Greenbrier River Trail (Miles 25-41), WV Backpacking Trip

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After a long ride, through mostly rain, I arrived at the Currents B&B about 3:30 pm.on Friday October 25th. I was greeted in the driveway by Leslee McCarty the owner. The skies were dark and light rain was falling. I asked her if Mike Calabrese or John Geisler had arrived yet. She said "No". I told her I was planning on camping at Watoga State Park just up the road and asked if she had heard a recent weather forecast. She said no she hadn't; but I could come in and check it out on her computer. I said, "No, That's O.K., I'll just ride on over to Watoga and see." On the way over I stopped at the Hillsboro Cafe on Rt. 219 and got something to eat. It was a former hardware store (according to the waitress) that had been converted. It had embossed tin ceiling tiles and the original hardware shelves, now filled with books and antiques. There was a rather large, and damaged, safe near my table with a sign attached to it that read, " This safe was blown open in 1966. Four hundred dollars was removed. The thieves also took about 2000 dollars in silver coins.The perpetrators were never caught."

When I pulled up to the Ranger station in Watoga, the rain started coming down pretty hard. I talked to the girl in the Ranger Station, and she said no one else had been there asking about the hike. She had posted a weather bulletin outside on the station wall from weather.com that called for a ninety-percent chance of rain with heavy downpours at times. I asked her how much for a campsite and she said eighteen dollars. I checked the ground and it was real squishy and decided to go to the Currents B&B a few miles south and spend the night dry and fed. (for thirty-two dollars more.)

On the way to the Currents B&B I did a little exploring. I found a new, recently rebuilt, covered bridge just a couple miles further down the road from the Currents. I got back to the B&B around 5:15 and the owner said she did have another room available. So I took it. It was raining pretty good, even then.

I think Mike and John arrived around six p.m., and after they got all settled into their rooms we sat in the parlor and talked a bit.Then Leslee served them dinner around seven. We all sat around the table and talked about the hike and other things. Leslee gave us a brochure map of the Greenbrier River Trail that was very colorful and descriptive. Then we all went back to the parlor and talked for a while more and lavished attention on one cat and one dog (of many) They both demanded the attention.

The next morning we had a pretty good breakfast; said goodbye to Leslee, and headed out in separate cars to Burnside. 41.7 mm (The end point of the hike.) There we consolidated all the gear into my truck; left John and Mike's vehicles, and headed out to 219 south to Renick. 25 mm (The start point)

I think we got to Renick about 9:15. Chris and Bill Isham and Charlie Johnson arrived at about 9:30 after a short night's sleep and a long drive. We got on the trail at about 10:00, and walked about six miles, then passed through the 400 foot long Droop Mountain Tunnel around 1:15. That's where we stopped to eat lunch. That's when we started seeing groups of bicyclers. They were mostly young teens, but a few adults too. Up to that point we had only seen a jogger and a couple of cyclists. We finished lunch and pushed on around 2 O'clock. Headed for the private camp.

We finally arrived at the private camp area, just past the 35 MM, at around 3:30. That's where we set up our tents and spent the night. Not long after we arrived, one of the owner's neighbors came over. He said he came over to check us out because they keep an eye on each other's property there. Charlie J. told him who we were. He said O.K., yes, the owner had told him we'd be coming. We all ate our suppers, talked for while, then settled into our tents and sleeping bags. The clocks changed back an hour to Daylight Savings time that night at 2 a.m. It was a long night. The season change has given us about eleven hours of darkness now. I woke up around eleven and stayed awake till one a.m.listening to my radio. The next morning I was the first one awake. (around 5:15) Then everyone else woke up and we had a leisurely breakfast. We packed up and headed out around nine. We left our host's property spotless like we'd found it. We hiked on and then rested at the 39 mm.

Along the way we passed the DenMar Medium Security Prison, with a paved path adjoining he trail and signs that said, " Prison Property No Trespassing". It seemed architecturally stark and out of place in this beautiful and serene place. The perimeter fence was topped with razor wire.

We pushed on to the 41.7 MM to our cars at Burnside.

The trail during this hike had smaller stones than the northern section. It also had at least one outhouse and one water spigot along our route. The scenery was spectacular because the fall foliage was at it's peak. There were also a few pastoral farms scenes along the way. The Greenbrier River was an opaque aqua, medium jade-like color, and meandered along the trail with us. There were many huge rock outcroppings towering over us to our left; some as high as 60 feet or more. I would have to say that this unimproved trail section was much more Hiker and Biker friendly because of the surface being more stable. (I had already biked the north forty a couple years back.) The trail surface is mostly composed of crush and run stone.At only a 1-2% grade, the hiking went very easy, setting a good pace. However everyones feet felt a little sore by the end of the hike.

I'd have to rate this as the best hike yet for me. It was flat. (Therefore easy) The fall colors were at their peak, and the weather was perfect during the hike. Another plus was that we all got to hike together, without getting strung out like on other hikes. The trail was wide too. We all agreed to do another section on this trail next fall. During the peak color season.

Jerry McC

More Pictures

Group picture at beginning of hike
  Group picture at beginning of hike.
  By Bill Isham
Entering Droop Mountain Tunnel
  Entering Droop Mountain Tunnel.
  By Bill Isham

Our 'Hunting Camp' campsite
  Our 'Hunting Camp' campsite.
  By Bill Isham
Scenic view from campsite
  Scenic view from campsite.
  By Bill Isham
Scenic View from the GRT
  Scenic View from the GRT.
  By Bill Isham
Another scenic view from GRT
  Another scenic view from GRT.
  By Jerry McCumbers

From inside of Droop Mountain Tunnel
  From inside of Droop Mountain Tunnel.
  By Jerry McCumbers


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