Tag Archives: Shenandoah Mountain

Shenandoah Mountain 5 Years Later: What Happened to Missing Hiker Bobby Fitzgerald?

Shenandoah Mountain / Confederate Breastworks Overlook on Rt. 250 along the Augusta County/Highland County line looks over the Appalachian Mountains in Highland.

What happened to Bobby Fitzgerald on that fateful day in November of 2012?

Traveling west from Staunton along Rt. 250 as it climbs up and over Shenandoah Mountain, I cannot help wondering what happened to Robert “Bobby” Fitzgerald, the Staunton hiker who went missing in that isolated part of western Virginia on November 11, 2012, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Searches have turned up nothing. Some wonder about foul play. Others have questioned whether he fell into the steep ravines.

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Shenandoah Mountain 4 Years Later: What Happened to Missing Hiker Robert Fitzgerald?

Shenandoah Mountain / Confederate Breastworks Overlook on Rt. 250 along the Augusta County/Highland County line looks over the Appalachian Mountains in Highland.

 

 

What happened to Bobby Fitzgerald on that fateful day in November of 2012?

Traveling west from Staunton along Rt. 250 as it climbs up and over Shenandoah Mountain, I cannot help wondering what happened to Robert “Bobby” Fitzgerald, the Staunton hiker who went missing in that isolated part of western Virginia on November 11, 2012, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Searches have turned up nothing. Some wonder about foul play.

On November 20, 2012, I posted about the disappearance:

Hope is fading that a Staunton man has been able to survive a week lost or injured in the vast George Washington National Forest in western
Augusta County. Rescuers decided Monday night to call off the search.

Robert Fitzgerald, 60, has not been heard from even though his car was found parked in the area. Inside searchers found his backpack with power
bars and bottled water and other supplies.

It was a cold 25 degrees at my house this morning with heavy frost on the ground which means colder temperatures up on Shenandoah Mountain
located about 20 miles west of Staunton. Anyone who has driven to Highland County out Rt. 250 west of Staunton has driven over Shenandoah
Mountain. At the very top, at the Augusta County-Highland County line, is a parking area with a breath-takingly scenic overlook that takes in
the mountains of Highland County and beyond into West Virginia.

It also documents the Confederate Breastworks, site of Fort Edward Johnson during the Civil War, with interpretive signs of the historical
importance with a circular trail along the top of the mountain. Many other trails are in the vicinity, and that is where Robert Fitzgerald
disappeared sometime last week.

A Tuesday article in the Waynesboro News-Virginian by reporter Bob Stuart noted that Fitzgerald was physically fit and very familiar with that area of the Shenandoah range because he had hiked it for the past 15 to 20 years.

Fitzgerald appears to have hiked the trail with a friend on Sunday, November 11, and lost his cell phone at that time. It is believed he returned the following day to search for the phone, and disappeared into the wilderness. No one has heard from him since.

He reportedly was not dressed in cold weather gear and, even though days have been comfortable in this area the past week, the nights have been
cold with a low of 20 at my house one night which means temps in the teens up on the mountain.

The owner of Staunton’s Wilderness Adventure store remains cautiously optimistic about the prospects for Fitzgerald, who was a regular customer.

Four years later, it is still a mystery. There have been subsequent searches that turned up nothing. A $50,000 reward that was offered in 2015 has been extended to 2017. How could someone who was an experienced hiker in an area he knew well just disappear without a trace is a question that continues to haunt many, and something that comes to mind every time I’m on Shenandoah Mountain.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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ALERT! Police impersonator reported working Rt. 250 in western Augusta County

Augusta County mapBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The Augusta County Sheriff’s Department has issued an alert warning travelers of a police impersonator  who is working the area of Route 250 in West Augusta near Ramsey’s Draft and Mountain House Wayside. That area, surrounded by the George Washington National Forest, is very rural and mountainous with spotty cell phone service.

Residents in the area report the suspect is targeting women who are driving alone.

From the Augusta County Sheriff’s Department:

The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office has received complaints regarding a police impersonator that has been operating on Route 250 in West Augusta near Ramsey’s Draft. The suspect vehicle is described as a dark SUV, possibly black. The suspect is described as a white male with “shaggy” hair and a pimpled face.

One confirmed “traffic stop” was made in Highland County, though several others have reported being chased from Augusta County into Highland County by the suspect vehicle. The vehicle is said to have colored flashing lights on the front and rear.

If you have any information about the identity of the suspect or any information regarding the vehicle please contact the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office at 540-245-5333 or Crime Stoppers at 800-322-2017.

That section of Route 250 is located between Churchville and Shenandoah Mountain about 20 miles west of Staunton. Anyone traveling the Route 250 corridor in western Augusta County and eastern Highland County should be on alert.

Cross-posted

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Foggy view from Shenandoah Mountain

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????Fog settled on the mountains over the weekend but didn’t obscure the beauty of autumn in western Virginia. Here’s the Confederate Breastworks trail at Fort Johnson on top of Shenandoah Mountain.

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George Washington National Forest: vandalism on Shenandoah Mountain

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????The view at the top of Shenandoah Mountain in far western Augusta County — on the line between Augusta and Highland — looks over mountain ranges that extend for miles. It offers a stop for travelers, a Civil War history lesson with a 0.5 mile interpretative trail, and hiking trails that can take you as far as you like. So it was sad to stop there this week and see that vandals had stolen the black slate in the sidewalk. The slates were imbedded in concrete so it took a bit of work — and time — to remove them.

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