Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Short Trip to WVa

Finally!  Ever since I went to Davis, WV last year I have been wanting to go back with Shelly.  The weather, childcare, work, and all worked out so we could go.  Sadly for only two days, one night, but go we did.  We drove down following church and were in Tip-Top Coffee in Thomas, WV by 4 for some espresso and a walk down the riverfront to the antique shops and art galleries.  Then we drove out to our campsite along the Blackwater River on camp road 70.  We grabbed the bikes out of the truck and headed back into town and up the Davis Trail access to Backwater Falls.  This was Shelly's first ride off road and she did great, I was really happy to enjoy a bike ride with her.  We enjoyed the falls and then rode back into Davis for dinner at Hellbender Burritos for a couple The Admiral's.  Stuffed, we rode back to camp, built a fire, and settled in for the night.
The Blackwater River from camp.
Bike ride from camp to Blackwater Falls.
Blackwater Falls.
We had to get up early the next morning as the bridge on to Camp road 70 was being closed at 8am for repairs.  I made us a press pot of coffee and we watched the misty fog lift off of the river before packing up to leave.  Back to Thomas for some more espresso and a slice of frittata with local eggs, spinach, and peppers at the Tip-Top.  With some food and a little advice from some locals, out to Dolly Sods we went.

The drive to the Sods is spectacular.  Route 32 down through Canaan Valley and then a very windy paved county road that is only slightly wider than one car.  Then the fun really begins with a transition to the forest service road up to the plateau.  Felt like we had the place to ourselves, only seeing a few others there to hike or get some views from the plateau toward the east.  We spent most of the morning along the 8 miles stretch of unpaved road through the wilderness area, snapping photos and hiking a little. I will let the pictures tell the story.

From here, we headed down the back side of the mountain.  Turned out the county was doing some heavy maintenance on the road and there were places I was in 4WD going down hill, passing a grader and then a few trucks before hitting the bottom and pavement again that we had not seen in about 16 miles.  Hungry, we drove south toward Seneca Rocks and had sandwiches while watching climbers on the rock face across the road.

After lunch, we hiked up the trail to the observation platform.  Shelly stopped there while I hiked a short ways further to get some pictures of some of the climbers on the short, back wall.  The elevation and steepness of the surroundings are certainly a strange feeling and I was glad to be looking through a camera lens and holding on to a tree.

And with that it was time to start the drive home.  A few thoughts:

  1. We drove down taking US 50 out of Clarksburg and back, 33 to Elkins/Buchannon and then I79 back to Clarksburg.  I am finding that I prefer roads like US 50 with the small towns and winding pavement to the high speeds and traffic of the interstate.
  2. A four door, long bed, 3/4 ton, 4WD truck isn't the most enjoyable vehicle to be tooling around switchbacks, 9% grades, narrow and the other regular winding/rolling roads.  But, it did remarkably well and was appreciated for the space and the rugged drive through Dolly Sods. (I am glad to be riding my motorcycle today though after 500 miles in the truck in 2 days).
  3. I much preferred Dolly Sods to either the Blackwater Falls and Seneca Rocks.  Both of them were pretty, but, they were geared toward the tourist.  While I realize Shelly and I were also tourists, we also weren't wearing a fanny pack.
  4. The trip was marked by Shelly's comment, as we sat having coffee before packing up camp.  She said it was a great trip even if we would have had to pack up and leave for home right then.  Love this woman.
  5. Want to see more photos?  Only took about 260+. 
    Short Trip to WVa