My 11 year old son and I headed out to the WV/VA border on Saturday afternoon. Our plans were to hike about 5 miles in and camp for the night, and hike out the loop another 5 miles on Sunday AM. This is the basic route we took. http://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/WhiteRocks/
The trailhead is near the end of a long country road that follows Waites Run for the most part. Was a nice heavy flowing creek, especially after the amount of rain we have gotten the past few weeks. We saw a number of people out fishing. We found the trailhead at about 3pm and started our journey.
My son used my daypack (6oz, 1100ci), with only some extra clothes, a book, his DS(huge luxury item), and his sleeping bag/pillow. I carried everything else in my Jam.
We followed a forest road for about a 1/4 mile, and then dipped downwards towards the creek, having to crisscross over a number of times before reaching a large wildlife clearing. The water was high enough and moving fast enough that we had to really be strategic about getting across.
Along Racer Camp Hollow Trail we passed a number of wildlife clearings before heading back down under the ridge. The trail was very rocky and muddy, and in some places we decided to bushwack around to avoid the mess. Most of the trail follows alongside the creek, and there were a number of campsites. One in particular was quite nice, with a large cleared area, large fire ring with benches, and a kitchen shelf. We continued on, as we wanted to make a campsite that was at about the halfway point.
The trail began to head upwards, and we were met with even worse rocky and muddy terrain.
We made it to camp around 6pm, set up our tent (brought the Eureka Apex 2XT along, since it was the two of us - extra weight, but has been a good solid 2 person tent), and got settled. The creek had ended about 15 minutes before we made it to camp. We had brought 3L of water, and had almost used up 2L. So we backtracked down and filtered water.
Got a nice fire going, and settled in for the night. I did not sleep well. This was my 3rd night on an inflatable pad (kookabay), and I am just not feeling it. I can't seem to get in a comfortable position and/or stay on the pad. I am seriously considering trying out a hammock. My son slept like a rock, and we were awoken at about 5:30am to the sound of rain hitting the tent. The forecast was 0-10% of rain, so I was pretty surprised to get rain. We did not bring any rain gear, so thankfully it was not a hard rain, and only lasted off and on for about an hour. We were up around 6am, ate some oatmeal in the vestibule and by 7am were packed up and ready to go. We started our day which would consist of hiking up the ridgeline of the mountain along the Tuscarora trail and getting the reward of good views before heading home.
The white rocks summit views looking eastbound across to SNP and beyond.
We talked a bit as we walked about the Tuscarora trail. I explained what I know of it as being a 250 mile trail, the WV/VA portions prior were the big blue trail, and that at one time it was used as part of the AT. My son seemed pretty intrigued by all of this, and later on when we were driving route 55 out back to 81, we noticed a trailhead and signs for the Tuscarora trail there and he thought it was very cool that the same trail we were on was so far down the road as well. Might have started the hiking bug on this trip :)
We had some rock scrambling mixed in, which was fun. And we saw numerous large bear tracks and scat, but never saw any.
We arrived back at our car before 10am. Overall it was a short but fun overnight trip. It was my sons first backcountry experience, and he loved it. He is already asking when we can go again.