|Veach Gap Anticline|
It was one of these horseshoe layers that I went into the woods searching for today with a handheld GPS to guide the way. But before even turning on the handheld, I followed one of the prettier roads in the Shenandoah Valley leading me to a valley within a valley. Fort Valley, with only thin twisty roads for access, is Brigadoon-like… and home to an ancient anticline.
After following Veach Gap Road to its end, I set out with technology in hand. Having done my homework though, I actually could have left the handheld in the car. I knew the anticline had to be somewhere in the very narrow Veach Gap where erosion from Mill Run had exposed the wrinkles. As I approached the gap, more and more rocks became exposed, most of which were covered in brilliant green lichen. Amid a sea of lifeless brown leaves, the green rocks stood out vividly.
As the GPS was zeroing in, I spotted a tube-shaped vein of exposed rock about 30 yards away and knew I had found the anticline. Upon close inspection, it looked like a sliced yule log cake with rich layers; although this cake took millions of years to bake. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve found with my GPS. Another fifty yards away was another vein of similar shape and bake, making this a buy one, get one adventure.
Perhaps only geology nerds like me get excited about wrinkled rocks. Finding the Veach Gap anticlines was a really enjoyable adventure, and full of visual treats. But for me, it was more than just rocks and fancy geologic terms. This outing helped to keep the big picture in my mind. Understanding how the world was formed and is changing, and appreciating the incredible time lapses involved, helps keep my own life and time lapse in perspective.
There’s a lot to be learned from rocks.