Saturday, October 10, 2009

Summer Rambles Part 2 - Red Creek, Dolly Sods West Virginia

This late summer ramble took us up the Red Creek Trail in the Dolly Sods Wilderness of West Virginia. Though most trail junctions have sign posts, after that, you are on your own with a map and compass (you can get a trail map published by the Army Corps of Engineers for free at the Seneca Rocks Visitor Center). At times it proved to be interesting navigation-wise as we tried to locate Little Stonecoal Trail which was illusive. After crossing Red Creek several times, we finally found the trail using our map and geographic location. Once near the ridgetop we came upon a nice established campsite for the night.

Day 2 saw us hiking along Dunkenbarger Trail to the Big Stonecoal Trail. We passed numerous ripe blueberries along the way which made for excellent eating and, yes, slow progress. But hey, that's what being out in the wilderness is all about, and the Dolly Sods is known for its blueberries and unique vegetation commonly seen in Canadian areas.

We continued along Big Stonecoal until we reached the famous Blackbird Knob Trail, which we both knew well, my hubby in particular as he has tramped these woods for many years. We decided to camp near Red Creek which would put us in good position to hike out to the car the next day. The trail was severely rutted on the side and hidden by thick grass, and I was fearful of my husband twisting his ankle. I warned him to be careful. Not 30 seconds later I fell in the rut, spraining my right ankle. I knew I was in trouble - that sinking, sick feeling that one wishes they never had on a hike. I immediately wrapped it and hobbled as best I could until we made it to the first available campsite where I soaked it in Red Creek. The hike the next day concerned me as we had close to six miles left to make it back to the car. And it hurt like the dickens all night. Not a pleasant situation.

But the next day we hiked out (not much choice, really) - I used an ace wrap and my hiking poles, along with Advil - albeit rather slow, and did make it back to the car around noon.

Circuit Trail Route - Red Creek Trail (at SR 45), Little StoneCoal, Dunkenbarger, Big Stonecoal, Blackbird Knob, Red Creek.

1 comment:

Ish C said...

I just discovered your blog and although I am not a hiker I would like to try it sometime. I was wondering if anyone can recommend one of these packs, they seem to go be a good fit for hiking and for everyday use.
any thoughts?