March 27, 2020|Hiking West Virginia, Outdoor Activities
The Monongahela National Forest is my happy place. When I go there, everything melts away and I can just enjoy the amazing scenery. I know that it will rain at least once while I am there and usually there will be some other intense weather, but it is all part of the experience.
This was definitely a “Plan Z” kind of trip. Every time we came up with a plan, we had to change it a billion times. We had planned on camping in Dolly Sods at the Red Creek Campground. This is a primitive campground with a self-check registration and plenty of distance between sites (perfect for social distancing!). It was closed. There was nothing on the internet about it being closed nor any signs on the road until you got to the gate. Normally this would not be a problem, but when you are towing a 22 foot trailer, making a U-turn on a single lane dirt road with one side being a drop off, it was tricky. I backed down over a quarter mile (without launching us over the side of the mountain) before I could turn around.
We made our way over to Seneca Shadows campground, to find that it was also closed. Next we headed over the mountains to look for a couple of other primitive sites. We completely missed the one we were searching for but found the next one. You guessed it, closed. We managed to find a suitable place to camp that was far from everyone and everything and proceeded with our adventures.
Near one of the primitive campgrounds, we found an amazing rock garden. It was like fairies had constructed it! Everything was covered in thick moss and the rocks welcomed you to explore their secrets. It would make the perfect place for hide and seek! The next day we went to Table Rock (see hike review). It was very wet and muddy! Even with the mud, the girls and I had a nice hike.
The highlight for me was hiking up Seneca Rocks (again, see hike review). It has been a while since I have done that hike and it was the perfect day for it. The girls were not so thrilled about the one mile uphill part, but they did appreciate the view form the top. I was able to go out to the rock outcrop and get an even more amazing view. The hike was great until Athena decided to go over the side after a chipmunk (while attached to me). After my face ricocheted off a tree, I bounced a$$ over teakettle down the side for about ten feet. We were lucky it happened where it did, because further up the trail, I would have had a much longer fall. I have figured out that I am too old for falls like that. Thankfully I just got some bumps and bruises and am very stiff.
Hannah took a stroll in the frigid stream but didn’t last long. We found our way to another out-of-the-way camp spot and enjoyed our last night listening to books on tape and just enjoying being together.
Riley had been nervous about so much “together time” in a 22 foot trailer. So much in fact, she almost didn’t come. After some encouragement, we convinced her to join us and she said she was glad she came. Can’t ask for more than that!
Here is a link to the map I used. I would recommend having a map when traveling this area as many roads do not have names and they are dirt (at least the roads I went on!)