October 2022 vacattion, day 1 Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV

October 12, 2022  •  1 Comment

    As many of you already know we like to hike and explore. Over the years we have gotten many ideas of some wonderful places to visit. We have talked about starting to blog about some of our adventures to help share some of our great experiences that we have been on with you so that you may enjoy them as well. While not all our trips have been remarkable success stories, they have all been learning experiences for us. They say the best way to learn is from the mistakes of others so hopefully you can even learn from some of our mistakes.
    Our latest adventure was supposed to be a two-night three-day hiking trip in Dolly Sods Wilderness. Dolly Sods Wilderness is a part of the Monongahela National Forest near Davis WV. A quick search on the internet will provide lots of information on the area and some beautiful pictures which really does not do it justice, especially in the fall. Dolly Sods has many trails that are notoriously muddy so with the dry summer we had we were looking forward to a dryer experience than we might normally have. We planned for the first week of October so that we could avoid the heat (problem from last year’s section hike of the Appalachian Trial) and get some fall color. We also though that this would be a great break before busy season kicked in with Fall and Christmas photos for #DDP. While Dolly Sods can see snow in October, we were hoping to also avoid that for this hiking experience since one of us does not like the cold like the other one!
    Notice I said we planned for all these things above. What we did not plan for was Hurricane Ian dumping rain in the area starting on the Friday before our scheduled Sunday arrival. We ended up delaying our departure until Monday since it was still raining on Sunday morning in hopes that it would dry up some before we got. Do not get me wrong we were not expecting a complete miracle and completely dry trails especially after seeing some of the Facebook posts for the area showing the streams and how fast they were moving. A quick replan and shortening of the 20ish mile hike to around half of that and sticking to the Northern Area where we did not have as many water crossings (in theory), and we were a go with a new plan and agreement that the plan could change at any given time.
    After arriving at Bear Rocks Trailhead around 1PM we layered up (little colder than planned) and headed out. Less than 10 minutes into the hike we ran into our first small stream that required some effort to find a place to get across that did not require walking through ankle deep water at the beginning of the hike. We also did not realize how much of a sign of things to come this truly was going to be either. That would start being clearer though when we met the next group of people who were heading back out and warned us of knee-deep water ahead! 

Dolly Sods Wilderness, WVThe beginning of our trek. Dolly Sods Wilderness, WVThe beginning of our trek. Dolly Sods Wilderness, WVThe beginning of our trek.     Onward we pressed though since we had our trusty Crocs with us for wading through the creeks if necessary. The further in though the wetter the trail become, and we started dealing with water running down the trail as well. We just watched our footing to try and find spots that were not deep or walk on rocks that were sticking up. Nothing we could not handle and honestly not really anything we didn’t expect based on the weather the few days beforehand.  However, once we got to the junction of Dobbin Grade Trail and Bear Rocks Trail the water running down Dobbin Slashing Trail was more than ankle deep and what did not turn to run down Bear Rocks Trail ran on down Dobbin Grade. It was moving quickly too and there was no way around it that we could see. This is also where we started bumping into more of the people who were ahead of us trying to find different routes as well. One person said that Dobbin Grade had an actual water fall on the trail further down it and was impassible and only got worse. Another lady that we followed in said that she turned around when it goes kneed deep on Bear Rocks Trail and was only getting worse. This was her fourth attempt at a trail that day. She was turning around heading back to a campsite she found shortly after entering another trail that was deserted at the time she was there. We attempted to skirt the deepest part of the water to find that the trail only had faster water running down it and decided to call it and go look for a campsite somewhere else as well.
Fortunately for us the Red Creek Campground was mostly empty when we got there. The weather had discouraged enough people to stay away, and we claimed our spot. We ate dinner and got set up and then headed back to Bear Rocks to watch the sunset and take some pictures there. It was then back to the campsite for the night and a fresh start for the next day or so we thought.      
    In reality though the night turned out to be a true check of our gear and a teaching experience for us. We learned that we need upgrade some more of our gear if we are going to be sleeping in the tent in 37-degree weather. This is especially true if the ground is wet as well though we did survive the night. I would have been warmer if I hadn’t lost my hoodie in the sleeping bag somewhere though I don’t know if I could have zipped the bag if I had managed to get in on anyway. 
Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall. Bear Rocks PreserveA truly magical place to be in the fall.


Comments

Elaine Gladhill(non-registered)
Beautiful pictures, thanks for taking us along in pictures and words.
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