Have camera will use
Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 4353 | TRs
|We’ve had a lot of snow this year, and I’ve been trying to embrace it. Snow shoveling has given me some much-needed exercise, while pristine snow has clothed the otherwise brown and drab landscape in the finest winter apparel. For my next excursion (and inspired by puzzlr's Island Lake trip report) I decided to pick West Virginia’s Dolly Sods Wilderness, a 4000ft plateau that was bound to have some nice snow to frolic in.
The adventure began as I tried to leave the house. Around 4:15am, as I tried to drive out, I realized that the entire driveway was a sheet of ice. Somehow, an inch at a time, the car was able to claw its way up it and onto our salted street. My anticipated 3hr drive to my destination took a half hour longer, due to the extra care I took from that point on.
My itinerary called for hiking the closed-for-winter Forest Road 75 up to Bear Rocks, a beautiful viewpoint atop Dolly Sods. FR75 is plowed up to 1.5mi in, but not wanting to risk the icy conditions I decided to park near the start of the road.
With microspikes on my feet for traction I began to hike up the road. Farmland surrounded this early part, but it was quiet and peaceful, and extremely beautiful. Frosted trees and snowy fields glowed under the filtered sunlight of an overcast sky.
At the closed gate for the Wilderness boundary I switched to snowshoes. 5-6in of snow covered the road, but this got steadily deeper the higher I climbed. By the time I reached the second gate, with 1.2mi left to the top, it was 1.5ft deep and getting deeper (the maximum snow depth would be 2ft). It was painfully slow going from then on, a sad reflection of my fitness: take ~75 steps, stop for a breather, repeat.
Bear Rocks has some beautiful rock formations and sweeping views in all directions. Unfortunately, there were to be none on this day. Thick mist blanketed everything, and visibility was around 30yds. Fortunately, I’ve seen those views plenty of times before, but never a show such as this! The snow flocked trees and bushes, or the barest hint thereof, looked stunning in the mist. There wasn’t even a horizon, just white and yet more white. I decided to forgo wandering around the rock formations that give Bear Rocks its name, because there was no point: nothing to see and a non-zero chance of falling into a deep fissure.
After 45min of messing about at Bear Rocks, I plunge stepped my way swiftly back to the car.
Stats: 9.25mi, 2000ft elevation gain, 7.25hrs
PS: All photos of me are 'selfies'.
'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"