We took the Fischer Spring Run Trail down to Red Creek. The stream crossing was easy wading and surprisingly warm. Many thanks to all the advance info from Vdeal, Countryroads, Crackedup, HappyCamper, USMCStang, and others. We trekked up Red Creek in time to meet JD at the Right Fork crossing on the Blackbird Knob Trail. Flexibility was an asset on this trip, and this was made possible by the good nature and considerable experience of all the participants. We elected to do our planned northern loop in reverse so we’d have better weather on the Rocky Ridge Trail on Friday, and this worked out well. Thursday we met some hikers who suggested that we use the full length of Raven Ridge instead connecting to the upper end of it via Dobbin Grade and Beaver View trails. That saved us some mud-slogging. Crossing Red Creek at the Beaver Dam on the Upper Red Creek Trail was interesting. Bonaparte swam, and I almost did, but Knotty pulled me out. We missed the campsite off Raven Ridge Trail that I thought I’d seen several years ago, so we had to spread out and find a sheltered spot near the junction with the Rocky Ridge Trail. This is where the positive attitude of the group really paid off. I would hike with these people anytime. Group decision-making was worthy of HammockForums, and nobody complained about the less-than-wonderful water source. Even Bonaparte didn’t grumble. Friday on Rocky Ridge Trail and Harman Trail was great. ‘Nuff said. The planned campsite for Saturday night – the Forks area we had passed through on Wednesday – was skipped, as we decided to stay two nights at the Left Fork campsite, because the Forks was crowded on Wednesday, and we expected it to be very crowded on Saturday. As it turned out, it wasn’t, but we still liked the ability to camp in one place for two nights and do day hikes on Saturday. That seems a good plan for future Dolly Sods hangs, because the area lends itself to loops starting near Blackbird Knob. Although our numbers had swelled to 15, we split up for Saturday’s activities and thus never had a group of more than ten people on a trail at once. The Left Fork campsite is really a string of campsites that allowed us to spread out, so it could be argued that we were in compliance with the Wilderness Area restriction to groups of ten or fewer the entire time. This wasn’t something that we talked about doing, but it’s nice that it worked out that way. Sunday we hiked out on the Blackbird Knob Trail, again in several separate groups. To give you an idea of how gracious and congenial this group was, they all thought Bonaparte’s loud snoring was charming and restful to listen to (while it kept them awake).
I have been re-experiencing this fine trip in the beautiful photos and videos that have been posted. Thanks to all. HappyCamper, we look forward to seeing you on the next one. You were missed.
David, what a terrific report. the feelings are mutual. camping the last two nights at Left Fork was relaxing, agreed on following the plan again. i can't say enough good things about this trip. positive and self-reliant individuals. memories of a lifetime. thank you to everyone for your wonderful photos and videos. here is my link for a ridiculous amount of pictures: http://s489.photobucket.com/albums/r...-%2018%202011/
who learns will love and not destroy
the creature's life, the flower's joy