Random (but not really)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley

There was also a dearth of color at Canaan Valley (and Blackwater Falls).

Still pretty though.

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Written by Michelle at 7:16 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Seneca Rocks

Since the weather was forecast to be nice, and Michael had the day off, Saturday we decided to head down to Seneca Rocks, in hopes of catch some fall color.

The weather was lovely, but there was a distinct lack of fall color.

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Location: Seneca Rocks
Trail: Seneca Rocks Trail
Distance: 3.7 miles
Elevation: 1573-2520 feet (1003 ft rise)

Hike Up
1.2 miles
1611-2446 feet
33 minutes

It doesn’t look like there’s that much water going over the bridge!

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Guess who had wet feet for this hike?

One of the reasons I wanted to make this hike on a Friday and not Saturday is that it tends to be really busy on Saturdays, and I selfishly prefer solitude when at the top of the rocks.

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Written by Michelle at 7:10 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, October 1, 2018

Hiking WV: Cranberry Wilderness

After a week of rain, Saturday was clear, so we headed to the Cranberry Wilderness, which has become one of my favorite places, since it is far less visited that most other spots in WV.

We hiked two shorter trails, wanting the views as much as the hiking.

Location: Cranberry Wilderness
Trail: Red Spruce Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles
Elevation: 4386-4722 feet (420 ft gain)

Is that… a bear track? (Click through to Flickr for a comparison picture.)

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The trail at the top of the mountain was unbelievably gorgeous. Look at that! So beautiful!

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Because Red Spruce Knob is the highest peak in the area, there was a fire tower here at one point. That tower is long gone, and most of the overlook is overgrown.

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Still worth the hike.

Trail: High Rocks Trail
Distance: 3.2 miles
Elevation: 4312-4507 feet (471 ft gain)

The trail to High Rocks was possibly one of the easiest we’ve ever hiked in the Mon Nat’l Forest. We kept waiting for it to get super muddy or terribly rocky or ridiculously steep; Nope. It was a very easy hike.

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It was a ridiculously easy hike, for the view at the end.

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Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Hiking WV: Dolly Sods

Since we had a long weekend and didn’t have to drive, we wanted to do a long hike on Friday.

There are so many places to choose from in the Canaan Valley area, but we eventually settled on Dolly Sods, and a trail we’d wanted to hike before, in the hopes that it being a Friday morning we wouldn’t see so many people.

We saw… fewer people than we would on a Saturday, but we still saw more people than I particularly wanted to on a hike in the wilderness.

Location: Dolly Sods Wilderness
Trails: Rocky Ridge, Blackbird Knob Trails
Distance: 7.6 miles
Elevation: 3757-4184 feet (1137 feet gain)

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Blackbird Knob Trail

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Yes, the trail really is that rocky and wet and muddy. So many people hike Dolly Sods that everything is very worn and never gets a chance to recover.

Despite the wilderness being busier than one would expect, views like this make the trip worth it.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls State Park

We hadn’t been out to Pace Point in awhile, so we decided that’d be our easier hike after a long hike at Dolly Sods.

Location: Blackwater Falls State Park
Trails: Pendleton Trace, Dobbin House and Pase Point Trails
Distance: 2.9 miles
Elevation: 3009-3170 feet

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Location: Blackwater Falls State Park
Trails: Lindy Point Trail, Canaan Loop Road
Distance: 1.4 miles
Elevation: 3139-3216 feet

The next day we decided to head out to Lindy Point (and the stream along Canaan Loop Road)

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Here’s the stream that crosses Canaan Loop Road. I haven’t seen that much water there before.

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We ended up having a multi-day debate as to whether you can see Lindy Point from Pase Point (and vice versa)

I say you can’t, Michael says you can.

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Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, September 24, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Wildlife Refuge

We did two hikes at the Canaan Wildlife Refuge. A hike along the Beale Trail that’d we’d done before, but chose because it was easy, because it was raining.

The first hike was new to us, partway up Cabin Mountain. We considered hiking to the top of the trail, but were afraid it’d be dark on the way down, and I’d trip over everything.

Location: Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge
Trails: Middle Ridge and Sand Run Trails
Distance: 3.6 miles
Elevation: 3246-3571 feet (597 ft gain)

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Is that… a bridge?

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Yes! A completely useless bridge!

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Michael: They need to mow this bridge.

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All kidding aside, it was a nice, if rather steep hike, and I definitely want to hike up to the top of the Cabin Mountain Trial to see the view.

Location: Canaan Wildlife Refuge
Trail: Beall Trails
Distance: ~3 miles (I forgot to turn on the GPS until half a mile in)
Elevation: 3151-3375 feet

It’s raining. Where shall we hike? A bog of course!

At the Bog Overlook

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Written by Michelle at 6:53 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, September 17, 2018

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Sunday we made it to my happy place.

Location: Coopers Rock
Trails: Rhododendron, Notmucha, Clay Run, Mont Chateau Trails
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation: 1511-2156 ft (851 feet rise)

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Hiking WV: New River Gorge, Grandview Area

Forecasts around the state were calling for a possibility of rain and thunderstorms, so we headed south to New River Gorge. It’s been awhile since we were at the Grandview area, and I’ve wanted to hike the Glade Creek trail.

On the way, after looking at the maps, I decided we should take the Little Laurel trail up the Grandview proper.

Here’s the sandbar area. We saw kayakers and rafters go by but mostly it was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday afternoon.

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Location: New River Gorge
Trails: Little Laurel, Grandview Rim Trails
Distance: 7.2 miles
Elevation: 1305-2596 ft (1466 ft rise)

Little Laurel Trail
2.5 miles
1480-2539 feet
It took us just over an hour to hike up.

The maps we had said the Little Laurel trail was 2 miles. According to my GPS, from one sign to the other the trail was 2 1/2 miles and 1000 feet elevation rise.

Start HERE. At the BOTTOM. At Glade Creek Road near sandbar area.

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This is NOT readily accessible from the main portion of the Grandview area. It’s a 2 1/2 mile hike from one area to the other, but it’s an 22 mile drive and that 34 minutes is almost certainly a lie.

Here’s the drive:

Here’s the hike. (View both in Satellite mode to see the comparison more easily.)

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Here’s the top. If you’re starting here… Don’t. Unless you like the second half of your hike to be 100% uphill.

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I’m not quite sure what this tree is doing, but I am impressed.

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And here’s why you want to hike or drive here.

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Written by Michelle at 5:51 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Monday, August 27, 2018

Hiking WV: Tea Creek

I absolutely adore the Cranberry / Tea Creek Wilderness areas. They’re beautiful and they are usually not a lot of people there.

The trail we chose yesterday was along Tea Creek itself, so we saw lots of people fishing, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment (probably because there were no mountain bikes and everyone looked happy).

Location: Tea Creek Wilderness
Trail: Tea Creek Trail
Distance: 6.6 miles
Elevation: 3009-3569 feet (756 gain)

Signs your trail might be on an old rail bed.

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The light was lovely, so I took a picture of two other people out on the creek.

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Cascades

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Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, August 6, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Mountain Backcountry

Michael had a long and busy week at work, so we didn’t want to go too far afield. Davis is a relatively easy drive, so we hiked the Canaan Mountain Backcountry, out of Blackwater Falls.

It was gorgeous. No scenic views or water falls, just a lovely hike.

Location: Canaan Mountain Backcountry
Trails: Davis, Plantation Trails
Distance: 7.0 miles
Elevation: 3236-3615 feet (808 feet rise)

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Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Mountain Backcountry

More heat in Morgantown, so we headed south to Canaan. We hadn’t hiked the wilderness since last fall, so that was where I wanted to go.

Beautiful, and much cooler than up north. We did the southern portion of the Lindy Run trail–the northern portion is no longer maintained; I’d like to hike it in the future, because it was quite lovely.

Location: Canaan Mountain Backcountry
Trails: Fire Trail 6, Plantation, Lindy Run Trails
Distance: 3.8 miles
Elevation: 3534-3716 feet
Temperature: 78-81 F

Trails: Table Rock Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles
Elevation: 3374-3471 feet

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Written by Michelle at 2:10 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Hiking WV: Cranberry Wilderness

I was craving some solitude, so we headed to the Cranberry Wilderness where there were few people AND the temperatures ranged from 66-70F.

It was SO LOVELY.

Location: Cranberry Wilderness
Trail: Black Mountain Trail
Distance: 4.9 miles
Elevation: 4236-4643 feet
Temperature: 67-69 F

Cranberry Overlook

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Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Hiking WV: Dolly Sods

This hike in and of itself isn’t one of my favorites–it’s muddy, it’s busy, the trail is in bad repair, and there is very little shade.

That said, it has one of my favorite views, which is why we went out on it.

But seriously, the Dolly Sods Wilderness may not be developed, but except in winter, I see tons and tons of people there on my hikes. On the one hand, I’m glad people are enjoying the wilderness. On the other hand, I no longer go to Dolly Sods expecting solitude.

Location: Dolly Sods Wilderness
Trail: Rocky Ridge Trail (partial)
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation: 4014-4198 feet

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Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls State Park

Almost all of our hikes at Blackwater Falls involved kids, so they were short and non-strenuous. And a lot of fun.

We also took a night hike (with two kids) which, not unexpectedly, had zero pictures taken.

Location: Blackwater Falls State Park
Trails: Shay Trace to Elakala Trails
Distance: 1.3 miles
Elevation: 3093-3287 feet

Trail: Cherry Lane Trail
Distance: 1.1 miles
Elevation: 3221-3400 feet

There are some random pictures from Blackwater Falls not related to our hikes.

Main falls on Thursday evening

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Main falls Saturday evening

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Elakaka Falls (below the bridge behind the lodge)

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Written by Michelle at 8:27 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley State Park

This is a ridiculously easy hike, but it’s also one of my favorites, because it is always beautiful.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Blackwater River Trail
Distance: 0.8 miles
Elevation: 3243-3331 feet

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Written by Michelle at 2:00 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Monday, May 21, 2018

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Despite off and on again rain, we went to Coopers Rock on Saturday, and we had a surprising amount of sun, making it a beautiful hike.

We made it to my favorite place.

It was good.

Location: Coopers Rock
Trails: Rhododendron, Mont Chateau, Ridge Trails
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation: 148-2092 feet (804 ft gain)

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Hiking WV: New River Gorge

Since it’d been awhile, we headed to New River Gorge, and went to one of the (many) areas we hadn’t hiked before: the Thurmond area.

We first went to see the town of Thurmond (separate post) which has been all but a ghost town for decades (the post office closed in 1995). Then we took our hike. We chose the Stone Cliff Trail, when runs beside the New River for its length.

What was particularly nice was that aside from the day-use area and the very start of the trail, we didn’t see anyone and had the trail to ourselves. We hiked 2 1/4 miles out–close to the end–but then I noticed that it was already 3, and we still had to stop at the brewery and eat dinner and then drive home, so we turned around and headed back.

Location: New River Gorge, Thurmond
Trail: Stone Cliff Trail (partial)
Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation: 980-1253 feet
Temperature: 83-85 F

Because the trail runs beside the river it is quite flat, and thus an easy hike.

Stream tumbling down the mountainside

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Stream crossing

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Hiking WV: Snake Hill WMA

As much as I love the Morgantown Farmers Market, I *hate* their winter market hours. 11 AM on a Saturday means we can EITHER go to the market OR go somewhere and go hiking.

Despite the beautiful weather, we went to the Farmers Market, so we needed a close place to hike on Saturday, so we ended up at Snake Hill WMA (Wildlife Management Area). There are multiple logging / gas / access roads and multiple trails off them. The trails are unmarked and not blazed, but they had enough use to be pretty obvious.

The trail we set out to hike–the Canyon Rim trail–has four overlooks: Table Rock, Lake View, Middle View, and River View. For trails and overlooks that are not maintained, three of the four had excellent views. We also only came across one other group of hikers, which for a beautiful Saturday afternoon, was nice. (At Coopers Rock on nice days there are a constant stream of people; it’s nice people are visiting the forest, but not nice for relative solitude.)

Location: Snake Hill WMA
Trails: Canyon Rim, Cheat View, Little Hoop, Big Dipper, Northside Trails
Distance: 3.8 miles
Elevation: 1715-2342 feet (698 feet elevation rise)

Facing west towards Cheat Lake (Lake View overlook)

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Facing east towards Cheat River, Raven Rock is on the left (River View overlook)

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Coopers Rock Overlook. I swear I’ve never noticed that giant rock down and to the right.

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In Snake Hill WMA there is a small cemetery, with three gravestones, and one rock that might be a marker. All three males (ages 4, 17, 19) died in 1860, two in July and one in October.

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Written by Michelle at 3:43 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Morgantown,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hiking WV: Blackwater Canyon

You would think that a trail called the Canyon Rim Trail would have lots of views of the Blackwater Canyon.

You would be mistaken.

That doesn’t make this a bad trail, and there are views at either end: the Olsen Fire Tower at the Western end, and along the Allegheny Trail at the Eastern terminus.

The trail itself is part of the Allegheny Trail, which you can take through WV. It also means this trail is getting some extensive maintenance right now, to shore up sections that have become muddy messes.

Location: Monongahela National Forest
Trail: Canyon Rim Trail
Distance: 6.6 miles (out and back)
Elevation: 3162-3705 feet (994 feet gain)

Along the trail, this is as good a view as you get. And once the leaves are out, it’ll be even less.

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It was a little steep in a couple of places, and rocky and muddy in other places, but it isn’t a difficult hike for anyone who is in shape.

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You get to cross several streams, one of which has a “Stone Bridge”. Most of the crossings should not be problematic unless the water is extremely high or flash flooding.

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But in addition to the very pretty creek crossings, if you do a little searching you can find the falls, which were absolutely lovely.

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This is where we sat and ate our lunch, and then clambered around on the rocks.

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And here’s the elevation graph of the hike.

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Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley SP – Bald Knob

Our third hike on Friday was also at Canaan Valley State Park, but on the ski area part of the park.

This trail was NOT created by or for hikers. It’s labeled a cross-country ski trail, but is not maintained as such. If you want the view at bald knob, I recommend taking the lift up to the top of the mountain, then hiking across to Bald Knob.

The problem are the portions of the trail that are for skiing down. Hiking up or down such a trail isn’t that fun (Michael got blisters, due the steep grade for a longer distance).

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Bald Knob Mountain Trail
Distance: 4.6 miles (out and back)
Elevation: 3572-4336 feet (1000 feet gain)
Parts of the trail: 14% and 16% grades (or steeper)

But the view is lovely.

Here you are looking down into Canaan Valley.

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No switchbacks here. Straight down you go.

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The surprise was this:

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Here you can look down the OTHER side of the mountain. It was kinda cool, although I cropped out the ugliness of where they took out all the trees. It’s not yet a mowed lawn, it’s just a clear-cut clearing. Which is not so attractive.

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Someone (ie:me) forgot to turn on the GPS until we were part way up the mountain, so here’s the trip down, minus the leg up to the peak.

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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