Fri, Sep 23 2005 - Camping/Hiking/Caving in WV (View Original Event Details)|
Laura Paszkiewicz, Sarah Davis
|Participants:||Ronit Fix, Majeed Khan, Sarah Davis, Laura Paszkiewicz, Shelley Sanner, Colin Babb, Aimee Morris, Kevin McCarthy, KC Yi, Jesus Villeda|
After a long, dark, windy, hilly, bumpy drive to the Mountain Instute Spruce
Knob Mountain Center, the carpool finally met up with the rest of the group
already at camp. We were directed to where we'd be camping and were
instructed to find ourselves a cozy "pod" to put up our tent (little spots
where the tall grass had been cut out). After getting all our tents set up
and our gear away, we all went straight to bed so we could get rest before
the many activities planned for the morning.
The morning started off with an attempt at a warm breakfast over a fire.
Unfortunately, the plan didn't work to well because of a metal fire ring
that stood about 1.5 feet above the fire (there was a miscommunication about which fire ring to use- next time, we'll be more prepared!). So, we decided to head to the
main yurt where there was a kitchen to cook our breakfast. After a
leisurely breakfast of eggs, sausage, and "campfire mountain bread" (a tasty
experiment of Sarah's), we grouped together to make a plan for the day. Our
guide, Kim, wanted to guage our level and willingness for adventure before
picking a cave for us. We decided one of the less travelled caves with some
crawling and big open caverns. After a cozy 15 minute drvie, we were all
geared up and ready to go spelunking. The adventures inside the cave were
exciting...including crawling through cold, wet mud, avoiding sleeping bats,
and exploring the cave for the way we were supposed to go. Unfortunately,
Kim hadn't been in the cave in several months and didn't really remember the
way to the other exit...so after some exploration, we decided to go out the
way we came in. After we got back to camp, we had a relaxing lunch and
tried to decide what to tackle next....hike spruce knob, or explore an
alternate cave. We (finally) decided a group of us that hadn't gotten our
fill of caving would head for a quick tour of the other cave and then come
back for the hike afterwards.
The other cave proved to be a lot more adventurous...it was much drier, but
the passageways were a lot smaller and *covered* with spiders....Once we got
past the challenges, the rooms opened up with really interesting
We finally returned from the second cave and gathered those that still had
energy for the hike up to Spruce Knob, the highest peak in WV. We got there
just as the sun was setting, but couldn't really see much because of the
thick fog surrounding the peak. It was still really cool at the top and we
even got some information from Kim on useful remedies from the local
The shuttle back down the mountain to camp proved to be the most adventurous
part of the trip! The fog was so thick and the road so curvy, I for one was
thankful that Colin got to be shotgun and not me!
Once back at camp, exhausted and dirty, the campers that stayed behind had a
nice meal of lasagna waiting for us back at the yurt. The rest of the
evening was spent showering and relaxing back at the roaring campfire.
The following morning, with nothing on the schedule but a trip home, we all
got to sleep in a little longer (with the exception of one person who was
awoken by the wild animal lingering outside her tent for a couple of hours).
We again had a nice leisurely breakfast in the kitchen before cleaning up
and heading out. It was sad to leave the mountainside camp, but most of us
were sure we'd come back at some point.
Some things learned on our trip:
* Bats can make a sound like a cat's hiss (or was there really a mountain
lion in the cave with us?)
* The resident pigs that eat the Mountain Institute's compost, really enjoy
bacon fat (ewwwwww...).
* None of the buildings on the Mountain Institute's property can be square.
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