Windy Night at White Rocks, WV

We got a late start arriving at the trail-head around 3:00PM. Knowing we only had a few hours of daylight the plan was to set up at the first campsite which according to the Hikingupwards.com is 2 miles in. We parked at the second lot; which contrary to the directions was an open gate. The trail-head for the Old Mail Path is a short walk up the forest services road. After a quick sprint back to the car for forgotten items we were ready to go.

It was a pleasant fall hike with crisp air and the rustling of fresh leaves. I was reminded why Fall is one of my favorite seasons for camping. Our French Brittany Ginny enjoyed the room to stretch her legs. She even led the charge up a steep rocky scramble to the below pictured overlook back in to Virginia.

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We arrived at the campsite just as the sun began to set. Someone had built a wilderness shelter at the site and had apparently not thought it necessary to dismantle their structure. The pile of dried leaves and branches were a forest fire in waiting so we decided to move the fire ring a few paces. While my wife set up camp I starting gathering firewood and prepared dinner. The area was filled with windfalls and dead branches; this should have been my first warning. I splurged on weight and brought my new Wetterlings 16H Hunting Axe along; which I will fully review once it gets more use.

Dinner featured a Mulligatawny that I had thrown together in a freezer bag at home.

Dinner simmered on the fire for about 20 minutes to rehydrate all of the ingredients. It was delicious and warming. By this point a windstorm was starting to roll in and Ginny made it clear she was ready for bed by pawing at the vestibule’s zipper. After cleaning up dinner we called it a night; that is when things started to get interesting. The wind continued to pick up and it became evident where all of the aforementioned firewood came from. For the next few hours I lay awake as each wind gust brought with it the cracking of branches and limbs. The occasional twig would fall on the tent and whooshing sound as it slid down the sil-nylon.

I had forgotten to check over head when my wife set up the tent. I wasn’t sure if she would have thought to do it, but either way it was too late now to really check. Lesson learned! Always check over head when setting up your tent.

At about 4:00AM a sizable tree came crashing down a couple hundred feet away; which brought the guard pup to her feet barking away. The wind finally died down about an hour later. My wife claims she slept fine; obviously I did not.

The next morning we restarted the fire and made some Starbucks instant coffee, packed up, and headed out. On the way out of camp I dipped up some clear stream water and dosed it with Aqua Mira. It actually ended up tasting far better than the municipal water we carried in.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. We took the overlook trail out to the cliff where the above picture was taken and inspected the campsite that is located nearby; quickly deciding that another trip needs to be made and that this campsite would be perfect. In the Fall or Winter you would wake up here with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and valley.

We finished the loop out and looked back on another successful weekend trip.

Have you hiked this area? or maybe have a suggestion of another area we should explore?