Have camera will use
Joined: 10 Dec 2007
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In the mood to get in a full dayís worth of fall foliage photography, I decided to string together short hikes at four shooting locations in West Virginiaís Monongahela National Forest.
I began the day by catching the sunrise at Bear Rocks, a spectacular viewpoint in the Dolly Sods Wilderness. As I arrived there at 6:35am I was a bit taken aback by the multitude of cars already parked at the trailhead. October is always crowded there, but this year was something else. I suspect this is because other outlets for entertainment have been severely restricted due to the pandemic. With the crowd and chilly temperature, I put on my balaclava instead of my mask, and then wandered up along the rocky cliffs for about a quarter mile before locating a nice people-free spot for myself. Sunrise was lovely. Most of the crowds cleared off soon afterwards, but I hung around since the light was quite nice, taking selfies and just generally enjoying myself in such a pretty place.
5- Arms akimbo (selfie)
6- Aflame (selfie)
7- Skylined (selfie)
My second shooting location was the No Name Vista, still in Dolly Sods. The trailhead was just a 6mi drive down the dirt road from Bear Rocks, and the hike was only 4.2mi roundtrip.
9- A. Hiker checks out the view (selfie)
11- Cliff (selfie)
After that I got off the Dolly Sods plateau and drove down to Seneca Rocks. The spectacular rocky fin that is Seneca Rocks was, as expected, totally packed with people. For the hike up to and down from the viewpoint I kept my mask on throughout. While the official trail stops short of the fin at a viewpoint, a rocky scramble takes one partway along the fin to a great view of the knife edge that is rock-climbers only territory. For the first time ever in many trips up, I saw rock climbers there.
13- Seneca Rocks
14- Life on the face
15- Check out the climbers on the final spire
My final shooting location was Spruce Knob Lake, about an hourís drive from Seneca Rock. Iíd hoped to spend sunset there, but I ended up leaving just before because I was running out of oomph. Iíd been on the road since 3:15am, and home was still a 3.5hr drive away.
16- Spruce Knob Lake
Hiking stats: 9mi, ~1000ft gain. Total trip time: 19hr.