Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Well, not really, there's been a few changes even since the last time I was here, but here we are, sitting on the back porch at Elk River Touring Center, the old grassy field to my left and the forest (Gauley Mountain) rising like a wall in front of me...
Today we went hiking, which was something I never did down here. We went out to the Cranberry Wilderness Area, which is sort of behind, ie southwest of, most of the local biking I know. The wilderness area encompasses a whole bunch of the local tundra-style valleys and peat bogs, high-altitude wetlands that, because of the colder mountain climate, retained arctic flora that came south and established itself with the ice ages, but retreated with the retreating ice everywhere else. Lots of sphagnum, rhododendron (OK, not that exotic), oswego, strange little orchids and cranberries and herbs... I have pictures, stay tuned...
The bogs are protected, so needless to say there's no biking in the Wilderness Area -- until now I've only spied the place from afar, scenic overlooks and the like. Our hike, which was about 5 miles long, took us along some upper meadows, an old abandoned road, and finally out into the bogs on a wooden walkway -- this time I finally saw it all, up close and personal.
Today was hiking, yesterday was the bike ride. We rode up Gauley Mountain on Old Mine Road, through intermittent rain and bright sunshine (sky and weather was very dramatic all day), and then did a short loop on Tea Creek and Gauley Mountain Trails before continuing on the Forest Service roads, out to the Prop's Run trailhead. Eight miles of wet downhill singletrack later, and we were back at Elk River. Shower, some drinks at the bar, and and an awesome dinner -- it's scary how good the food is here -- and we were in bed by 9:30.
We were dawdling this morning, got up late etc and our hike was nothing like yesterday's epic, but I think the mountain air is going to make tonight work out the same as last night. I can't believe tomorrow we have to head home.
Posted by Don at 8/30/2009 06:17:00 PM