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Monday, July 27, 2009

Dolly Sods

I took a luxurious four-day weekend and went camping at Dolly Sods, in the Monongahela National Forest with Zach and Peter. Dolly Sods is interesting because it's a high plateau with a landscape that feels a bit exotic -- almost tundra-like, with scattered pines surrounded by a sea of low brush and occasional rock fields. The funny thing is that this landscape is so unique because it was totally devastated by human activity in the late 1800s; the area was logged, burned, and overgrazed. This stripped so much of the topsoil that scrub brush is the only thing that can survive on parts of it. Nevertheless, it is pretty.

We stopped at Zachary's parents' place in Keyser on the way to and from Monongahela for provisioning, and some awesome home-grown and home-cooked food. Zach had the foresight to plan the trip for blueberry season (they thrive in the scrubby landscape), so we spent some time tromping through the brush and picking them. We also spent a fair amount of time cooking (including blueberry pancakes!), tending the fire, and reading. (We weren't the only ones out there for the weekend, as we ran into Allison and Nat, who I hadn't talked to for a while, as they were unpacking their car before hiking out to camp in the backcountry.)

Upon arriving on Friday, I found that the rain fly for my tent had fallen out of the bag before I left DC, but we rigged up a tarp to cover the tent. Good thing we did, because we got lots of rain. Most of it was at convenient times, like just as we finished our hike up to Seneca Rocks, or the 10 hours between when we turned in on Saturday night and when we got up the next morning. But when more rain set in on Sunday afternoon while we were trying to dry out our stuff from the night before, we decided to head home instead of staying through Monday as we had planned. Still a great trip, though, and I'd like to head back there in the future.

A few pictures are up on Flickr.

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