Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monongahela National Forest Hiking

Monongahela National Forest Hiking: (referred locally as, the Mon, ) is a eastern hardwoods forest with red spruce at higher elevations. This national forest is within a one-day drive of at least a third of the population of the United States and contains some of the wildest remaining forestlands in the entire eastern United States. It occupies some of the highest elevations in West Virginia and the headwaters of five major river systems, (Monongahelia, Potomac, Greenbrier, Elk, Gauley) lie within the Forest boundaries. The Mon has 1420 square miles (909,000 acres) of public land.

This blog will focus on one area, specifically one trail, within the Mon, the Plantation Trail. The reason I am discussing this trail first is that it is right up the road from my house. The Plantation Trail is within the Canaan Mountain Area (Tucker County) of the Mon and is 8.4 miles long. With connecting trails, it can stretch to a hike of 21.4miles. In West Virginia Hiking Trails, Allen de Hart, this trail is listed as moderate difficulty. What is really nice about this trail, is that you can do small loops or big loops with connecting trails within the Mon off of Canaan Loop Road.

The Plantation Trail is a major hiking and biking trail in the Canaan Mountain Area that starts 2.2 miles south of the town of Davis off of Rt. 32. The trail runs along the top of the Canaan Mountain Plateau for the most part. Some areas of the trail have poor drainage and with this area receiving an annual average rainfall of 50 inches can get rather boggy at times. Around late May into June the rhododendrons and mountain laurel are in bloom and very pretty.

The Plantation Trail is named for a 2,462 acre plantation of red spruce in Canaan Mountain Spruce Plantation. It is the result of work accomplished by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's to reforest this area. This trail also passes thru areas with eastern hardwoods such as yellow birch, mountain ash, and red maple. This trail is very beautiful during the fall. The west end of the Plantation trail will connect you with the Tablerock Overlook Trail. This trail will give you magnificent views of the Red Creek Valley and Shavers Mountain.

One of the real nice things about The Plantation Trail is that once you get back to your vehicle you can go down the road 2 to 3 miles and stop in the little mountain town of Davis. There are some very fine little eateries here. Downtown Davis includes Muttley's steakhouse, Sirianni's Cafe, a rustic pizza joint, and a new one called Hellbenders that serves incredible burritos. Just two miles over is the town of Thomas that has a micro brewery called Mountain State where you can get a cold ale or a creamy smooth oatmeal stout.

So check out the Plantation Trail. It may lead you to some pretty wild other trail or down to Davis for a bite to eat or something to drink.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Mountain State

The Mountain State: This nickname refers to the rugged terrain of the scenic Allegheny Mountains that cross the state. Locals often claim that if the many mountains and hills of West Virginia were somehow flattened out, the state would be larger than the state of Texas. May be true. Topography experts have concluded that if West Virginia were made flat it would assume, almost exactly, the shape of the "tongue and lips" logo used by legendary rock 'n' roll band the Rolling Stones.

With the highest mean altitude east of the Mississippi River, the "Mountain State" is also the state with the largest single natural scenic and outdoor recreational area in the eastern United States; the Allegheny Highlands. Eighty percent of the state is forested with over 110,000 square miles of hardwood forest, wind swept mountains and beautiful mountain views.

The state motto is "Montani Semper Liberi"- Mountaineers Always Free!

Tucked away among the hills and valleys of West Virginia are uncrowded trails, cascading streams, and much more. From state parks to national parks and national forests, West Virginia has plenty of outdoor activities for everyone. There are a wealth of outdoor recreation sites, from the 1,000 foot high Seneca Rocks and Spruce Knob, the state's highest point, at 4,862 feet of elevation, to the stunning beauty of Dolly Sods Wilderness Area to the 917,369 acres of the magnificent Monongahela National Forest.

This blog will go deep into " The Mountain State" and look at and discuss some of the most wonderful hiking and biking trails this country has to offer.