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Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV
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Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/17/2012 09:36:34 MDT Print View

October? November?

Any interest?

Thoughts on routes or daily mileage?

Sean Rhoades
(kingpin)

Locale: WV
Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/18/2012 22:51:10 MDT Print View

I would be in for the Sods. Preferably before it gets too cold, but either way I'd go. You can email me at hovel138@yahoo.com if you like.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/21/2012 08:15:52 MDT Print View

Sean, what is your low temp limit?

Edit: I'm leaning toward the first weekend in November. I think that avoids hunting season.

Edited by AndyF on 08/21/2012 08:20:35 MDT.

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/21/2012 15:43:30 MDT Print View

I'm interested. It all depends on when you plan on going. First weekend in Nov may work for me.

I've seen it all, so I'm up for whatever type of mileage or route as long as we hit some of the northern area.

Darin McCauley
(MistyMountainPhoto) - F

Locale: Ohio
Dolly Sods Oct/Nov on 08/21/2012 18:00:38 MDT Print View

I'm interested...dependent upon schedule.

and yes...my avatar pic was taken from Bear Rocks!

Edited by MistyMountainPhoto on 08/21/2012 18:04:05 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/21/2012 18:03:50 MDT Print View

Just ensure you can get up there - some of the roads up there aren't maintained in winter.

I'd be up for it if the mileage is in the 15-20 miles per day category.

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/21/2012 18:34:40 MDT Print View

I think forest road 75 closes in late October or November. That leaves access from the south and west.

15-20 is fine with me.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/22/2012 09:20:08 MDT Print View

Stephen: The north sounds great. I was just there on a 3 day trip with the whole family.

Darin: Awesome photo!

Looking more closely at the hunting seasons, boar gun season runs through Nov 3. I don't think boar season is as popular as deer season, so there won't be as many hunters. I'm not sure if anyone hunts boar in Dolly Sods. There's no way to avoid archery hunting seasons in the late fall, but I'm not concerned about that. The weekend of Nov 10 appears to be free of any large animal gun seasons.

Hunting season dates:
http://www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/Regs1213/Season_dates.pdf

We'll have about 10.5 hours of daylight. Sunrise/set times on Nov 3 are around 7:50 am and 6:15 pm (DST, time change is that Sunday morning). Nov 10 would have us losing about 14 min of daylight--no big deal. Nov 3 is a waning full moon, and Nov 10 is a crescent, close to new moon, with better stargazing.

Weather for nearby Elkins:
http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KEKN/2012/11/22/MonthlyHistory.html#calendar

This shows an average high of 59F and average low of 33F for Nov 3. The Sods (espeically the North) will be cooler and windier than these temperatures, so take these as a "warm average".

I can do 15 miles, not sure about 20 but willing to give it a try. I generally hike about 2-2.5 mph, but I go slower than most on uphills. (My pack weight is very low, but I'm still working on some extra body weight.)

Many ideas for routes here:
http://www.midatlantichikes.com/wv.htm

I think we could plan to roughly follow one of these routes, making final planning decisions in the morning and campsite decisions in the afternoon.

Do we want to do a Friday-Sunday (3 day, 2 night), meeting at the trailhead around 10am on a Friday?

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/22/2012 19:17:02 MDT Print View

I can tentatively attend the first weekend of November. I should know in the next few days. The second weekend of November is definitely out for me, but don't let that affect the planning if that is the best weekend. October may be a possibility for me as well...just need to check the schedule.

Circumnavigating the northern and southern part would be a fairly easy task. There would be plenty of time for side trails as well. If there is time left and anyone feels up to bushwhacking to the overlook in Roaring Plains...I'm game.

This is the circumnavigation route:
http://www.midatlantichikes.com/dst.htm

May have to alter the starting point due to road closures (still not sure when they close forest road 75). It would be nice to start up there because of the view. Might be best to start at the Red Creek trail head if the northern road is closed. I've heard from others that you can start on the western edge, but I've never done this (private property may be involved).

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/22/2012 19:22:07 MDT Print View

Found this on one website:

Starting in October, prepare for freezing temperatures and lots of snow that can last through April. In winter, the area can receive up to 150 inches of snow, so cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular. Backcountry skiers can ski Forest Road 75 itself since the road is closed December through mid-April. Alternatively, Blackbird Knob Trail (No. 511) starts on an old jeep trail before switching to grassland, starting at Red Creek Campground and ending east by Cabin Mountain.

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/22/2012 19:36:29 MDT Print View

Jeesh...That description gets me hyped up! However, If they expected "lots of snow" starting in October, then Canaan and Timberline would be open for business in early November. I don't think they open until sometime in mid December. I have no doubt that anyone entering in October or November should be prepared for freezing temps and snow, but I'm skeptical on the "lots" part.

Happy to hear that 75 is open until December!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/22/2012 19:38:59 MDT Print View

"I have no doubt that anyone entering in October or November should be prepared for freezing temps and snow, but I'm skeptical on the "lots" part."

Oh heck, yeah, I agree. I did once, however, get four inches overnight unexpectedly in the Sods in late October. Twas beautiful! Expected the temps, so I was warm. But I remember postholing through knee-deep snow going off trail on the way back to the car.

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/22/2012 19:44:52 MDT Print View

That actually sounds like a wonderful time. Is that weird?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/22/2012 19:52:27 MDT Print View

"That actually sounds like a wonderful time. Is that weird?"

No! It was a wondeful time! I was in a cuben Duomid on that trip. When I woke up I could see the snow piled around the perimeter from inside. Hmmmmm, I thought. Went outside and just marveled at both the amount of snow, and the beauty of it since it was fresh and glistening and such - no mud, no footprints, nothing. It was gorgeous and fun, even the potholing (during which I laughed quite a bit, even when I almost wedged my foot between two unseen rocks. Hurt a bit, but didn't dampen my good time!

Nick C.
(nixie) - F
re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/22/2012 23:28:52 MDT Print View

I'm also interested and can make the first weekend in November!

If the weather proves interesting and October does provide us with an abundance of snow, it is also possible to access the northern edges of the Sods via chairlift from Timberline resort.

Devin's trip report here:
http://soredirtywet.blogspot.com/2010/01/next-dolly-sods-sledding.html

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/29/2012 13:04:14 MDT Print View

It sounds like Nov 2-4 is the best date then? That's Friday-Sunday. I guess let's plan to meet at 11 am on Friday Nov 2 at the Red Creek trailhead near Laneville (Wildlife cabin).

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/29/2012 13:28:40 MDT Print View

Sounds like that may be the best starting point. Here is a link for google map directions to the trail head:

https://www.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&saddr=&daddr=38.9722,-79.3987&layer=&ie=UTF8&z=12&ll=38.982631,-79.398537&spn=0.115825,0.344009&om=1&iwloc=addr

I may have to catch up with the group if you plan on meeting that early. I may be a few hours behind but can hoof it.

Do we have anyone else confirmed that is attending?

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
time on 08/29/2012 14:36:54 MDT Print View

Stephen (and everyone else considering attending): What meeting time works best?

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: time on 08/29/2012 16:30:53 MDT Print View

1pm is probably best for me, but I could probably make it by noon if I left early enough.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Group trip: Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV on 08/31/2012 12:39:56 MDT Print View

12 or 1pm would be fine with me. I'm 5 hrs away, so the later time would mean that I'm more likely to be awake while hiking. We'll see what time others suggest as the date approaches.