Saturday it rained off and on, so although Sunday was overcast, we took advantage of the minimal precipitation and headed out to Coopers Rock.
Location: Coopers Rock
Distance: ~6 miles
Elevation: 1920-2421 feet
Temperature: 35-41 F
We went a bit earlier than usual, so it was quiet and we saw very few people, which was nice.
It was still muddy on the roadside trail, however, so we ended up walking the road part of the way back, just to avoid the mud.
It was a gorgeous day for a hike.
Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Advanced Ski, Resoivoir Ski, Scott Run Trails
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation: 1857-2289 feet
Temperature: 28-34 C
Busy day at Coopers Rock, what with it being freaking 70 F IN FEBRUARY.
Towards the gate:
Towards the I68:
We took it kinda easy today–my back has been sore from all the bending over and crouching I’ve been doing working on the chairs.
Location: Coopers Rock
Trails: Roadside, Reservoir Ski, Reservoir Trails
Distance: 3.7+ miles
Elevation: 2169-2364 feet
So we hiked the Reservoir Ski Trail to the reservoir and then around the reservoir, which brings me to this important question:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW THERE WERE BEAVERS AT COOPERS ROCK?
ADDENDUM the First:
To clarify for H J Gadiyar, check out the details of these pictures!
The larger tree is in the process of being gnawed down. But in the background to the left you can see a felled tree.
Here you can see the tell-tale v and ^ signs of the tree that fell to the left. But also you can see that the missing branches on the tree coming towards the camera have all been chewed and drug off once they were detached.
Although last week’s snow is gone, it was a clear, beautiful day at New Rover Gorge.
We spent a good deal of time poking around Wolf Creek. One area was easy to get to, the other–less so.
Location: New River Gorge: Canyon Rim Area
Trails: Timber Ridge, Long Point, Fayetteville, Park Loop Trails
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation: 1784-2151 feet
Map of the Hike.
Two weekend days in a row where it wasn’t raining and miserable!
This time we walked out to the overlook and back. Same distance as yesterday but MUCH easier, since there is little elevation gain.
Location: Coopers Rock
Distance: 6.4 miles
Elevation: 2188-2442 feet
Trail: Roadside Trail
Temperature: 28 F
We’ve actually been out to Coopers Rock several times this year, but the weather has been so gloomy, I carried my camera solely for weight-bearing exercise, apparently.
But Saturday was snowy and pretty, so we hiked down to Mont Chateau, one of my favorite hikes.
Location: Coopers Rock State Park
Distance: 6.2 miles
Elevation: 1483-2412 feet
Trails: Advanced Ski Trail, Mont Chateau Trail
Temperature: 28 F
What? Doesn’t everyone clamber along streams in 30 F weather?
Here are the previous hikes, if you were interested in the hikes.
Distance: 5.7 miles
Trails: Advanced Ski, Resovoir Loop, Clay Run Trails
Temperature: 60 F
Distance: 3.3 + miles (GPS cut out for part)
Elevation: 1768-2420 feet
Trails: Advanced Ski, Resovior Loop, Roadside Trails
Temperature: 35 F
New Years Day Hike! (Lots and lots of people out)
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation: 1961-2393 feet
Trails: Roadside, Scott’s Run Trails
Temperature: ~40 F
This weekend we did some hiking, but that was just a means to and end–to enjoy how beautiful Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley were.
I’ve finally gotten enough done on my Hiking WV pages, that I’ve made links to the site.
The State Parks section is pretty much done and will (hopefully) be updated. The National Parks section has yet to be started. (NOTE: The Coopers Rock pages is totally not done. We’ve hiked all the official trails, so I have a fair amount of data to parse.)
The pages have a single picture (when available) of that site, a link to my Flickr album (if there is one), a link to the state park website (if there is one), and the trails hiked as well as distances, elevations, and GPS maps (if there were any).
Please let me know what you think, and what recommendations you have for making it more usable.
Should there be a menu listing all the parks? Are there other categories that would be useful? Should I have a link to the official trail map for that park or is the map to park site sufficient?
The hiking trails are sometimes listed individually, sometimes as a group, depending upon how they were hiked. Does this make a difference to anyone?
I know I need a region map, because I don’t know of anyone who is aware of all those region designations, but the map I found isn’t very high quality.
We’d discussed hiking in the Cranberry Wilderness, but I’d wanted to visit the Nature Center, since it closes mid-October. To get to the trails we’d considered, we’d have had to either back-track to Richwood, or take the Highland Scenic Highway all the way around the wilderness, so we instead decided to walk on the forest road past the boardwalk and see where that took us.
We took the North Fork trail up to the Kennison Mountain trail and then turned around and came back down.
Location: Cranberry Backcountry
Trail: North Fork Trail
Distance: 5.0 miles
Elevation: 3380-4113 feet (Average 5.6% grade)
There were a couple of steepish sections, but mostly it was a (relatively) gradual uphill hike (gradual for WV mind you).
The lower portion of the trail meandered across several creeks, most of which were flowing from the previous night’s rain.
It was really really pretty.
If you’re looking to hike in more solitude than you’ll find in busier parks and forests (like our local forest, Coopers Rock) then I cannot recommend highly enough visiting the Cranberry Wilderness.
Location: Falls of Hills Creek
Trail: Falls Trail
Distance: 1.1 miles
Elevation: 3235-3519 feet (9.1% grade)
Don’t walk this trail unless you like stairs. Lots of them. We got 31 flights of stairs coming back up from the lower falls. And if it’s at all wet, be cautious, because the boardwalk is slippery.
The Lower Falls
The Middle Falls
This is the first time we visited at (near) midday, where all the falls had some sunlight.
Less of a hike and more of a wander, but it was well-worth the drive (despite our forgetting on the way home that the GPS is trying to kill us, and taking a road that was just barely passable for cars (the people on 4-wheelers and jeeps kinda gave us a funny look as we passed in our Corolla).
This area belongs to the Nature Conservancy, and is open year-round, during day-light hours. The brochure recommended wearing boots, but it hasn’t rained in awhile, so we kept our feet dry. But we still wore gaiters, because: ticks.
The flora is similar to Cranberry Glades, for similar reasons.
Location: Cranesville Swamp
Trails: Blue, Orange, Yellow, White
Distance: 1.8 miles
Elevation: 2358-2678 feet
And lots of berries, including some out-of-season ones.
I HAVE NO IDEA AND IT BUGS ME:
I found a handful of blueberries and a single ripe blackberry. They were delicious.
Spiranthes cernua (Nodding ladies’ tresses orchid) (?)
The view of the swamp from the edge of the woods:
We had a visitor!
So since it fit into other things we wanted to do, we took her to New River Gorge and hiked out to Longpoint for the view!
Location: New River Gorge
Trail: Longpoint Trail
Distance: 3.0 miles
Elevation: 1776-2049 feet
This is a nice hike because it’s not long, it’s not especially steep, and it has a gorgeous view for minimal effort.
Panther State Forest / WMA is kind of in the middle of nowhere (though not quite the middle of nowhere as Cabwaylingo which had multiple one-lane bridges on the route in and out), and the drive was all on windy rural roads (which made for a pleasant drive), but there were a surprising number of people there–mostly family reunion groups, but there were some teenagers playing in the creek.
Location: Panther State Forest / Wildlife Management Area
Trail: Buzzards Roost Overlook Trail
Distance: 1.9 miles
Elevation: 1227-1631 feet
Yes, we did hike three “overlook” trails this weekend. And none of the three overlooks were very impressive, but that’s okay. (I had to climb up on a cement piling that was the remainder of a wooden overlook for this picture.)
Like most parks, there were lots of playgrounds, but I can’t remember seeing swings like this in recent memory.
And the creek running through the park.
It was a lovely place to visit, despite the ridiculous heat. I think I’d like to visit again.
Beech Fork State Park is for boaters and fishermen, which is one of the reasons we weren’t in a rush to visit. It’s primarily a lake (like Bluestone and Moncove Lake) so there was little hiking, which is perfectly fine, because our state park system should be for all West Virginians–hunters, fishermen, kayakers, and hikers alike.
But it wasn’t any place I’m eager to revisit, since there wasn’t much hiking.
Location: Beech Fork State Park
Trail: Overlook Trail
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation: 601-920 feet
Here’s the view from the Overlook Trail.
It’s easy to overlook. (HA!)
There is a cemetery within Beech Fork, so as is my wont, we wandered around, considering the impermanence of life and memory.
There were a lot of WWI vets buried there–more WWI than WWII from a cursory wander. At some point, I’ll put all these cemetery photos up on Flickr.
Here’s the lake itself.
This weekend we finished up visiting all the major state parks, forests, and wildlife management areas in WV! HOORAH!
Location: Kanawha State Forest
Trail: Overlook Rock Trail
Distance: 1.7 miles
Elevation: 800-1360 feet
The view from overlook rock.
If you don’t want to zoom in, the view is power lines on the far mountain ridge.
We were meant to be hiking Saturday, and had planned on either Stonewall Lake State Park or Holly River State Park.
Once we were driving south, we remembered that this is the weekend of the Jackson’s Mill Jubilee, so we thought we’d do a hike a Stonewall Lake and then head back towards Jackson’s Mill. However, there was an entrance fee at Stonewall Lake, so we decided to pass, and take a drive instead.
We finally visited Burnsville Dam and Recreation Area, which was… fine.
But we discovered a small park, Mill Falls, which was beautiful.
No hiking, but we had a gorgeous wander.
We went with my aunt and uncle on a “hike” to view Pendleton Run Falls.
I use the term hike very loosely, because as the book I have on waterfalls puts it “cuss, fall, root grab, and butt slide your way down to the creek” and they are totally serious. The park actually removed the warning sign from the top of the trail, perhaps realizing that its existence pointed out this “path” to people who were badly prepared for the risks.
Here’s the path of 0.45 mile hike we took with three kids 6 and under, so there was a fair amount of wandering back and forth.
Here is the path going down to Pendelton Run Falls #4
I’m pretty sure the GPS lost signal more than once.
The average grade was 23% and there were a couple places that were very exciting. On the way back up I folded up my hiking stick, stuck it in my bag, and scrambled grabbing rocks and roots since that felt a whole lot more secure.
Seriously, don’t attempt this unless you are in good shape and unafraid of doing foolish things.
Location: Blackwater Falls
Trail: Pendleton Run Falls #4
Distance: 0.8 miles (down and back up)
Elevation: 2763-3132 feet
Here’s what you get for all that work.
Pretty, but to be honest, Elakala Falls is prettier with less danger.
Since we spent so much time with small people, we ended up driving out Canaan Loop Road to hike Table Rock Trail (we’d looked into hiking it from Lindy Point, but didn’t have enough time for a long hike).
Table Rock is very muddy, but the view is gorgeous.
Location: Canaan Mountain Backcountry
Trail: Table Rock Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles (out and back)
Elevation: 3391-3497 feet
Note, it hadn’t rained in awhile; when it’s been wet, these are generally giant muddy puddles.
Here’s a panorama for you!
And a look at one part of the view.
We hiked three places in the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge: The Freeland Boardwalk, The Beall Trail South, and what I think was the Camp 70 loop
The Freeland Boardwalk is highly recommend for kids–there is a brochure that tells you about different areas on the boardwalk. A pretty good diversity of habitats, including and attempt to regrow Balsam Fir.
Location: Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Trails: Freeland Boardwalk, Beall Trail South, Camp 70 Trail (?)
Distance: 0.45, 2.2, ?
Elevation: 3243-3262, 3217-3421, ?
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
So this year’s birthday gifts to the small people in my life were hiking backpacks.
So what do you need for a hiking backpack?
First a foremost, a good backpack: 4-6, 7-9 (Smaller is better, since it will keep them from making it too heavy to carry comfortably.)
At least one water bottle
Naturalist notebook with pencil and a sharpie (use a sharpie to mark a ruler on the inside cover so Things Can Be Measured)
Magnifying glass (simple, more complex)
Compass (simpler, nicer)
A bandana or a pack towel
Trail mix or dried fruit (and chocolate milk and a pepperoni roll for a longer hike)
A first aid kit
Used ziploc bags for your trash (or trash you find on the trail)
Perhaps a pair of binoculars, or a pocket knife or matches, or a shovel, or a thermometer
Maps of your trails (Blackwater Falls, Canaan Valley)
And of course, nature books:
Trees, Leaves & Bark
Wildflowers, Blooms & Blossoms
Berries, Nuts, And Seeds
Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies
Birds, Nests & Eggs
Tracks, Scats and Signs
Then you go have adventures!