Dolly Sods Wilderness, November 2018

Meant to spend a few days circumnavigating the Dolly Sods and Roaring Plains West Wildernesses in West Virginia over Thanksgiving weekend. Instead got thoroughly familiar with Forest Road 75 while staying a few nights in Le Chateau Nissan Versa.

More photos are in the Flickr gallery.

Wellp, here we go…
Breakfast in Le Chateau Nissan Versa.

Drove overnight that Friday, sleeping in the car at a gas station before heading into the wilds. Woke up to heavy sleet, turning into a real storm at the trailhead. Already concerned about navigating the marshy, unmarked trails, decided I had nothing to prove, nowhere to be, and literally rode out the storm in the car as the winds rocked it considerably all through the night. Wound up having spent 36 straight hours in the car. This was better than it sounds in that the trailhead parking had a great, wide open view over the valley. Worse than it sounds though in that there is not enough room in the Versa for me to fully lay out…

Beautiful day next morning but trails on the east side essentially unnavigable between the storm water and snow melt. Gave up on one trail through a marsh when I started repeatedly sinking up to my knees without feeling solid bottom. Bushwhacked out to the perimeter road, hiked down, tried another trail, turned back when the creek crossings got to waist deep and quick moving. And so on. Seven hours hiking with full kit until eventually walking back up the perimeter road for another night in the car.

Some great trails.
And a lot of water.

Next day more sleet, so time to go home.

Would definitely go back here, the wilderness seemed pretty neat. But it would have to be in a dry period (several trails are very wet year-round), or more preparedness to give up on the loop right away and do an out-and-back along the west side, which is higher & rockier.

More photos are in the Flickr gallery.

“Daddy, don’t forget, you got to bring some dice. Here, you can take some of my big ones.”