Date : 24-27 May … but you can arrive any day you like.
Time : I’m leaving @ 7:30am and will probably be at the campsite ~1pm (see below for details) … arrive whenever you like
What : Waterfalls, Sunrise/Sunsets, Caves, Rivers, Lakes, Fishing, Campfires, and more!!!
Location : Spruce Knob/Seneca Rocks area of WV
Campsite: I have reserved a mountain top group camp ground at the end of a gated fire road. I reserved all 3 sites so we would be alone, with zero car traffic. This is the same as last time.
Distance : ~4 hours from Centreville Park and Ride
Difficulty : Varies from Medium to Hard. Easy hikes will be by request and not part of the larger plan, but they are easily doable as there are a lot of options.
Leash : Off-Lease (note: Seneca Rocks and the water hole beneath are on-leash)
Carpool : HIGHLY ENCOURAGED!!! Use the comment section to offer / request a ride-share. A good meeting point is the Centreville Park and Ride. We’ll meet there and leave by 7:30 for those that want to caravan with me.
Cost : $25 to cover the campsite and pay for firewood
Photos from last year: http://goo.gl/3KyPu
What to expect:
This area of WV offers many outdoor activities of all different kinds. I am not planning a strict itinerary, rather I'm hoping that folks will come and join us throughout the weekend as their schedules allow. We will all car camp together and I will organize the events I have in mind, but folks are welcome to self-organize based on activity interest. I'm especially keen for anyone with a canoe or kayak to bring one along for us on Spruce Lake :) If you've ever wanted to see how your dog would behave on the water, this is a perfect time.
The campground I have reserved has three tent sites; I've reserved all three to ensure we are not sharing the area with anyone else. It is at the end of a fire road behind a locked gate (we will have the combo). There is a campsite manager that will check in periodically to empty the trash and who will also bring us firewood.
Each site has a fire ring, picnic tables, and a lantern pole (good for hanging garbage bags too). The fire rings have grills, but expect to use a pot, pan, foil, or other clean cooking surface. I will bring a folding cooking grate to help out, but it too is not really suitable for direct cooking (unless you like eating paint flecks).
There are no showers but there are pit toilets in the area as well as bear proof trash cans (very important to use these).
All water (drinking, cooking, cleaning) should be brought with you or treated from local source. I think the manager has access to a potable water source but it could be out of order at any time so plan to live without it. I find one 2.5 gallon jug is enough per person + dog. In fact I usually bring 5 gallons for 2 people + 1 dog and have plenty left over because so many other people also have brought water that we're all sharing.
Things to do:
These are just a few of the activities available in the area.
Spruce Knob - Spruce Knob is the highest point in the 'Mountain State' and has a 360 degree lookout tower for amazing views. It is a short drive to the top and there are a well marked trails along the top of the ridge. For photos, click here: http://www.wvhome.com... At a minimum we will plan at least a sunset event at the knob. A sunrise trip might happen too ... to be specific, I'll let people know it is a fun thing to do. I make no promises that I will be awake for it :)
Swimming: At the base of Spruce Knob is a very nice watering hole for you and your dog. Bring a bathing suit and water shoes for this as well as some other swimming opportunities.
Caving – This is the #1 reason I’m going. For an idea of what to expect click here. Bring a good flashlight/headlamp + a spare. The cave is pitch black. You won't need a helmet but expect to hit some waist deep water, slippery mud, and a bit of a scramble over some rocks.
Waterfall Hike - This is the #2 reason I'm going http://goo.gl/Pqh63. and is another great swimming opportunity. It can be brisk but after a nice hard hike it is refreshing.
Hiking - There are miles and miles of trails in the area. This link contains detailed trail maps: http://www.wvhighland... and you can browse hike suggestions here: http://www.trails.com... .
Fishing/ boating - For a description of nearby Spruce Knob Lake, view this article here: http://www.associated... . As well there are many trout creeks in the area. I do not have a canoe but by all means please bring your own! Fishing license required: http://www.wvdnr.gov/... . No license is required to boat. This is a good place to learn to boat with a dog!
And of course my personal favorite activity, Do-Nothing!!! Everyone needs time to catch up on their Do-Nothing. This is it. No one is required to participate in any activity, and even beyond that, there will be plenty of time to relax in the morning, in the afternoon, and especially in the evening watching the fire, watching the dogs, telling stories, and just enjoying the scenery.
Campsite / Trail Policies:
Leashes - Within the national forest there are no leash restrictions, however some trails and developed areas may have separate rules. You are responsible for reading signage and knowing when/where you are required to use a leash. You may also be asked to leash up your dog at the camp site if they are being a nuisance to others. We are all reasonable people. If two dogs are having an issue then both owners will be asked to take turns containing their dog so the other is allowed to have play-time.
Other Users - Some of the local trails are very popular and see lots of traffic. Even if no leash is required, we may leash-up when other users pass as a courtesy. 20-ish dogs is a lot to inflict on someone else just trying to enjoy the great outdoors.
Parking Lots - Please use a leash in ALL parking lots during the weekend. Do not let your dog off leash until you are a good ways down the trail.
Vehicles - You are responsible for making sure your dog does not run into the road while in camp. If this becomes a problem, I will have to ask everyone to keep their dogs on leash for the remainder of the weekend, so please be responsible for knowing where your dog is at all times. ( NOTE: this should not be a problem this year but it still bears mentioning as a general principle)
Human Food - If your dog eats another member's food uninvited, you are responsible for replacing that food. If your pup is just TOO food motivated you may be asked to leash your dog during chow time. At the same time, you are at a DOG BASED EVENT … you know the risks, so don’t be silly and leave food unattended. It is much like a pedestrian that doesn’t look before they cross the road: you might have the right-of-way, but you will also always lose the argument with the car.
Dog Food – DO NOT feed your pup in any common areas. DO NOT leave your dog's food bowl out where other dogs can get to it. You must supervise during the ENTIRE feeding. Many dogs have food aggression, sensitive diets, etc... and DO NOT toss unused food out into the woods. We don't want to invite unwanted guests!!!
Dog Toys – Dogs can get possessive. Bring whatever toys you want but understand I may ask you to remove the toy if it is causing other dogs to become overly agitated, or your dog is becoming toy aggressive. Of course you can always step away from the group to play with your pup.
Camp Kitchen - Your food must be put away at night in your car. There are bears in this area. In addition to food, all utensils, pitchers, used containers, trash, foil & wrappers, cups, etc ... anything that has come into contact with food or liquids needs to be properly stored overnight.
Personal Property - If your dog destroys another member's property you are responsible for making it right. That may include costs for repairs, replacement, etc... Remember, supervision keeps dogs out of trouble!
Trash – There are bear proof trash bins provided at the site and the campground manager empties them. That said, they can fill up FAST if we aren't careful. Everyone needs to be responsible for their own trash making it into the trash bins.
So, I make one suggestion and one requirement to help facilitate a fun weekend:
Suggestion: Minimize the trash you create in the first place. Unbox what you can and consolidate into larger REUSABLE containers. Bring washable/reusable cups, plates and utensils. There is no reason to bring stacks of disposable items if you don’t have to. If you can't wash/reuse it, at least try to make it burnable. Plastic disposable dinner ware is not burnable!!!
Requirement: Everyone bring at least two large heavy-duty trash bags for their own use.
Glass : If it breaks pick it up IMMEDIATELY to protect puppy paws!
Map - http://goo.gl/maps/jKFZ5 showing directions from the Centreville Park and Ride; adjust the starting point as required. The first stop ("B") is Seneca Rocks. We will be in the parking lot of Yokums General Store (http://goo.gl/maps/UrXal) which is a great place to hit your last real bathroom, and pick up last minute supplies. For those using a GPS see below for coordinates:
GPS Users: The roads are not finely defined enough to use addresses so you must use LAT/LONG.
- Point "B" / Yokums:[masked],[masked]
- Campsite Gate:[masked],[masked]
There is no cell reception in the mountains, so please be sure you feel comfortable with the directions, and be comfortable with waiting around if you are not going to caravan with the main group as we may not be around when you actually arrive. We haven’t had trouble in the past, it isn’t that convoluted out there, but you just need to be ready to be flexible. The best option of course is to caravan with me, or someone else who has been there. I suspect I will have many repeat customers ;-)
Weather : Unless we get some good warning that the whole weekend will just be a bust, we go rain or shine. This is what I will be using to check the weather, NOAA
Refunds: I will be flexible on refunds, but I need to cover my costs. So, no refunds until 15 people have signed up. If the number of attendees drops below 15 then refunds will be suspended until there are 15 people again. NO REFUNDS AFTER 17 May 2013
Attendee Limits: This is limited to 20 people based on previous experience and the need to ensure adequate tent space; 20 tents take a lot of room, especially if everyone brings a car-camping House Tent :O. If I see a lot of RSVP's with people sharing tents then I might be able to open this to a few more people, but for now the limit is 20.