Anniell and Kathy turned up at 9:00pm. Here, Sandy and Kathy organize their gear as Maggie looks on.
Steve and Nicholas finally arrived at 11:30pm, then relaxed by the fire pit until retiring at 1:00am
Everyone slept inside the cabin except for Kathy and Jim, who enjoyed the brisk (38°F) fresh outdoor air on the porch
Saturday morning, most of the group had risen by 8:15am
The morning temperature remained for some time in the upper 30's
Most of us took advantage of the electric stove... a rare treat for a PATC cabin
Nicholas instructs Dad about the finer points of breakfast preparation
Meanwhile, Jim prepares Canadian bacon for the morning egg feast
Anniell and Kathy discuss the day's plans...
...while Nicholas and Maggie soak up the morning sun
Spirit and Ryan likewise steel themselves for the upcoming hike
Seven of the group departed at 11:30pm in two cars for Lewis Mountain inside the SNP. Meanwhile, Kathy, Anniell and Jim search for the Powell Mountain trailhead which took considerable effort to locate.
With an assist from a pair of local gentlemen, we finally found the trailhead, parked, and prepared to depart
Kathy inspects the "stealth" trail marker which is nearly invisble from the road
Though difficult to read, the sign indicates that it's 3.6 miles to Skyline Drive
Kathy leads the way up the trail which is soon to become quite steep
In part becuase of Jim's recent illness, we elect to ascend only about 1.2 miles up the trail (route shown in red)
We lunch near our high water mark, then start back down the mountain at 3:30pm. Here, we take a break near the trailhead.
We returned to the car at 4:30pm, then pose for a photo
This Google Earth image shows our up-and-back route...
...which involved about 2½ miles of walking and 2,000 feet of elevation gains and losses
Ryan and Elton enjoy their Saturday hike on the SNP Bearfence trail...
...which involved a bit of rock scrambling
After driving the 4½ miles back to the cabin, Anniell and Kathy trek up the hill to explore Cliff's House (now occupied) for themselves
Shortly afterwards, Tom Jorgensen, the regional PATC cabin oversser, shows up with two assistants to treat a nearby lumber pile with anti-beetle powder. This leftover lumber will soon be transported to the Tulip Tree Cabin for use in expanding the rear deck.
One of Tom's helpers tends the family dog
Tom and his 12-year old son were the primary renovators of the Weaver Cabin (as it was originally named) in the late 1990's, earning them this coveted PATC award
The remainder of the group returned to the cabin at 5:30pm, having hiked the Bearfence Trail in the SNP. Here, Nicholas works on his curve ball...
...while Dad provides catching services
Ryan looks on as Sandy shows off her winning bean bag style
Now it's Ryan's turn to bear down in this intense competition
As the sport comes to an end, the dinner feast begins with appetizers
Anniell and Kathy prepare wonderful salads for the group...
...as Jonathan and Michele launch the barbequing
Others join in to grill salmon, asparagus and sausages
Michele and Steve adding a few finishing touches
A hungry crew digs in...
...as the grilling nears complettion
Michele provides the crowning dessert course... fruit and chocolate fondue
A hit with everyone!
We all finally retired, well-nourished but exhausted about midnight. We rose Sunday to a beautiful spring morning with temperatures about 10°F higher than the day before.
As the group finished breakfast and began packing, Jim took a few more photos around the cabin. This locked work and storage room is located on the second floor next to the bunks.
The loft bunks and mattress vault
The upstairs bunk room is equipped with a mini ping pong table, another rare feature for a PATC cabin
According to Tom Jorgensen, the cabin was electrified several years ago because of propane safety concerns
This clever custom-cut door leads to the cabin's basement
Jonathan and Sandy begin closing down their camp kitchen
The recycling bin offers testamony to an abundance of libation
The vehicle packing process begins
Elton and Ryan relax on the porch swing shortly before departure
But before departing, Kathy needs to attend to the cabin's log book
The entries made by the previous group offer insights into both their joys and their (many) disappointments
Kathy offers a few comments about our own visit
Anniell and Kathy inspect the photo album that documents the cabin's extensive renovations over the years
Nicholas and Steve had to depart early (8:50am) in order to get Nicholas home in time for an important sporting event. They were able to pause briefly before departure, however, for this quick photo.
The remaining ten of us likewise pose for the obligatory group photo. Michele, Ryan and Elton departed soon thereafter at 11:15am with the others about 45 minutes behind. Anniell and Kathy later stopped at SNP's Meadow Spring Parking Area (off Skyline Drive) for an afternoon hike to Mary's Rock.
On Saturday, April 6th, when returning from SNP, many in our group had observed an odd "cat ranch" located on Naked Creek Road
Four of us stopped for a look on Sunday as we departed the area
Kathy and Anniell, in fact, chatted with the woman who owns the 15 or so cats that are permanently chained to these wooden shelters
The woman said that the local humane society knows about the cats, has enforced neutering and spaying, and has prohibited her from acquiring any additional cats
This 2011 Google Earth image shows the location of the house
Likewise, this web page shows that we were not the first to photograph the "ranch"
This photo, taken by Panoramio user "yamamanim" on January 29, 2009 shows 20 cat shelters