Gauley Ridge (or at least that was the plan)
George Washington National Forest
With the NOVA Jeepers
February 5, 2005
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I had been wanting to do this trip for a while. After my "Not the Popular Trails" run, I wanted more
of the same. We had made a big circle around this area and I wanted to know what was there.
I had been looking at maps of this area for months and had also aquired some GPS data for some of these
trails. I had been looking for a date in the near future to try it when I recieved a PM from Almighty Bob
asking if I was hitting the trails soon. This seemed to be a perfect excuse, so I put it together.
I set up the ride on the NOVA board and managed to put together a pretty good group. After the State Line trip, I was
a little nervous about who I was wheeling with, but I had no issues with this group. I had wheeled with every one
here before, with the exception of PFunk who didn't worry me as I know his reputation as a good guy. So, a big thank you
to Greg Ray, Almighty Bob, PFunk, Shannon, and Tim for showing up. Good people make all the difference.
The plan was to start off by running Second Mountain up to FR72 as a more scenic trip than if we had done it by pavement.
Then we would run up Gauley Ridge to explore some of the trails up there. I was hoping to take the group up Bible Run and
come back down Vepco trail. Then we would cut back over to Gauley Ridge where we could go up Gate Run and come back down
via the other end of Gauley Ridge.
Things did not go as planned, however. There were some rumors that the Second Mountain gate had been locked, and these
were confirmed when we got there. So, we had to follow Rt. 612 up to FR 72 (also called Long Run Rd.). Once we got to
Gauley Ridge we found that it was also gated.
We ended up returning to FR 72 and follwing it further into the forest. We came across the Feedstone Mountain trail and were
able to follow it until it intersected Miller Springs trail, and then the Dry River trail. This would have been awesome had it not been for the locked gate.
I can understand the point of locked gates. What I can't understand, however, is why this gate was here. It was on a trail deep
in the forest and would seem to make more sense if it was at the beginning of the trail or at the intersection where we
turned onto this trail.
After backtracking to where we were, we followed Fr 72 to Hall Springs (aka Shenendoah Mountain Trail) to Rt. 818 (aka Little
Dry River road). We checked out the Fulk Mountain trail where we found it was gated after only a short run. Finally, we ended
up on the Tom's Park trails which also turned out to be gated.
It was still a nice day to be out. The weather was warm for this time of year and the scenery was beautuful. It was dissapointing
to see as many closed gates as we did, but then if they were open they would most likely be as trashed as some of the more
popular places. These were also dead easy trails, but then I think the thrill of this run was being somewhere not as
well traveled and not as much about the challenge of the trails.
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