Sierra Club MWROP Backpacking Trip:
Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV
July 25 - 28, 2003, Friday night to Monday afternoon
Central highlands of West Virginia, Monongahela National Forest
Motel for first night:
203 Virginia Avenue
Petersburg, WV 26847
Carpool meeting time & place:
To be determined, depending on how many people go and where they live we may
meet at the Oakton Center in VA and carpool from there or drive separately
$35.00/person double occupancy
$52.00/person single occupancy
Dolly Sods Wilderness is located in the Monongahela National Forest
in the central highlands of West Virginia. This lush, green, cool setting is ideal for
summer backpacking trips. It's also one of the premier backpacking and
backcountry ski destinations in the
northeast. Many of the plants growing here are arctic remnants from the ice age. There is
an excellent article in Backpacker Magazine, Oct 96, titled "Sky Islands". Its
about high alpine mountains or plateaus that were once covered with glaciers. When they
receded, they left tundra like flora behind. Dolly Sods, Spruce Knob, and the
Presidential Range in New Hampshire are the only examples in the East. The article is
mostly about the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona but the result is similar here.
We will cover approximately 25 miles in three days with an
approximate 2500' gain in total elevation. This is a moderate trip suitable for experienced, fit
backpackers, and strong dayhikers only. We will drive to Petersburg, WV on the
first night and stay in a motel. Early the next morning we will drive to Dolly Sods and begin the trip.
Each participant is required to provide their own gear and food. Plan
on carrying food for Saturday lunch to Monday lunch, plus snacks. Assume that fires are not
permitted and that all cooking will be done on backpacking stoves. People who do not have
the necessary equipment can rent the large items (tent, backpack, sleeping bag, stove)
from some of the local backpacking stores. We will carpool to and from WV. I will provide
a list of participants. Trip size is limited to ten people. We will park at Bear
Rocks and start/stop at this location.
Good quality hiking boots are a necessity in Dolly Sods as
we will be hiking in high grass, over cobbles, and other ankle booby traps.
Some Necessary Items
- sturdy, broken in hiking boots
- Teva's (river sandals) or aqua socks for stream
crossings & swimming holes
- tent or bivouac sack
- sleeping bag plus pad
- rain gear
- some extra clothes
- sunscreen, sunglasses, hat with brim
- wool sweater or fleece jacket
- light but warm knit hat
- flashlight, extra bulb and batteries
- toilet paper + trowel
- pocket knife
- biodegradable soap, wash cloth, towel
- water, water filter
- necessary personal first aid items
- bug repellent
If people want to share tents, water filters, first aid
kits, stoves, or meals, you can work
that out for yourselves from the participant list which will be emailed. We
really only need one stove, first aid kit, and water purifier for every two or
three people. I will try to coordinate this somewhat.
Guidebook & Maps
Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide, Allen de Hart &
Bruce Sundquist, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, 6th Edition (I think there
is a later edition available now)
USFS maps are enhanced USGS maps, USFS 7.5' Topographic maps: Blackbird Knob, Hopeville,
Blackwater Falls, Laneville
Or Canaan Valley Adventure Map which combines all four
of the above plus other areas in a single, waterproof, but harder to read map,
can be purchased at the Canaan Valley State Park.
REI sells the Hiking Guide, and their own custom
topographic maps of the region, everyone should have a set of maps. You can copy
smaller topographic maps from the guidebook.
Potomac Ranger District
MNF, Rt. 3, Box 240
Petersburg, WV 26847
If anyone has a health problem that I should know about, please tell
me before you pass out.
Bring more food than you would normally eat. As a backpacker, you
will appreciate the concept of food as fuel. Bring things that are lightweight, tasty, and nutritious
but also easy to prepare, cook, and clean up after. Also bring foods that will not spoil in the
heat. Plan a menu from Saturday lunch to Monday lunch plus snacks.
There is plenty of water here. We will try to hit a swimming
hole at the end of each day if it's warm enough.
Leave No Trace
We will practice "Leave No Trace" backcountry ethics.
This means that we pack out all of our trash and garbage. It also means that we
do not use soap or shampoo to wash in mountain lakes or streams. Just swimming
in the water without using soap works pretty well all by itself for getting clean. Use a folding
basin and/or wash cloth and soap/shampoo a reasonable distance away from lakes or streams to wash more
thoroughly. It's okay to use a tiny amount of biodegradable soap in the
lake or stream just to wash your hands and face.
The cost is $35.00 (double) or $52.00 (single) per participant. This is for a single
nights lodging in the motel the first night. People must pay in advance to register for the
trip. If you haven't paid, your not signed up. You will also need money for gas for
the drivers ($15-20 per rider), the first morning's breakfast, and the last evening's dinner.
Please make the check payable to Sierra Club MWROP and mail
it to me.
6259 Deep River Canyon
Columbia, MD 21045
To Oakton Center (we may or may not meet here for carpooling -
I will contact everyone about this)
From 495 beltway take Rt. 66 West
take second exit Rt. 123 North
left at fifth traffic light into Oakton Center
meet at front of parking lot, in front of McDonald's, near Rt. 123
To Petersburg, WV
From the Oakton Center take Rt. 123 South to Rt. 66
Rt. 66 West for 60 miles
Rt. 81 West or South for 4 miles
Rt. 55 West for 48 miles
Rt. 220 South for 12 miles to Petersburg, WV (220/28/55 run coincident for a while)
The Hermitage is on the main street of Petersburg
125 miles total, 2 hr 47 minutes estimated travel time from Oakton Center in VA