Thursday, September 17, 2015

Road trip to Seneca Rocks and Dolly Sods, West Virginia

Hunter and Mike took a 3-day road trip to West Virginia in August.

First stop was in nearby Middleburg, Va to visit Mt. Defiance Distillery. We tasted their ciders and their absinthe and ended up getting a bottle of the absinthe.

After that, we went to the county fair in Berryville, mostly to see the rabbits. Hunter has a pet rabbit, so the incredible variety of rabbits on display was definitely of interest.

Next stop, and the main event, was the Via Ferrata at the Nelson Rocks Outdoor Center. Neither of us had ever done a Via Ferrata and this is the only one in the area.  A Via Ferrata is a rock climbing route where there are pre-laid cables that you clip into while you are climbing. There are also steel rungs on the hard parts so you can still climb even if you aren't a particularly good climber. All of the vertigo, none of the danger.

Nelson Rocks is part of the same geological structure as Seneca Rocks, but it is on privately owned land so it is not a popular climbing destination, even though there are several 3-pitch trad routes on the rocks.

At the top of the ridge

Waiting for Dad on the far side of the bridge

Crossing the bridge that leads between the two rock fins

Looking down on the bridge from the top of the highest fin

One of the easy parts of the route.
Next stop: Dolly Sods

The original plan was to do a 3-day, 2-night backpacking trip, looping around Dolly Sods. We started hiking mid-afternoon but, about half a mile in, Hunter sprained his ankle. Actually, it was fortunate that he sprained it so soon, before we got deep into the woods. We hiked back out, and found a campsite along the side of the road.

The next day, his ankle was well enough to do a nice long day hike. We hiked through forests, bogs, meadows and windswept ridges. Dolly Sods is famous for its abundance of small ecosystems. 

Hunter on a short boardwalk that protects the meadow

Mike in one of the scrub brush areas

Lots of odd rock formations along the ridge that looks down into Canaan Valley

After the day hike, we went to Harrisonburg for dinner and beer and to just shop around before heading home.

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