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  1. #1
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    A couple Dollly Sods Trips

    First trip was March 11 - 13

    I parked at the bottom of Cabin Mountain at the first parking area in the Canann Valley Wildlife Refuge since I was sure what the rest of the road was like. It was a pleasant walk in the sun, but I could have parked a little further up the road.



    I had decided for the first night to head north and camp somewhere along the Dobbin Grade Trail, so when the old road ended, I continued on the Rocky Ridge Trail. Unfortunately, the wind was gusting in the 30 - 40 MPH range and it was about 30 degrees, so cold and uncomfortable. I did not linger on the ridge for long. I passed one woman walking her dog, I assumed she hiked up from the houses below the ridge.

    I got to the Dobbin Grade Trail and turned east. I had never been on this part of the Dobbin Grade Trail, so I was uncertain if I would be as wet/muddy as parts of the trail further east. It was very wet, but mostly frozen, so I managed to keep my feet dry.

    I got to where the trail crosses the Left Fork of Red Creek and found a place to set up and hopefully be out of the wind a bit and still able to see stars.





    It was very windy and I was tired so I did not stay "outside" very long

    Next day, up onto the ridge via the Beaver View Trail, it was very windy with gusts about 40mph. I ended up hiding behind a large tree for lunch and decided that I would head south to a more protected area for the night.



    You can see the ice on the trail, I was glad at times that I had hiking poles to keep from slipping too much. Unfortunately, I could not avoid the water today and my feet ended up pretty wet. Normally I don't mind, but I had a new pair of socks and they did not dry as fast as my usual ones do. I ended up with blister on both feet that were pretty uncomfortable.



    So after lunch, I continued on the Beaver View Trail to the intersection with the Raven Ridge Trail and then followed that south to the Upper Red Trail and on to the "forks" area on Red Creek.

    I aimed for the "forks" area, knowing it would be a little more sheltered, but still allow views of the sky. When I got there, I set up camp and went to look for firewood. Someone must have been really bored, because there was a huge amount of processed wood near one of the fire rings.



    Nice view of the creek


    The stars finally came out, but I had already decided that I was going to hike back to the car vs. extra nights because my feet were really bothering me. That also meant that I had extra bourbon to drink and a campfire to enjoy. All of that means that my star photos did not come out that great



    I followed the Red Creek Trail for a short distance and then followed the Breathed Mountain Trail back towards the old forest road. Parts of the Breathed Mountain Trail pass through wet but pretty meadows. I enjoyed what was a new trail to me, but the blisters made me happy to be heading towards my car.



    Good trip, just not what I planned because of the blisters. No more hiking with those socks


    A little more detail and photos here - https://backpackandbeer.blogspot.com...ds-spring.html
    ********************************

    2nd trip was June 16 - 19 with my 3 kids, my brother in law and his kid

    After the success of last year's joint backpacking trip, Doug and I again met at the Dolly Sods to take the kids out for a couple of nights. Unfortunately, the weather forecast did not look good. I probably would have bailed if it was just me and my kids. Our big hope was that any rain would hold off on the first day until bedtime after that we would just see what happens.



    Two things to note
    #1, my oldest now has a REI kids pack instead of the day pack last year.
    #2, I left my camera at home. Probably better since I did not use it much last year, but my cell phone takes crappy photos and now it has a crack across the lens, so even worse photos.



    So last year we did a loop that basically went through the middle of the Sods. This year I wanted a little bit more of the big open views of the north. So our plan was to take the Blackbird Knob Trail to the Left Fork area for the first night and then loop up the Rocky Ridge Trail and over the Dobbin Grade Trail to a campsite on the Left Fork that I found in March. We were going to stay there for two nights and just dayhike a loop up and around the Northwest corner of the Sods. And then back to the cars on the 4th day. I always forget how hard hiking can be for little legs so we ended up modifying this a little bit.

    Mountain Laurel were everywhere


    Grey skies as we start hiking, but very pretty.


    1st night's camp near the Left Fork of Red Creek. This was were we stayed on night 3 last summer. Kids in the tent and me in my hammock. It did not rain until about midnight and then it poured for a bit.


    But everything blew over by morning.


    Near our camp for night #2 (near where I camped the first night in March), the mosquitos were a bit annoying, but not too bad.


    Next morning it spritzes a little bit on us as we were packing up, Doug put his pack cover on, kids have rain jackets. We decided that the kids would end up miserable if we made them do a 6 mile dayhike in the rain and then 5 mile on the last day with packs, so we packed up and continued east on Dobbin Grade to the Upper Red Creek Trail and then took that south to the Blackbird Knob Trail with the idea of a 2ish mile hike out on the last day.

    The Dobbin Grade Trail is nice in parts ...


    ... and very wet in parts


    This part of Dobbin Grade is nice as it approaches the Upper Red Creek Trail


    Even though no one mentions it online, the Upper Red Trail is just as bad in places as the Dobbin Grade Trail that everyone complains about. My muddy feet after a couple hours on the Dobbin Grade and Upper Red Creek Trail


    My youngest's shoes at the same point, so much mud the velcro on her shoes stopped working. My oldest actually had a shoe sucked off her foot by the mud on the Upper Red Trail.


    We setup for the third night where one of the tributaries of the Red Creek crosses the Blackbird Knob trail. We were happy that it had never rained, but it still looked like a possibility.


    Woke up the next day, time to head for the car, no rain, but the trail is still muddy


    It ended up only raining the first night and then very light sprinkles a couple other times. Mostly perfect weather, I'm glad we ignored the weather forecast.

    Everyone online complains about the Dobbin Grade Trail, but there are others that are just as muddy in places, i.e. the first mile of so of the Blackbird Knob Trail and the Upper Red Creek Trail. Once they got used to the wet/mud, the kids had no problems even though this was basically a 4 day trip with wet muddy feet the whole time. With that said, I think we are ready for a different part of WV for next summer.

    Some more photos/details here - https://backpackandbeer.blogspot.com...ds-take-2.html
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Member NOBOZax's Avatar
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    A common theme in most reports I read on Dolly Sods is wet feet but the place still looks like an amazing location. Crazy the difference socks make too.
    After a tough day that camp site had to be the best you ever found, fire wood and a beer. Sweet star photo also
    On second trip that is amazing that you are getting your little ones out there and I hope they had a blast.
    Thanks for report, Happy Trails

    Sent from my LM-V405 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOBOZax View Post
    A common theme in most reports I read on Dolly Sods is wet feet but the place still looks like an amazing location. Crazy the difference socks make too.
    After a tough day that camp site had to be the best you ever found, fire wood and a beer. Sweet star photo also
    On second trip that is amazing that you are getting your little ones out there and I hope they had a blast.
    Thanks for report, Happy Trails
    The wet feet are totally worth it, just go in knowing what to expect and you won't be surprised.
    Those socks were just a little bit thicker than my usual hiking socks. They squeezed my toes a tiny bit and they held water a lot more, the combination led to my first hiking blisters in years
    So far, I seem to have trained my kids well from a backpacking point of view.

    Glad you enjoyed

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