This 'Camp & Hike' took place the weekend of August 5-6, 2006. Participants
included Christine DiLapi, Frank Maida, Bill Isham, Chris Isham, Charlie
Johnson, his grandson Daryl and me.
Saturday, August 5, 2006- We all arrived around 9AM on Saturday, August 5th, 2006 at the parking area across from the Red Creek campground in the Dolly Sods North Area of WV. It was looking to be a great weekend to hike weather wise, so we took advantage of it. Bill and Chris had camped out in their van right at the parking area the night before. Bill said that it got down to 47 degrees last night. We talked for a bit, got geared up, took the customary group picture at the beginning of the hike and then set off along the Blackbird Knob Trail.
This hike had a combination of goals. We wanted to hike some or all of the areas that we missed on the 2005 Dolly Sods North Backpacking Trip. We also wanted to take it easy again this trip and establish a basecamp from which we could either do day hikes, just sit around or whatever like we did on the Laurel Fork Area, VA hike that we did in October, 2000 or the Laurel Fork Wilderness, WV Camp & Hike that we did in May, 2003.
So we hiked in about a mile. Unfortunately, Bill I's knee was bothering him and he decided to hike back out. We hope that knee heals soon, Bill! We hiked another half mile or so and then looked for a camp site when we reached Red Creek. After some searching, we decided to pitch our tents in the middle of an island on Red Creek right where the Blackbird Knob Trail crosses it. We renamed this island base camp 'Rag Tag Island'.
After getting unpacked and our tents set up, we decided to just do some day hiking. We had some maps and decided to hike the rest of the Black Bird Knob Trail over Blackbird Knob, which wasn't that big of an up, to it's western terminus at the Rocky Ridge Trail. We would then hike north on the Rocky Ridge Trail about a quarter mile, turn right onto the Harman Trail, then return to our campsite via the Blackbird Knob Trail.
It was a great day to hike! Temps were in the mid 80's, sunny and the air was crisp and clean. We passed alot of day hikers and backpackers along the way. We took a break at a small tannin laced stream at around 1 mile, came across a young family that hiked in from an adjacent ski resort at the intersection of the Blackbird Knob and Rocky Ridge Trails, and stumbled upon a fantastic overlook near the intersection of the Rocky Ridge and Harman Trails. The view of Canaan Valley from this overlook was fantastic! We could even see windmills along US219 2 mountain ranges over.
We got back to camp around 5ish. We then prepared our dinners and were treated to one of Frank M's fantastic fires that night. The only bad thing about this campsite was that the water in Red Creek was tannin laced and had to be double filtered before use. The temps starting falling fast as the sun went down. We were sharing the general vacinity with another couple across the creek from us and a group down stream from us that was smoking something that smelled like 'stale perfume' later that evening. We stayed up until 10ish, then retired.
Sunday, August 6, 2006-We woke up at around 7AM to very cool (50ish) temperatures. We ate breakfast in front of another one of Frank's fantastic fires. We needed it to warm us up. We said our goodbyes, left 'Rag Tag Island' around 10AM, hiked the 1.68 miles back to our vehicles and went home.
I liked this hike a lot. We only "hiked" about 6 or 7 miles the entire weekend. We could have just hung around the base camp if we wanted to. I hope that a lot of our future hikes are just like this. So we ended up hiking about half of the distance that we missed on the 2005 hike. I plan to make one more trip to the Dolly Sods North area and either day hike or backpack the Raven Ridge and Rocky Ridge Trails. Then I will have hiked the part of this beautiful area called Dolly Sods North that we didn't get to hike in 2005.
Group picture along Blackbird Knob
Trail. By Charlie Johnson
Tannin laced creek in Dolly Sods
North. By Charlie Johnson
Charlie and Daryl.
By Charlie Johnson
Forner apple orchard.
By Charlie Johnson
Rag Tag Island.
By Mike Calabrese