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Photographer's Note

What a perfect day to hike in the Monongahela NF! It was about 65 degrees at 10:00 AM when we started our hike up to "Chimney Top". It's not a super long hike at only 3 miles to the highest point, but it's a pretty good workout with 1700 feet elevation gain over those 3 miles. This was my first time up to Chimney Top, and I was very pleased when I saw the views it offered. Peregrine falcons nest up on these cliffs, and Cassie and I witnessed one "mobbing" a Turkey Vulture, which was a pretty cool site.

I was a little bummed when I couldn't find any interesting vegetation to make for some foreground interest, but I think the funky rock texture does a decent job. The beautiful green valley below and the deep blue sky draw me into this shot.

On the hike back down I had my first encounter with a Timber Rattlesnake. Cas and I were walking at a good clip as we were decending, and we were startled when we heard a loud buzzing noise. I thought for sure it was a Cicada or some other insect in a tree, and I insisted on proceeding down the trail to find the source. Cassie did not agree and hung back. I ended up almost stepping on the coiled snake. It was intense. At least I now know to heed the warning of the rattle. Haha!

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