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Dolly Sods North Backpack 15 Miles

After meeting up we will drive the 4.5 to 5 hours to the Sods. Upon our arrival we will park at Bear Rocks and hike 1.02 miles along the Bear Rocks Trail (522) till it crosses Red Creek where we will make camp for the night.

Saturday we will head west on the Bear Rocks Trail (522) to the Raven Ridge Trail (521) to the Rocky ridge Trail (524) and finally to the Black Bird Knob Trail (511). We will camp Saturday night where the Black Bird Knob Trail (511) crosses the Left Fork of Red Creek. (8.7 miles)

Sunday we will continue on Black Bird Knob Trail (511) to the Upper Red Creek Trail (509) to Dobbin Grade (526) then back to Bear Rocks Trail (522) back to our cars for the drive home. (5.25 miles)

 

This is a moderate 15 mile backpack through the scenic Dolly Sods North. You’ll walk through areas of breath-taking beauty. The entire trek is one big photo op. There are some deciduous forest along the way but you’ll spend most of your time walking through heath bogs on Dobbin Grade, grassy plains sprinkled with Spruce groves along Raven Ridge and the rocky, tundra-like ridge of Cabin Mountain. There will be views in every direction. Although there are suitable campsites throughout the area this description has you camping in a Red Spruce grove along the Left Fork of Red Creek.

 

There are some wet spots, especially along Dobbin Grade so have some dry footwear waiting for you back at the car. Also remember that mountain top weather can change with a wink of an eye and in many instances you might be totally exposed to the elements so pack accordingly.



http://mrhyker.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/mnf-dsn-bp-w.jpg

 

Dolly Sods is well known for its often extreme and mercurial climate. Sun, rain, snow, and fog are all possible within an hour. Cool, wet weather prevails throughout the year. Although summer temperatures can reach the 80s or higher, frost is possible at any time of the year in higher elevations (above 4,000 feet) and winter temperatures can dip below zero. Yearly precipitation is more than 55 inches. Precipitation is heavy because rising air masses cool as they hit the higher mountains and deposit moisture. Snowfall is impressive and may reach 150 inches in a year. This heavy snow breaks down trees and shrubs. Heavy glazes of ice and deposits of rime frost also break down trees and shrubs, giving them their characteristic forms and gnarled appearance. Prevailing winds are from the west and blow almost constantly. The effect of these winds can be seen in the flag-form red spruce trees; their branches grow on one side, away from the wind. Frost and snow effects also contribute to the flag-form shape of the trees. Because of the drying influence of the wind, no branches are produced on the west side of the tree above the protective shrub layer. Stunted branches on the east side give the trees a twisted appearance. Where spruce are protected by a shrub layer, luxuriant webs of branches extend for a radius of a dozen feet, giving a mat-like look to vegetation.[13]

The explosive collision of air masses attendant upon the Allegheny Front dumps many tons of snow on Dolly Sods each winter. During the winter of 2003, 290 inches (7.3 m) of snow fell in the area. Humid and warmer air from the Potomac River Valley to the east and south meets colder Canadian air blowing off the Great Lakes. This churns and produces the locally severe weather that can sometimes rival that of Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

This section of the Allegheny Front is one of the windiest spots east of the Mississippi, a fact responsible for the wind farming that is now so highly visible just north of Bear Rocks. Wind recorders in the Wilderness have been known to blow away in the gusts that can exceed 100 miles per hour. Just to the west in Canaan Valley, temperatures of 40° F below zero have been recorded.

 

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  • Mike G.

    Phil, here is the chewing gum story with Santa Ana as the star. http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi963.htm

    1 · May 28, 2013

    • Phil

      Thanks! That's a great story!!!

      May 28, 2013

  • Phil

    here's my short youtube vid!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTSXFxJ6AKA

    May 28, 2013

  • Cameron A.

    My first trip with this meetup group. Had a blast with some great folks in the wilderness!

    May 27, 2013

  • Phil

    Very COLD and WINDY; great company, new friends, great test of gear in blustery conditions (is 30F + 50MPH winds blustery?) On the plus side, when it warmed up (a little) we had 5 miles of sometimes ankle deep marsh to walk thru, welcome to the Dolly 'bogs'; Note: thanks to Paula, Mike, and Cameron we had a GREAT campfire every night in spite of the place being drenched in rain which stopped as we got out of the cars!!!

    May 27, 2013

  • Paul H.

    COLD and windy

    May 27, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Great trip! Even better company. This was our first OCB trip, and we enjoyed it so much. Just the right amount of hiking each day, followed by awesome times around the fire.

    May 26, 2013

  • Steve B.

    I don't want to hold you guys up, I'll probably be driving myself anyway so call me at[masked]-9850. I'm driving out that way will just have to find a place to meet up. If I don't catch you at the park-and-ride

    May 24, 2013

  • Steve B.

    On my way, 15 min late

    May 24, 2013

  • Steve B.

    Looking at forecast, I know the soda are colder but I did not prepare or pack for temps below freezing or highs below 50... I could throw extra stuff on the car but would have to repack my bag later. Ill be at the carpool but I may be a last minute scratch... Since I have to get the kids to school this morning by myself it's going to be hard to get heavier gear packed. Someone can call me at 8:45 at[masked] to check on my status, don't want to hold people up.

    May 24, 2013

  • Paul H.

    This is a bit west of us, and a bit lower than us elevation wise, but, weather is looking better than yesterdays forecast.

    http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Laurel-Mountain-West-Virginia/forecasts/962

    May 23, 2013

    • Paul H.

      The Sods makes it's own weather any way.

      May 23, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Are the coordinates on Mid-Atlantic Hikes the same ones we are driving to? I would like to put them in my gps tonight. He shows the following coordinates: [masked],[masked]

    Thanks.

    May 23, 2013

    • Mike G.

      Paul, I tried to find those but am having trouble.

      May 23, 2013

    • Mike G.

      Found them on my email, thanks!

      May 23, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Latest forecast at Canaan Valley Ski Resort calls for a low of 31 tomorrow night, with winds 15-25 from the NW and gusts of over 40 occasionally...not sure how this translates to the Sods, but I am guessing the Sods will be even colder and windier. :(

    May 23, 2013

  • Steve B.

    Paul: would or be safe to pack my summer sleeping bag? I'm thinking lows In Mid 40's? Always nice to save some weight/bulk but don't want to freeze either.

    May 23, 2013

    • Phil

      bring your summer bag and use your jacket trick

      May 23, 2013

    • Paul H.

      I am going to pack my 35 degree bag.

      May 23, 2013

  • Steve B.

    Phil, didn't we hike three ridges a while back? Did i leave my Leki poles In your truck? They have cork handles. The last I remember seeing them was that trip.

    May 23, 2013

    • Phil

      yes, summer before last, no poles in my truck, not sure if I remember that you had poles? I'll go back and look at my pix

      May 23, 2013

    • Phil

      yep, you had them at three ridges

      May 23, 2013

  • Steve B.

    What time to meet at Richmond park and ride? About 10:30(assuming tidewater leaves at 9)

    May 21, 2013

    • Paul H.

      Steve, meet at 9:00 AM, want to be on the road at 9:10.

      May 22, 2013

    • Steve B.

      Oh... I have to from my daughter off at preschool at 8:30... Ill head straight to park and ride from there.. May be a 9:10. Kids with their mom this weekend.

      May 23, 2013

  • Paul H.

    6:30 this morning, sunny and 61 degrees at the Sods.

    May 22, 2013

    • Mike G.

      Paula is very cold natured, so she is not happy right now! We looked at the Seneca Creek pics from last year's late May trip, and people were swimming in the creek. Not likely this year lol

      May 22, 2013

    • Paul H.

      WoW, What a crappy weather forecast. No rain, but no warm. And I was getting ready to pack my summer sleeping bag.

      May 22, 2013

  • Paul H.

    At 5:45 this morning, it is 57 degrees at the Sods. Maybe spring is finally here.

    May 18, 2013

    • Paul H.

      It does get wet there at times.

      May 18, 2013

    • Steve B.

      Sods are a funny place. I was up there memorial day '03 when they called for rain and it was dry all weekend. I went again in August 2010, no call for rain and it rained all morning on Saturday. If it's been wet, Red creek may be a little deep in places.

      May 21, 2013

  • Mike G.

    The link to the map of the Richmond Park and Ride does not give you a map of where it is, and if you try to get directions, it says unable to find. From what I can see by zooming on the map, it appears that this park and ride is out past Short Pump?

    May 18, 2013

    • Mike G.

      Paula and I would like to drive, and we can take two, but no dogs. Allergies to some dogs :(

      May 19, 2013

    • Steve B.

      I've got a Toyota Sienna mini-van. I can probably fit quite a few, if they can deal with a dog. I'm not 100% sure I'll bring him...

      May 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Soooooooooo, are we all set for this trip? Is Phil still planning on playing his harmonica while Mike sings and Steve's dog howls at them both?

    May 21, 2013

    • Mike G.

      My singing is howling in and of itself.

      May 21, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Oh my, a howling CPA. Steve's dog might bite you.

      1 · May 21, 2013

  • Sarah H.

    Sorry guys- have a family emergency and I don't know if I'll be back before the weekend. Hopefully this is enough notice for someone else to jump on this opportunity. I hope you guys have a blast!!

    May 19, 2013

  • Steve B.

    Ill be meeting at Richmond. I usually meet at the Manakin park and ride. Also does this trip allow dogs?

    May 18, 2013

    • Steve B.

      What about the dogs?

      May 19, 2013

    • Paul H.

      Dogs are fine.

      May 19, 2013

  • Mike G.

    We might like to take the two spots, but need to know whether you are staying until Monday...we need to come back Sunday.

    May 17, 2013

    • Paul H.

      Autocorrect sucks sometimes.

      May 18, 2013

    • Mike G.

      Yeah, Paul, it almost always autocorrects incorrectly! We are in!

      May 18, 2013

  • Kristi L.

    Hey Paul,
    I just realized I can't make this trip after all. I'll change my rsvp to free up a space.

    May 17, 2013

  • Paul H.

    Things are looking good up there now.
    http://www.fsvisimages.com/fstemplate.aspx?site=doso1

    Hopefully we don't have any crazy weather.

    1 · May 13, 2013

    • Paul H.

      Other than the fact that it is only 37 degrees there right now.

      1 · May 13, 2013

    • Phil

      lord have mercy on us! Please warm up already!!;-)

      May 13, 2013

  • Ken M.

    Off to Honduras to go diving. Have a great trip.

    May 10, 2013

  • James S.

    Work

    April 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Do I understand that we will head home Sunday and not Monday, Memorial Day?

    April 7, 2013

    • Paul H.

      I did not realize it was a holiday weekend when I set this up. I have not changed the dates. Either we could head home Sunday and people could do things with family, or we could decide to do another day of hiking. I will put that up for a vote.

      April 8, 2013

  • Yung-Han C.

    broke my collarbone yesterday
    giving spot to someone else

    April 6, 2013

    • Paul H.

      Ouch, I know that doesn't feel good. All the best for a quick recovery.

      April 6, 2013

  • Paul H.

    Dog is fine, as long as it doesn't chew my leg off or something. There may be some deep creek crossings, just be prepared to keep your pup safe. All depends on the weather.

    March 16, 2013

  • Sarah H.

    Haven't been out with this group in a looonng time. I'd love to come, and bring my dog too if that's acceptable!

    March 16, 2013

  • Paul H.

    Craig,
    I would like to do another trip here in the fall, it is a beautiful place in the fall.

    2 · March 16, 2013

  • craig s.

    Sorry guys .I'll be in NH visiting my daughter for her birthday . I really hope there will another later in the year

    March 16, 2013

  • Paul H.

    Just posted some weather information. Weather can get BAD fast here, BE PREPARED. Or it could be a beautiful weekend

    March 16, 2013

  • Phil

    Paul, Touche'....I'm in!!

    2 · March 16, 2013

5 went

  • Paul H.
    Gunny, Backpacking Coach, Co-Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Phil
    Drag'n, Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Mike G.
    Buff, Co-Organizer
  • Paula G.
    Pyro, Backpacking Coach, Co-Organizer

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