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Eenk!
non-technical



Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 1164 | TRs
Location: Bellingham
Eenk!
non-technical
PostWed May 25, 2011 11:22 pm 
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Monongahela National Forest (MNF), West Virginia north of Durbin, Thornwood and Bartow.  May 8-10, 2011. 

Gaudineer Knob is a mountaintop with virgin, old growth red spruce which is very rare in the eastern US.  You can drive to the top.  First day, I did a few short hikes to explore the area.  There's a small loop trail with a view but red spruce trees are growing in.


Gaudineer Knob
Gaudineer Knob
looking southeast from the one limited view of Gaudineer Knob
looking southeast from the one limited view of Gaudineer Knob

I then hiked the interpretive loop below the junction with FR 27.   The Allegheny Trail (ALT) accesses Gaudineer Knob Scenic Area here. 

Later in the day, I hiked the Johns Run Trail to Johns Run Shelter. 
Like western Washington this spring, it's been cool and showery for the last few months so the rental car could not handle the 317 spur road with a large puddle/muddy area so I hiked the additional 0.5 miles.  Johns Run Trail was muddy with flowing water on the trail.  Saw a “jake” wild turkey from about 25 yards away.


trillium on Gaudineer Knob
trillium on Gaudineer Knob
Johns Run Shelter on Allegheny Trail
Johns Run Shelter on Allegheny Trail
Eastern trillium
Eastern trillium
violets on Gaudineer Knob
violets on Gaudineer Knob

Then I hiked down a brushy, old roadbed now an unofficial trail to see the Shavers Fork.  You can also drive to the river on FR 481.  After that short 1 hour hike I camped along side of the 481 with a nice sunset with a nice nighttime stroll on an old roadbed towards Gaudineer Knob with owls hooting.

Shavers Fork south of Glade Run
Shavers Fork south of Glade Run
sunset from camp south of Gaudineer Knob.
sunset from camp south of Gaudineer Knob.

Next day, I hiked the Allegheny Trail (ALT) 11 miles north to the junction of the High Falls trail then hiked about 2 miles and camped above the railroad.

The first blowdown or 2 on the ALT south of FR 27 are only 1/4 mile in.  Views mentioned in West Virginia Scenic Trail Association’s ALT guidebooks no longer exist.  Atleast, I could not find the views mentioned in the guidebook from the cool, maze-like rock outcrop among red spruce where I think they should be. Saw and heard 1+ ruffed grouse in a red spruce thicket.   Leaves were not out on trees so I could see hill ridgelines off in the distance. 


birdsong in red spruce forest on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
birdsong in red spruce forest on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
wildflowers on Allegheny Trail
wildflowers on Allegheny Trail
trillium nearing end of blooming
trillium nearing end of blooming
typical forest scene with leaves off trees on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
typical forest scene with leaves off trees on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
typical forest scene with leaves off trees on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
typical forest scene with leaves off trees on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
blowdown over Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountains
blowdown over Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountains
very faint and hard to follow Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain north of Gaudineer Knob
very faint and hard to follow Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain north of Gaudineer Knob
typical red spruce blowdown and brush on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
typical red spruce blowdown and brush on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
red spruce on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
red spruce on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
very faint, sometimes non-existent Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain from Gaudineer Knob to High Falls
very faint, sometimes non-existent Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain from Gaudineer Knob to High Falls
cool rocks off Allegheny Trail north of Johns Run but no views
cool rocks off Allegheny Trail north of Johns Run but no views
a lily on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
a lily on Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
red spruce blowdown over Allegheny Trail south of Wildell Shelter
red spruce blowdown over Allegheny Trail south of Wildell Shelter
Allegheny Trail needs new signs on Shavers Mountain
Allegheny Trail needs new signs on Shavers Mountain

There is a view about 1 mile south of the clearcut not mentioned in the 1990 guidebook (dated, I admit).  It's particularly hard to follow the ALT where the trail enters a private land clearcut west of Wildell.  Logging removed most of the yellow blaze trees but we should be grateful private land owners allow the ALT on their property.  Atleast there's not vacation view houses with No Trespassing signs here.  There was a lot of bear scat on the grassy, old skid roads in the old clearcut along with vistas on the countryside.  Going north on the ALT, you turn right, then left on grassy skid roads. 

red spruce on knob south of clearcut west of Wildell
red spruce on knob south of clearcut west of Wildell
grassy skid road in clearcut west of Wildell.  Allegheny Trail
grassy skid road in clearcut west of Wildell.  Allegheny Trail
view southeast from private land clearcut from Allegheny Trail
view southeast from private land clearcut from Allegheny Trail
timbered area on private land west of Wildell, WV
timbered area on private land west of Wildell, WV
Allegheny Trail lost in clearcut on private land near Wildell very hard to locate on skid roads.
Allegheny Trail lost in clearcut on private land near Wildell very hard to locate on skid roads.
Allegheny Trail #701 on Shavers Mountain survey marker where it enters national forest from private land on Allgheny Trail
Allegheny Trail #701 on Shavers Mountain survey marker where it enters national forest from private land on Allgheny Trail
partial view from Allegheny Trail south of private land
partial view from Allegheny Trail south of private land
grassy skid road in clearcut west of Wildell.  Allegheny Trail
grassy skid road in clearcut west of Wildell.  Allegheny Trail
view southeast from private land clearcut from Allegheny Trail
view southeast from private land clearcut from Allegheny Trail
old Allegheny Trail blaze in clearcut
old Allegheny Trail blaze in clearcut
timbered area on private land west of Wildell, WV
timbered area on private land west of Wildell, WV
Allegheny Trail lost in clearcut on private land near Wildell very hard to locate on skid roads.
Allegheny Trail lost in clearcut on private land near Wildell very hard to locate on skid roads.
Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
Wildell Shelter on Allegheny Trail
Wildell Shelter on Allegheny Trail
typical view of ridge from Allegheny Trail north of Johns Run because leaves have not came out yet
typical view of ridge from Allegheny Trail north of Johns Run because leaves have not came out yet

Overall, the Allegheny Trail from about a mile north of FR 27 to the junction with the High Falls Trail is hard to follow in spots and has about 10 significant blowdowns with intermittent spruce and beech sapling brush.  Blue/yellow paint blazes are fading and non-existent in spots.  This was surprising to me since all my other encounters with the ALT have been different.

I left the ALT and hiked down to the High Falls of the Shavers Fork.  The trail was well blazed and maintained.  USFS land on the west/riverside of the railroad tracks is well-used in summer with yahoo campers and fisherpeople so there is a little bit of garbage like soiled t.p., old fishing tackle and discarded clothing (??).

railroad to cross to access High Falls of the Cheat
railroad to cross to access High Falls of the Cheat
Fall Run (?) waterfall where it enters the Cheat.
Fall Run (?) waterfall where it enters the Cheat.
Fall Run (?) waterfall where it enters the Cheat.
Fall Run (?) waterfall where it enters the Cheat.
Hammock camp near High Falls
Hammock camp near High Falls
hammock campsite near High Falls
hammock campsite near High Falls
campfire from backpacking campsite near High Falls of the Cheat
campfire from backpacking campsite near High Falls of the Cheat
High Falls Trail west of the Allegheny Trail
High Falls Trail west of the Allegheny Trail
snake in red spruce on Allegheny Trail
snake in red spruce on Allegheny Trail
view of Burner and Braucher area from private land clearcut on Allegheny Trail west of Wildell
view of Burner and Braucher area from private land clearcut on Allegheny Trail west of Wildell
view of Burner and Braucher area from private land clearcut on Allegheny Trail west of Wildell
view of Burner and Braucher area from private land clearcut on Allegheny Trail west of Wildell
Rich and Middle Mountain area from a partial view west of Wildell on the Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
Rich and Middle Mountain area from a partial view west of Wildell on the Allegheny Trail on Shavers Mountain
cool rocks and red spruce forest north of Johns Run Shelter on the Allegheny Trail.  No views here.
cool rocks and red spruce forest north of Johns Run Shelter on the Allegheny Trail.  No views here.
partial view from ridge off the Allegheny Trail north of Johns Run Shelter
partial view from ridge off the Allegheny Trail north of Johns Run Shelter

It did not rain on this trip.  It was about 60-70 degrees in day and 45 at night but comfortable humid.  Flies and gnats were annoying when the breeze died down but could be kept partially away when using a bandanna as a horsetail.  No ticks. 

I like this part of the Monongahela Nat’l Forest even though it does not have as many views from rock outcrops as the Appalachians' Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley Province to the eastern US and private lands tend to be more rural.  This area has a lot of US Forest Service land for the eastern US.  The MNF north of Durbin and Thornwood has deep woods and relatively not much human habitation.  In most other national forests in the mid-Atlantic states, mountains are national forests and valley bottoms are private with houses and driveways.  This area does not have many classic hiking trails but a good amount of USFS land with deep woods to explore with car, mountain bike and hunter-type cross country hiking.  Here is a Backpacker magazine article on this stretch of the ALT.

I took a shower at a store/gas station in Bartow on the drive out.  The food all throughout this part of West Virginia was surprisingly good and cheap if you're not too picky.

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"I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble...We gonna go walkin through the park every day." - Led Zeppelin
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wildernessed
viewbagger



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 8777 | TRs
Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
viewbagger
PostThu May 26, 2011 8:02 am 
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up.gif Nice, brings back good memories, I did quite a few trips in WV, including a backpacking loop in the Otter Creek Wilderness with a camp on the top of Shavers Mtn.

--------------
Living in the Anthropocene
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 3696 | TRs
Location: Pittsburgh
GaliWalker
Have camera will use
PostThu May 26, 2011 12:20 pm 
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I've also been atop Shavers Mountain, but I believe that was a ways north (in the Otter Creek Wilderness). The area where you were also looks nice (especially the Fall Run waterfall spot). up.gif

Thanks for the report.

--------------
'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography site: http://galiwalker.zenfolio.com/
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knighthome
Member
Member


Joined: 08 Aug 2010
Posts: 3 | TRs
Location: Tumwater, WA
knighthome
Member
PostThu May 26, 2011 4:43 pm 
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Thanks for the trip reports from WV.  We moved to Olympia last summer from Morgantown WV.  We love our new life in the NW, but we miss our favorite hikes in WV...Dolly Sods, Canaan Mt, Otter Creek, etc.
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Eenk!
non-technical



Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 1164 | TRs
Location: Bellingham
Eenk!
non-technical
PostThu May 26, 2011 5:59 pm 
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knighthome wrote:
Thanks for the trip reports from WV.  We moved to Olympia last summer from Morgantown WV.  We love our new life in the NW, but we miss our favorite hikes in WV..

My uncle used to work in Morgantown.  I like that town.  We've done a few hikes in Cooper Rock State Forest.  It'd be dreamy to have the best of both parts of the country - spring and fall in the southern or central Appalachians and summer in the western US.

Galiwalker wrote:
looks nice (especially the Fall Run waterfall spot).

You could get some nice waterfall shots there.  The shortest and more popular access is from south of the little community of Glady.

A few days after this hike I hiked back to the ALT/High Falls junction.  The High Falls Trail south of Glady passes through the creek valley then crosses a rail-trail which the ALT follows north.  It looks like the Forest Service did a prescribed burn in the old field and adjacent woods here last fall.  This area is labeled Beulah on the MNF map.  I'd like to go back and ride a mountain bike on this rail-trail (#312) from Glady to Durbin.


old pasture/open area at Beulah on Allegheny Trail / High Falls Trail on West Fork Greenbrier River rail-trail
old pasture/open area at Beulah on Allegheny Trail / High Falls Trail on West Fork Greenbrier River rail-trail

You really out to check out the 2 Laurel Fork Wilderness areas.  They're nicer than I thought.

----------------------------------

After this hike, I hiked Spruce Knob & High Meadows trail then rainy day sampler short hikes on Laurel Fork, Beulah area mentioned above and Canaan Mtn.  When Mrs. Yew was there, we hiked Westmoreland State Park and George Washington's Birthplace Monument on the Northern Neck of Virginia, Tibbett Knob and Trout Pond/Crack Whip Furnace trail in western Virginia.  There were heavy downpours and intense thunderstorms back east last week so we did not do as many longer hikes as we wanted. TRs later.

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"I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble...We gonna go walkin through the park every day." - Led Zeppelin
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