A couple of months ago a group of us from Takoma Park planned a weekend of cross-country skiing in West Virginia.
Little did we know this was going to be the snowless winter, or Snow No as we got to calling it.
Our destination: Davis, West Virginia, and the ski touring center White Grass, which is situated just outside Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.
My friend Ted had been speaking rapturously about the area and the ski center in particular. So we were all disappointed to learn the trails were closed due to a lack of snow.
But we had a great time anyway with some hikes: to Blackwater Falls and the surrounding canyon where trees were slightly dusted with snow and ice; up to Bear Rocks in a mini blizzard; bushwhacking along a stream near impressive Seneca Rocks; up one of the White Grass trails to a beautiful overlook; and walking on a new trail along Blackwater River.
Wikipedia does a fine job of describing the unique terrain of Dolly Sods. It’s in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, and part of the Monongahela National Forest. “Dolly Sods is a rocky, high-altitude plateau with sweeping vistas and lifeforms normally found much farther north in Canada. The distinctive landscape of “the Sods” is characterized by stunted (“flagged”) trees, wind-carved boulders, heath barrens, grassy meadows created in the last century by logging and fires, and sphagnum bogs that are much older. The name derives from an 18th century German homesteading family — the Dahles — and a local term for an open mountaintop meadow — a “sods”.”
We did get to White Grass one night for dinner, when they transform the rustic lodge into a restaurant with live acoustic music. The owner brought over a jug of moonshine and we all got a taste. Boy did that burn the mouth! I have to learn how to down a shot correctly rather than just take a sip.