Ramble On

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dolly Sods Wilderness - a Moderate Day Hike, Part 3

For my final post on Dolly Sods, I’ll close out with a couple of photos of the varied landscapes we encountered. First, a note about the hike – it’s interesting to think that we might have been over-prepared for what we encountered, equipped with too much information, so that it colored our expectations. It was a challenging hike, at 10.5 miles longer than we might usually plan – but we didn’t get our boots sucked off of us in a mile-long bog, and we didn’t get lost on any of the trails…we didn’t even make a wrong turn in the wilderness, thanks to these cairns and the signs I posted on yesterday.

In fact, this series of cairns marks a trail intersection, a waypoint that we used to make a southward turn in our route. Later, we saw cairns that seemed to be randomly placed; maybe they were built where they were because somebody found some rocks, or because they were marking a favorite campsite, or because they were setting up some forgotten artillery target during the World War II training days…

The next shot here is of a view across a meadow that we had early in our hike. Looking at the rocks in the distance, I noticed that their color, texture, and shape was very similar to exposed rocks made of Tuscarora quartzite at a similar altitude in Shenandoah National Park and on Duncan Knob in GWNF. Here are links to past reviews of hikes to these destinations: Blackrock Summit - http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2009/11/third-blackrock-hike-in-sun.html, and Duncan Knob - http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2009/03/duncan-knob-summit-and-final.html.
Next shot, a meadow we encountered fairly late in the hike, about 7.5 miles in. On the northern part of the hike we did, we found ourselves frequently ducking into stands of trees – sometimes hardwoods, sometimes evergreens – and then emerging in a meadow like this, which might be a half mile across. Then after a slight descent or climb, we’d duck back into a stand of trees.

This final shot was taken in one of my favorite little meadows. This one was quite small, enclosed by evergreen stands. But it was overrun by these white flowers – any thoughts on what they are would be helpful. They were beautiful, and hopefully the photo gives an idea of how they glowed in the afternoon sunlight.

Tomorrow, I’ll add a final post about the trip to West Virginia, of some sightseeing we did on Sunday, a recovery day, as we planned to head back home in Northern Virginia.  That will be my last post this week due to some scheduling difficulties.

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