Original Plan: To have trail family visiting from Georgia over for the weekend. Unfortunately, plans fell through. Trevor had taken off work, so we decided to take advantage of the free time. Funny enough, another member of our trail family Gumby, from our 2017 Appalachian Trail hike, happened to be visiting from Florida to attend a wedding. It was also by chance that the wedding was taking place near Frederick, a city that we’d be passing through on our way to West Virginia’s high point. Hanging out with him before his scheduled rehearsal dinner would be an easy meet.
We didn’t want to keep him too long from his family, and also needed to make good use of the daylight we had left, so after a short visit in Frederick, we said our goodbyes and hit the road for Riverton, WV.
After a long drive, we grabbed dinner at the “Front Porch Restaurant” where we had a nice view of Seneca Rocks and ate amongst climbers, a whole different breed of dirt baggers than the usual hiker trash and rubber tramps that we normally surround ourselves with. After a delicious reuben sandwich, we grabbed some snacks, then drove up the mountain to the trailhead. On our way, we both watched in disbelief as we witnessed an accidental “Bambi suicide” as a deer standing in the road ahead of us panicked and leapt off the steep cliff on the side of the road. Rest in peace little white-tailed, woodland friend.
Once we made it to the parking lot, we assumed that we had driven to the wrong one. Trevor had thought the hike to the summit was about 5 miles one way. Instead, we ended up at a trailhead where we only had to hike less than a quarter of a mile to Spruce Knob. We weren’t sure whether or not to be disappointed that there wasn’t a hike involved, or relieved that it was so easy to bag West Virginia’s peak. If things weren’t simple enough, the trail was a flat gravel path to the observation tower.
We didn’t get the nice hike that we were expecting, however the scenery was still incredible. The short walk to the tower had the faint appeal of the White Mountains just below the alpine zone which we hiked the year prior. We also didn’t have to go far to catch a killer sunset. Peak bagged!
Although we brought all of our camping gear, we were feeling lazy. Instead of worrying about packing away a dewy tent in the morning, we decided to just throw our sleep mats out on the sheltered picnic tables. I would sleep very little. It was incredible how much human traffic was out and about in the parking lot nearby during all hours of the night.
The next morning, we passed several less-suicidal deer as we made our way down the mountain. We didn’t have enough time to venture through the nearby scenic Dolly Sods, but we squeezed in a short hike up to the top of Seneca Rocks. We still had a long drive ahead of us, and still one more peak to bag over the weekend.
Previously Bagged Peaks:
Connecticut – Bear Mountain
Maine – Mount Katahdin
Maryland – Backbone Mountain
Massachusetts – Mount Greylock
New Hampshire – Mount Washington
New Jersey – High Point
Tennessee – Clingmans Dome
Virginia – Mount Rogers