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We returned at 3 am July 31st, 2000, from our rather different trip to the Dolly Sods Wilderness, West Virginia, the state to which we travel most often. Mickey, me, Nat and Christine (as well as Grendel) were suitably treated to a wet hike, which is what we were going for. Unfortunately, the bulk of the wet we had was due to thunderstorms, which turned the trails into streams and ponds. Except for when we sat around the campfire, there was hardly a dry moment. I still feel kinda wet.

click on the small map to see it full-size:
The map of our route, from: Terraserver

The hike was just about ten miles (see the map 428k), which we took at a leisurely pace. There's lots of water (even without rain), so going dry wasn't going to be an issue, and the topography is so mild we thought we were in Iowa. But because the weather was so cool and damp, we never really needed to stop to take a dip anywhere. Stream crossings were not a problem either - when you're soaked to the bone, why kill yourself hopping over rocks to keep the boots dry? Just go!

The other notable feature of this trip was the abundance of blueberries we found the entire length of the trail (except in the river valleys, like where we camped). They were so good, we had trouble hiking because we stopped so often to pick and eat. I was surprised not to see them all disappearing to the wildlife, but I guess that means there was enough for all. We could have eaten a pound each, but I'm sure our stomachs wouldn't be thanking us, and we'd be using our U-Dig-Its a whole lot more!

Navigation was our biggest problem. When we get the data from
the GPS entered into the mapping software, we'll see all the wrong moves we took. There were at least 4 times when we had to either backtrack or find the trail again - not too good when you have said GPS and 7.5' topo maps! Those added together may have added a mile or more to the trip.

Not that I really have to say this, but it was a fun time and a beautiful hike too. I shot 5 1/2 rolls of film that I'll take in for processing. The photography part of the trip was challenging, too, as the humidity and outright wet conditions kept fogging my lenses. On a sunny moment Sunday morning, we put all the equipment in the sun, which dried it out until the next thunderstorm.

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Last Updated: June 28, 2001
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