A delicious breakfast again. Well fed we head out and stop at the ranger station again.
After two strong hikes we look for something different, may be gently rolling along? We head to Spruce Knob which, as you can see on the sign, is the highest point in West Virginia.
The view was worth the about one hour drive. Don't know how to capture it so here is a VIDEO!
Then we walk the Whispering Spruce Trail which was sometimes written up as 0.6 miles or half-a-mile. Whatever, it was very nice and peaceful. The pictures really can't show everything like the smell of the forest floor.
Aahh, feeling close to heaven. So beautiful! Always liked heights. Trying to capture it in a VIDEO.
Continue the trail.
Well, this really wasn't much if a hike so what to do now?
Back at the car we meet the "chainsaw" mentioned in the video. It was actually a very nice park employe with a weedeater. We asked him a little about the roads and trails in the area.
We decide to drive to the Allegheny Mountain Trailhead. In the ranger flyer it says that the trail (TR 532) follows the ridge through hardwood forests and several small clearings. Length: 12.8 miles ... but we decide to walk as long as we want to and then go back.
On the road there we have to drive quite slow because there are a lot of potholes and then this family. The last chick took its time and mommy waited.
The trail was lovely. It went very gently uphill which made me very hopeful that the return (when I was tired) would be easier. It might as well have been one of the old logging roads at one time.
It was a bit muddy in places since we had those thunderstorms with heavy rains the afternoon and night before.
And plenty of "cute" things to see. This is my last mushroom photo though.
Did you think it was this tiny in the above picture?
After about 2.5 miles (wild guess) we came to a branching trail: North Prong Trail (TR 528). The description: ... follows the North Prong of Big Run connecting Allegheny Mt Trail to Big Run Trail. Open meadows and beaver ponds are found along the way. Length: 2.8 miles
Big Run Trail (TR 527) ... follows on what's left of a turn-of-the-century logging railroad grade. The trail climbs gradually up Allegheny Mt and ends at the parking lot for that trailhead. Since we meet that trail in the middle we think it might be a mile and a half. It sounds great and not to difficult. What did we know?
The first part went very gently up and then downhill and was so nice. We could see that a horse had gone this way and actually followed it a long time.
Then the scenery changed. We could not see beaver ponds but there was this huge meadow and we could hear the water gurgle. VIDEO!
We went along the edge of this for quite a while. Waist-high grasses made it sometimes difficult to see where it was very wet but for a while we still could see that the horse had gone here.
Then the scenery changed again. Forest and a lively stream.
If the grasses were a challenge, it got difficult now. The trail stopped at the stream and we could see it continue at the other side. Easy for the horse! We studied the landscape and decided to find our own way between the trees because the trail was coming back to our side.
We were right, successful and high-fived!
But that didn't last long. Soon we came again to another stream crossing. We decided that this was going to be the way and just walked through it. Again and again and again. Probably a dozen times.
Finally we came to the end of TR 528 and connected with TR 527. We were sure that the old railroad bed would be comfortably wide and railroads usually don't climb very steeply. We can only wonder what that railroad might have been. Lots of times we had to walk through swampy waist-high grasses/reeds or steep very narrow ways along the forest edge. Once I sank so deep with my foot into the mud that I was afraid for a moment I could get it or my shoe out again.
The strange thing is ... I totally enjoyed it. I even didn't mind when I fell flat on my face once because of a hidden root in the mud. I wasn't worried about creatures or ticks or chiggers or poison ivy ... and nothing bad happened. A few slight scratches from the blackberry patches we had to go through. The last part was very very hard for me though. Steep up and the 4,000 ft altitude are always getting to me. James was so patient and supportive!!!
When we questioned whether we were still on the right way we usually Soon saw a blue trail marker. That was comforting. There had been no explanation about the blue signs but we hoped we were right what they meant.
Of course our phones had no service but my pedometer gave me this picture which showed clearly that we were getting back to where we had started.
The last bit was the most difficult but then suddenly I saw something red, our car! Yeah!!!
It took a while to drive down the mountain but at the bottom was a country-style restaurant which surely wouldn't mind that we were slightly muddy.
We didn't have lunch so this was early supper. James had liver and onions. Doesn't get that often.
I had a slightly breaded mountain trout.
All was simple but very delicious. We went back to the B+B, packed the muddy things in a plastic bag for treatment at home and had showers. We had a beer each on the back porch. I managed to get one Chrismon crown done which I gave to Geri. She know what it was and said her church decorated the tree with Chrismons too. I think she was happy about it. Geri and Ed were very busy because they had a very full house.
Too tired to do anything else. No stitching. I am afraid that I need to finish that project at home. I think the main reason why I couldn't work on anything was because I was so happy. Three hikes and every day a little harder (not necessary planned that way but it happened). I am so happy that I could do it and enjoyed it. It might be nothing for some but a big accomplishment for me.