Random (but not really)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hiking WV: New River Gorge

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
Temperature: 34F

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Map of the Hike.

Written by Michelle at 9:57 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hiking WV: Cranberry Backcountry

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).

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oops

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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.

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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.

Written by Michelle at 10:02 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Cranberry Glades

Cranberry Glades Botanical area is a short boardwalk that allows you to see a variety of plants, some of which are found only in this area.

Location: Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
Trail: Cranberry Glades Boardwalk
Distance: 0.6 mile
Elevation: 3383-3419 feet

Unlike the Falls of Hills Creek, the boardwalk here is flat and handicapped accessible.

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Pitcher plant

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The start of the boardwalk is is along the open area, but it quicly turns into the bog, where the vegetation is more closed in, and you cross Yew creek multiple times. (This is cause for multiple repetitions of “Yew again!” because we are horrible people.)

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Written by Michelle at 9:43 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Falls of Hills Creek

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.

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The Lower Falls

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The Middle Falls

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This is the first time we visited at (near) midday, where all the falls had some sunlight.

Written by Michelle at 9:29 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hiking WV: New River Gorge

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

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This is a nice hike because it’s not long, it’s not especially steep, and it has a gorgeous view for minimal effort.

Written by Michelle at 8:03 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge

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, ?

Freeland Boardwalk

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Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge

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Written by Michelle at 6:16 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hiking WV: Dolly Sods

We took some of the kids up to Dolly Sods, where the blueberries were in fruit.

We didn’t hike much, and blueberry pancakes were made for breakfast the next day (I didn’t get any!)

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Written by Michelle at 5:36 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Family,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hiking WV: Cranberry Wilderness

Every time we go to Cranberry Glades, I say, “we really need to come back here and hike more” so Saturday we finally did.

It was a gorgeous hike, and we ARE going to go back and hike more. We actually had a hike where we didn’t see anyone else the whole hike (although there were other people in the area, mostly visiting the Nature Center and driving along the Highland Scenic Highway).

Location: Cranberry Wilderness
Trail: Forks of Cranberry Trail
Distance: 6.1 miles
Elevation: 4190-4684 feet (0.2% grade)

Looking out over the Cranberry Wilderness.

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A section of the Forks of the Cranberry Trail.

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Elephant Rocks

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One of today's views

If you’re looking for some solitude that you can’t always find at other state and national parks/forests, I highly recommend visiting the Cranberry Wilderness.

—-

I’m going to start adding another bit here, which is where we stopped to eat (if we enjoyed our meal). This is both for anyone visiting the area looking for a place to eat, AND for us, so we stop having the discussion, “What was that place we stopped to eat around here? I really liked it.”

Dinner:
Mumsey’s Iron Skillet
761 Richwood Rd
Richwood, WV 26261
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

I had the Southern Fried Chicken and it was very delicious.

Written by Michelle at 10:54 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hiking WV: New River Gorge: Glade Creek

To escape the cicadas, we headed south to the New River Gorge area, which is free of this brood. It was hot, but it was good to be outdoors, and to not be bombarded by cicadas.

We chose the southern terminus for our hike which we shan’t do again, as we had trouble getting out, since the road was steep and narrow, with loose gravel in the steepest parts. (We’ll head to the north terminus next time.)

The hike itself was very easy, as it is an abandoned railroad bed, and beautiful, since it is along Glade Creek.

Location: New River Gorge
Trails: Glade Creek, Kates Falls Trails
Distance: 5.3 miles (partial)
Elevation: 1853 – 2145 feet (1% grade)

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Here is the I64 bridge that goes over Glade Creek near the start of the trail.

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Written by Michelle at 9:15 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hiking WV: Dolly Sods

We did two hikes at Dolly Sods: a short evening hike around sunset and then a longer hike the next morning. Both were along the Rocky Ridge Trail, but in opposite directions.

Location: Dolly Sods
Date: 2016-05-26
Trail: Rocky Ridge Trail
Distance: 1.8 miles
Elevation: 3940-4175 feet
Grade: 0.2%

Date: 2016-05-27
Trail: Rocky Ridge Trail
Distance: 4.9 miles
Elevation: 3965-4184 feet
Average Grade: 0.5%

Here is our sunset hike, and yes it WAS that gorgeous.

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And here was our hike the next morning. Very different, but even more beautiful.

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Written by Michelle at 5:30 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Spruce Knob

This wasn’t much of a hike, but it was beautiful.

Spruce Knob is the highest peak in WV, and as it’s in a rural area (what you see when you look out is forests and the occasional farm.

Location: Spruce Knob
Distance: .85 miles
Elevation: 4,827-4,859 ft
Grade: 0.2% (included two-story observation tower)

Location: Spruce Knob Lake
Distance: 1.19 miles
Elevation: 3,838-3,870 ft

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We also stopped at Spruce Knob Lake.

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Written by Michelle at 9:21 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Maintain the Light: Up Seneca Rocks in Memory of Ben

To remember my cousin Ben, on his birthday we hike up to the top of Seneca Rocks. And because we’re doing it in memory of Ben, we go up without stopping. (Stopping is allowed on the way back down, as is resting once the summit has been reached.)

Location: Seneca Rocks
Trail: Seneca Rocks Trail
Distance: 3.9 miles
Elevation: 1393-2468 feet (11% grade)
Average Speed Hiking Up: 2.3 mph

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From the top of Seneca Rocks

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Written by Michelle at 9:28 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Hiking WV: Dolly Sods Wilderness

Dolly Sods is a fascinating place with a fascinating history. Despite the high elevation, it was initially farmed, until a fire wiped everything out. Then, during WWII, it was used as a test bombing range (nearby Seneca Rocks was used to train soldiers who might be fighting in the Alps).

Then it was allowed to go wild, and was eventually designated a national wilderness area.

And yes, there are signs about possible UXO at Dolly Sods.

When you hike there, you’d never know it was ever anything except a wilderness.

It’s an amazing and beautiful place.

Location: Dolly Sods Wilderness
Trail: Rocky Ridge Trail
Distance: 3.7 miles
Elevation: 3987-4192 feet

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Written by Michelle at 8:07 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hiking WV: Cranberry Glades

Since it was on the way, we stopped at Cranberry Glades on our way home.

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In addition to the boardwalk, we took a short hike along Charles Creek Trail.

I now need to go back and follow the entire trail, because there were random interpretive signs about a prison there prior to and during WWII.

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Written by Michelle at 7:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hiking WV: New River Gorge

Saturday was gorgeous, so we made (another) trip to New River Gorge.

Location: New River Gorge
Trails: Kaymoor Miner’s, Kaymoor, Craig Branch, Butcher Branch, Long Point, Fayetteville Trails
Distance: 9.8 miles
Elevation: 1355 – 2005 feet

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Written by Michelle at 12:01 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hiking WV: Harpers Ferry

Our primary destination on Saturday was Harpers Ferry.

There is a lot here to do:
Hiking the WV portion of the Appalachian Trail (and visiting the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters)
Hiking the old B & O Canal
See the site of John Brown’s Raid (and all attendant historical stuff)
Wandering Harpers Ferry
Enjoying the Shenandoah and Potamic rivers
Hiking the Maryland Heights trail

Location: Harpers Ferry Historic District
Distance: 5.1 miles
Elevation: 229 – 590 feet (yes, that’s the lowest point we’ve hiked in ages)

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I remain fascinated by the remains of this church.

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I also took a couple pictures of the burned buildings–there is a Go-Fund-Me site for those wanting to donate to the rebuilding of the historic buildings.

Written by Michelle at 6:05 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hiking WV: Canaan Mountain Wilderness

Since we were at Canaan, we decided to go back to the Canaan Mountain Wilderness and hike back out Table Rock Trail, assuming correctly it would be a nice view.

If you are thinking about taking this hike, there are two things to note: 1) it takes 30 – 45 minutes to drive out the gravel Canaan Loop road if don’t have a 4-wheel drive (it’s rumored to be unpassable past the Table Rock Trail) and 2) it is muddy–even after a dry spell there were muddy patches. After a rain, it’s nigh near swampy.

Location: Canaan Wilderness
Trail: Table Rock Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles
Elevation: 3031 – 3511 feet

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Written by Michelle at 6:14 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Canaan Wildlife Refuge

We hiked this twice, on two different mornings, and it was gorgeous both times.

Location: Canaan Wildlife Refuge
Trail: Beall Trails
Distance: ~2.2 miles & 1.7 miles
Elevation: 3137 – 3323 feet

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Written by Michelle at 5:30 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hiking WV: Spruce Knob

After hiking up Seneca Rocks, we then went to Spruce Knob.

Spruce Knob is the highest point in WV, at 4,863 feet. As it’s so high, it’s also windy and much colder than anywhere else in the area. We saw snow flakes while we were there. (But they didn’t amount to anything.)

Location: Spruce Knob
Trails: Whispering Spruce, Huckleberry (partial)
Distance: 2.9 miles
Elevation: 4735 – 4887 feet

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Written by Michelle at 7:25 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Traveling WV: Seneca Rocks

Since the weather was so nice, we took and extended weekend to hike and enjoy the landscape.

Sunday started with Seneca Rocks.

Of course we hiked to the top of the rocks. And of course we went up without stopping.

What was surprising was just how many people were there–it was quite crowded by the time we started down.

Seneca Rocks

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Yup. Beautiful.

Written by Michelle at 7:00 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  
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