Monday, September 13, 2010
Dolly Sods Wilderness - a Moderate Day Hike, Part 1
Wikipedia describes the Dolly Sods Wilderness as a plateau, in fact the highest of its type east of the Mississippi, averaging between 3,500 and 3,800 feet above sea level. There are higher and lower areas, but where we were, this was the typical altitude. The plateau borders the eastern continental divide, so the creek we crossed – Red Creek – eventually makes its way to the Ohio River, the Mississippi, and then the Gulf of Mexico. Dolly Sods is in the Monogahela National Forest.
In the end, because of the dire reviews, but also because I haven’t yet bought a lot of the requisite equipment for overnighting (despite plenty of helpful advice from Howard and Gary at AOA), I asked Chris and Tom to reconsider the camping part. The team were good sports about it, and we ended up staying at the Canaan Valley Conference Center and Resort, which is actually a West Virginia state park. Andy wasn’t able to join us, so it was the three of us – Chris, Tom and me. We all arrived separately at the hotel by Friday night, and agreed to meet for breakfast (a buffet) at 7am or so on Saturday morning.
Even so, I kept my Pathfinder alternating between the compass function and the altimeter function for this trip – moving onto that next step of using it as a tool. The compass function proved useful several times as we reached forks in the trails – keeping us from heading off on long detours or worse, dead ends.
I’ll continue this review tomorrow – with some photos of a little side excursion we did, and more photos of the trails. The Hiking Upward reference is below.