April 12, 2024

Dolly Sods (Backpacking Trip)

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Saturday, 08/31/2019 - Monday, 09/02/2019

8:00 am - 6:00 pm

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Dolly Sods - Blackbird Knob Trailhead

This one of my two favorite areas to backpack within a reasonable driving distance of Richmond, the other being Grayson Highlands.  We will be hiking mainly in the Dolly Sods North area, but we will also be hiking in the Dolly Sods Wilderness area and Dolly Sods Scenic Area.  Many of the trails we will be hiking follow old railroad grades and logging roads. Signs of bygone days can be see if you look closely. During WWII, Dolly Sods was used as a practice bombing range by the Army.

Day 1: Leave carpool site (TBD) at 8:00am, drive to West Virginia stopping for lunch on the way. It is about a 4-4.5 hour drive to the trailhead. Hiking distance:  4-5 miles.

Day 2: After breaking camp, we will hike approximately 8-9 miles to our camp in the Dolly Sods North area. We will be hiking through forested areas in the morning and through open rocky plains on the Western side of Dolly Sods with panoramic views in the afternoon. Make sure to bring a hat and sunscreen.

Day 3: After breaking camp, we will hike approximately 4-5 miles through the center of Dolly Sods North back to our cars. We will be stopping for a late lunch/early dinner on the way back to Richmond. Depending on the weather, the hiking route may be changed at the last minute for safety reasons. There will be stream crossings which can be from rock hopping and staying completely dry to the streams being knee deep. Be prepared for rain. I have never been there where I wasn’t rained on at some point during the trip.

What to bring:  Favorite stuffed animal, Sturdy, broken-in hiking shoes, rain gear, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, basic first- aid supplies, extra socks, and at least 2 liters of water. You will need your standard backpacking gear and equipment for an overnight trip. Everything including food, water, & gear is on your own.  When selecting items to bring on the trip remember to take into consideration your personal comfort factor (ie – do you sleep cold or warm), the season, the weather forecast, the distance of the trip (miles), your physical condition, the length of the trip (days) and where you are going. In packing your pack put all of your items in zip lock bags/plastic bags. This will keep the items organized, clean and dry. Also, line the main compartment of your backpack with a large trash bag.

What to wear: Please do your best not bring anything cotton. When cotton gets wet it has no insulation factor, in fact, it draws heat away from the body. Wool and synthetics clothing will retain some body heat even if wet. Also, most synthetic clothing will dry quickly, which is a major benefit.  If possible, please dress in layers: Outer layer – wind/rain jacket and pants. Insulation layer – fleece/pile/wool/down jacket and pants – BDU or other non 100% cotton pants. Wicking Layer – Lightweight/Medium-weight
polypropylene/capilene long underwear. Hiking Boots or comfortable walking shoes. Synthetic or smart wool/merino wool socks. Hat and gloves.  If you do not have all of the gear, please let me know. I do have some extra gear that I will lend out. Some gear such as stoves, tents and water purification systems can easily be shared by several members.

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