LM: Dolly Sods, WV (~21 Miles)


Alright, so I've been waiting for a while for the weather to get warm enough to plan this trip.  It's finally arrived!

Trip Overview:

This three day backpacking trip will start from us leaving on Friday, aiming to arrive at the Bear Rocks trail head at around 9pm.   We'll hike in for just over a mile, crossing Red Creek to get to our camp area.

Saturday morning, we'll hit the trail in a decent hour and hike along the Bear Rocks, Raven Ridge, Rocky Ridge, Blackbird Knob, Big Stonecoal, Rocky Point trails and then connect with the spur trail leading us up to Lion's Head.  This is where we will camp for Saturday night.  

Note: Camping and Lion's Head is a dry camp so we will need to fill up about a mile or so before the junction of the spur trail.

Sunday, we will complete the loop via the Rocky Point, Red Creek, Blackbird Knob, Upper Red Creek, Dobbin Grade, and Bear Rocks Trails back to the cars.

Approximate Mileage for this trip is around 21 and total elevation gains are about 2000 ft.

Mileage Splits: 1.5/10/9

Please note the following:

- For those of you that have never been to Dolly Sods, the trail can get quite muddy and wet, especially in the north eastern sections. 

- There will be minor creek crossings with Red Creek being the biggest (knee deep at max).

- As a rule of thumb, due to the entire area being up on a 4,000ft plateau, subtract about 12 degrees F for what the temperatures are being forecasted in the valley below.

- The weather is very unpredictable here.  The weather could call for clear skies, but there is always a chance for sudden storms to roll in.

Map:

You can google search maps for this area pretty easily, but here is a good printable one:

http://www.wvhighlands.org/Maps/usfs_mnf/dolly_sods.pdf

**IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

- All attendees must have a map in order to participate.

- All applicants must submit a gear list in order to participate in this event. Your gear list must be received prior to the event (by Monday May 12th); if not, you will be removed from the trip.

- By RSVPing to this trip or any other DC UL trip, you agree to DC UL's waiver liability terms


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  • Marika

    I just want to second what Jimmy said- everyone's photos look so great. Dolly Sods is so hard to describe and you all did such a great job capturing it!

    2 · May 23

  • Jimmy

    Thanks JD for the pictures! You did a great job getting action pics of all of us!

    1 · May 21

  • JD

    An observation while I evaluate gear used on the hike. I wouldn't change anything but I've noticed that what most co-backpackers often overlook or misplace are stakes and headlamps. Small shepherd's hook stakes are 1/4-oz and could make a big difference to someone especially if it's raining. I had 1-extra but I'll probably carry 4-extra from now on. Secondly a Black Diamond !on headlamp could make a big difference http://www.prolitegear.com/black-diamond-ion-headlamp.html and only weighs 1,1-oz . It won't light up everything between here and the horizon but it could be a big assist to someone in need. So I'm going to add to my gear list that 2.1-oz. It's worth the weight to have something that could help a new or old friend. That's just me.

    May 21

    • Emerald

      Ageed. After the trip I ordered 12 stakes in addition to my new tent. Thanks, JD, for lending the extra stake this weekend!

      May 21

    • Emerald

      As for the headlamp you posted, although a little pricier I think the Petzl e+LITE is more powerful and it offers red light (steady and blinking). It's also lighter at .95 oz. and has an option allowing it to be clipped to clothing. I was lucky enough to buy it a year and a half ago when they included the waterproof storage case and the more comfortable strap. I just need to remember to replace the original batteries! :) http://www.rei.com/pr...­

      May 21

    • A former member
      A former member

      I've hiked with Gig a few times,...she def sees and hears things;). Ask her
      About the eyes peering through the night. Once we did see two pairs of eyes waist high while on a ridge at 9:30pm. That was creepy.

      May 20

    • Jimmy

      Jeez, well she definitely has a certain keen sense.

      May 20

  • JD

    It was a GREAT Rocky Sogs weekend! Jimmy was everything an applicant could want. Marika (the Purple Lady) delighted with her quick mind and remarkable knowledge of so many subjects. Giggles kept me smiling all weekend. Em has a smile that outshines any precious stone (and better than any green tea).

    2 · May 18

  • Marika

    What a great weekend- in spite of the mud. Jimmy, thanks for organizing!

    1 · May 18

  • A former member
    A former member

    WOW! Dolly Sods looks amazing! Sometime I'll get there. Stoked to hear y'all had a wonderful trip:)

    1 · May 18

  • Emerald

    Wouldn't have spent the weekend any other way. Thanks, Jimmy, for being so cool. I had a blast, enjoyed EVERYONE's company, and learned a ton!

    1 · May 18

  • Jimmy

    What a great trip with myself and the ladies!!... oh and JD. ;-) All of you guys rocked this trip! With cold temps, snow?, big winds, big water crossings, weird animal encounters in the night, and shoe sucking bogs, you guys never faltered!

    2 · May 18

  • Jimmy

    Well, with the current RSVP status, we'll be taking my car only. See you guys at the Vienna Kiss and Ride.

    1 · May 16

  • Michael M.

    Yay! I see blue skies in the west!

    1 · May 16

  • Jimmy

    I just got off the phone with the Forrest Service just to make sure nothing weird is happening up there that we should know about. The only caution he gave was to take it slow and easy going up the Forrest Service roads (we will be taking FS 75). Specifically, the roads are still drive-able but there has been some deterioration because of the long winter they had.

    1 · May 15

    • Jasmine

      All: I drop this one not because of the transportation issue but it is some thing else. Hope it works out to your guys too. :0

      May 16

    • Jimmy

      JD well see you at the trail head at 930 ish

      1 · May 16

  • JDH

    I have an obligation with another hiking group on May 17 - but you never know so I'm adding myself to the wait list. I'm all set when it comes to the Big Three thanks to Gear Swap 2014 but my MSR Miniworks Ex water filter & JetBoil are too heavy for DCUL. Not worried about cooking at the moment and prefer to see how other DCUL backpackers utilize their equipment in the field but I do need to filter and/or treat water, of course.

    What method is recommend -- filter, steripen, chemicals like iodine & bleach, a combination of 2 or 3 methods -- if one is taking weight into consideration?

    April 28

    • Michael M.

      Jet Boils are solid choices. They have the quickest boil times, but are weighty. IMHO, you cannot beat an alcohol stove for weight, convenience, and low price. This is what I've used for the past two years (http://www.traildesig...­).

      April 29

    • JDH

      Just purchased the alcohol stove and will purchase the Sawyer-Mini at a later date after hopefully having an opportunity to inspect it in the field. Still working on my gear list.

      May 15

  • Jimmy

    If you have a car, please park at the Kiss and Ride section of the North Vienna Metro. Thanks!

    May 15

  • Jimmy

    All, here is my contact info:[masked]-9952.

    The originally forecasted rains seem to have diminished but it will be quite chilly this weekend (35-45 degs give or take). Again, please plan accordingly.

    May 15

  • Jen S.

    I am SO sorry but I just found out from my realtor that they want to put my house on the market a week earlier than previously. This means I have to use this weekend for painting and small home improvement projects I thought I could do next weekend.
    I hate to pull out so last minute; and I'd rather be in the mountains, rain and all, than doing this, but I just have to remove myself from the list. :-(

    May 14

  • A former member
    A former member

    Jimmy, we've never met because I've flaked out on every trip I was supposed to go on with you. I was trying my best not to do that again. However, I simply don't have the equipment for the sort of rain we're expecting, especially combined with such cold temperatures. Sorry! Hopefully, there is still time for a more mud-loving person to take my place.

    May 14

    • Michael M.

      Hmmm .. My trip looks pretty dry and mild too ... http://www.wundergrou...­ ... Of course, you never know.

      May 14

    • Jimmy

      Sorry Steve, i'm sure we'll meet soon. Doesn't look like we'll see much in terms or rain but it will get pretty cold (relative to the fact that its 80 here in DC now).

      May 15

  • Jason

    Thanks for the heads up Dave ... I just cancelled I didn't realize I had been accepted to both hikes. I'll stick with the smaller (more exclusive) group ;)

    May 14

  • Jimmy

    Alright all here are some updates. With the forecasted rains there this week, the trails will be insanely wet. For our hike into camp Fri night, we will need to ford Red Creek. My guess is that itll be at least knee deep. Lastly, temps will be COLD, compared to what we have been seeing here in the DC area lately. Lows will be just above freezing and highs will be in the mid 40s. Please plan for this.

    May 14

    • Emerald

      Last time I was there, the mud was up to my thighs. It was soo grosss. But I guess I'm coming back for more, lol :/

      May 14

    • Michael M.

      Oh, it will be muddy in May, with this much rain! It's muddy during a drought!

      May 14

  • Michael M.

    Where is the campsite at Lions Head? Just for my own information.

    May 14

    • Jimmy

      After the big climb up the spur trail, you get to that pine grove. Along the trail following the grove, you will pass by 3 major sites right off the trail. Once you get to the third site towards the end of the trail, walk left (north east direction along the ridge) in to the wooded area and there are a couple more big sites.

      May 14

    • Michael M.

      Hmmm ... I must have approached it from totally the wrong angle. Plainly, I need to spend more time in the Sods.

      1 · May 14

  • Steve

    I was moved onto the trip last night from the waiting but cannot go because I already made other plans. Sorry for not taking my name off the waiting list. Enjoy the trip!

    May 14

  • Damien

    Hey guys, sorry for the cancellation. I have to travel for work and leave Sunday : (

    May 13

  • Jimmy

    Here's a weather site that I like to follow. I used this to see whats going on at higher elevations.

    http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Spruce-Knob/forecasts/1482

    May 13

  • JD

    Glad to help. I can carry 5 besides myself.

    May 13

  • JD

    Jimmy - Since I'll be driving from Raleigh I'll go straight to the Trailhead that appears to be at[masked],[masked]
    Do you need a different gear list from me than what I used on the Devil's Stairsteps (staircase?) earlier this year? Thx

    May 12

    • Jimmy

      No gear list required. Just plan for low temps in the mid 30's, rain, and mud. Also, please study the map and our intended route. It's pretty easy to get lost here.

      May 13

    • Jimmy

      Also, the trail head is at this location:[masked], -79.303157. You were close though :-). We will ariving at around 9-9:30 Friday night.

      May 13

  • Jimmy

    Anyone have cars? So far we have myself and possibly Emerald's.

    May 13

  • JDH

    Removing myself from the waitlist due to recent respite caregiver issues that are as of yet unresolved. The best I could do after a drive to Miami, FL, was having a relative cover for me during the Memorial Day Weekend. My wife Cristina covered for me during the WFA course in NJ by working from home but she cannot make a habit of this. Have fun and a belated 'Happy Mother's Day' to all the moms in DCUL. BTW, my mom is 98 y/o!

    May 12

    • Jimmy

      You too JDH! Thanks!

      May 12

  • Michael M.

    Now if only I could figure out some way to be in two places at once. Hmmmm ... ;)

    1 · May 12

  • Jen S.

    Still in!

    May 7

  • Jimmy

    Binh, Jen and Marinel, please shoot me an email or post here to let me know if you are able to go. I would like to give the folks on the waitlist a chance to go if they can.

    May 6

  • Jimmy

    Hey, guys, those that are signed up, please take the time that you are still good to go as there are people building up on the wait list. Thanks!

    May 5

  • JD

    Good 2 Go

    May 5

  • Jimmy

    Trip description updated!

    April 23

  • Darwin

    Lion's Head is the "best" place to witness a sunset and sunrise, cross your finger you have a open sky that day...It's my favorite spot from all Dolly Sods.
    Enjoy the trip guy's, you are in good hands.

    1 · April 16

  • Rachel

    I'm going to change my reservation and let Binh participate. I hate to bail on a LM trip..but I didn't realize I had a calendar conflict :( Have a great time!

    April 16

  • Michael M.

    And a waitlist! GQ, you're popular!

    1 · April 15

5 went

  • Jimmy
    Veteran Plus Member (GQ) ('15), Co-Organizer
    Event Host
  • Carrie P
    Veteran Member (Gig) ('15)
  • JD
    Member
  • Marika
    Member (Blizzard) (15)
  • Emerald
    Member

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