Sunday, January 18, 2009

WV high point hiking

A friend set up a car camping event that I and a few people I knew decided to go on. The goal was to drive up as close to the peak as possible then hike the rest. Given the wintery conditions the hike could have been anywhere from 14 miles down to 1 mile. Although there is a road that does go right to the summit, we were expecting the roads to be in bad shape due to all the snow. We did have two AWD vehicles just in case the roads were that bad. In the end, although there were some drifts across the road, the road was actually passable all the way to the summit. So our difficult hike turned into a quick stroll to the summit. That was about the only easy part of the whole trip.

We arrived to the campsite late Friday night and had to scrap back snow to set up the tents. Once set up we were still a little hyped up from the drive and snow removal that we stood around for a while talking and freezing out butts off. The temperature was already reading well below 0 F. Deciding it was late enough, we all went to bed around 1:00 am. The following morning was a late morning and due to the cold temperatures, we had 2 people decide to leave the next morning. The remaining 6 decided to stick it out. We drove up to Spruce Know and 'bagged' our high point. The temperature had been quite cold in the morning but climbed steadily all day long to a high of about the freezing point. We then did another hike in the area and I had a chance to finally play with my new snowshoes. Yeah! Not quite enough snow but it was still fun. We got back to camp while it was still light, meaning 4:00 and got a fire going and split some of the wood we had. Saturday night was much warmer then Friday night and most people slept warmly that night. Hot water bottles in each sleeping bag also helped. Sunday dawned clear and bright. We left camp to go on a secret hike which turned into a caving exploration, totally awesome. We will have to go back better prepared. Due to the stream running through the cave, we couldn't hike in too far without getting cold and wet. We found out that day that the low for Friday night had been -24 F. I have never camped out at that temperature before, but at least I now know I can do it in a car camping situation. Question is, could I do it while backpacking. We ended up having a 50 F degree temperature difference over the weekend. No wonder Saturday night felt so warm.

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