Fri, Mar 11 2005 - Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing Wknd (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Jesse Allen, Jeff Schneider, Laura Paszkiewicz, Shelley Sanner, Sean Riggs, David Hurwitz, Cheyenne Richmond, Holly DeHart, colleen wade, Christine Larsen|
After a few last minute cancellations and a number of people
coming to the ski weekend directly from elsewhere, we had a
very small gathering at the car pool location. Cheyenne,
myself (Jesse), Chris, and Colleen split into two cars and
headed out to West Virginia after quick introductions. The
drive was uneventful up well into the state, though we did
notice only a little snow on the ground even as close as
Petersburg and wondered how well our weekend was going
to go with so little snow. Sharp eyed Cheyenne kept spotting
wildlife in the woods well off the road, an eagle eye that
would come up many times during the weekend.
The light snow cover changed rapidly with falling snow and a
heavy cover on the road as we got close to Harman, and in
particular the snow cover on the road became quite heavy as
we came across Alleghany Mountain where a little skidding
excitement on my part led to putting the truck into 4 wheel
drive the rest of the way. Fortunately I was alone in having a
slide up the hill and everyone else made it without incident.
We arrived around 11 PM to find almost everyone else was
already in, and some of the more exhausted had already
turned in for the night.
Our lodging was quite nice. Mountain Retreat Lodge
is a former
medical clinic transformed into the lodge and an apartment.
The place came with five different bedrooms with twin and
bunk beds (and a crib!) as well as a large loft space with yet
more beds, ping pong table, and lots and lots of lady bugs.
And perhaps a beknighted ghost based on experiences we
were to have, not the least of which was a great deal of
gurgling water in the heating registers.
After bringing our food in from the truck, a little chatter, and a
swig of an interesting Maryland chardonnay that Chris shared
with us, we called it a night and turned in to the joyful noise of
gurgling water pipes and turning off the lights to let the lady
bugs go to sleep.
In the middle of the night, the sink ran on its own and the
lights in one bedroom spotaneously turned on. Was it the
lady bug monster?
We woke in the morning to a beautiful scene of deep fresh
snow everywhere and icicles hanging from the eaves. The
kitchen included a wonderful large electric skillet perfect for
making pancakes for all of us, so we got in a good stuffing our
faces before making sandwiches for lunch and packing up
into our collective 4 wheel drive vehicles and heading up into
Canaan Valley, visiting our good friends at Highland Scene Tours
to get skis and snowshoes for the weekend, then heading up
towards Crying Rock in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area. But
first I demonstrated that four wheel drive does not mean you
can drive through EVERYTHING. A bit of pushing and
shoving from the group got the truck unstuck
The forest access road up to South Prong Trail is not
ploughed at all in winter, so this is where our four wheel drive
caravan came into play. We made it well up the hill before
pulling off to the side of the access road and parking, donning
skis or snowshoes, and climbing up the rest of the way up the
hill to the start of the South Prong trail. With the very heavy
snow cover (There was at least six to eight inches of light
snow over a hard base.), climbing the mile or two up the road
was harder going than I had planned for, so we were all quite
ready to be done when we got to the top to start the trail into
South Prong Trail has a series of bog bridges over wet
patches, but we found a number of places where another
bridge or two might have been nice as despite our best
efforts, skis would get wet and then snow would clump up on
the skis, often quite badly. The temperature was quite
pleasantly warm, w
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