Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Walk in West By God Virginia :: Dolly Sods

Dolly Sods

After buying topographic maps for the Dolly Sods region at the visitor's center near Seneca Rocks, we returned to hike the sods. Up front, you have to know that Dolly Sods has nothing to do with Dolly Parton. The name relates to the Dahles family, local homesteaders.  The acidic soil, elevation and scrub flora creates a micro eco-system that suits blueberry and cranberry bushes that carpet the plains. So we hunkered down and stuffed ourselves with blueberries. At first they were difficult to see, but as we nosed past the myopia frontier, we filled handfulls of flavorful berries.

Dolly Sods Wilderness.  ©

Light green or grey slabs of reindeer moss grow beneath the blueberries on either side of the path.1 Though posters warning about rattlers and copperheads adorn every bulletin board in the Sods, the only snake I saw was a tender green garden snake startled by the screech I involuntarily emitted.

As we passed through Petersburg on the way home, a parade brought traffic to a standstill for two hours. The Tri-County Fair was opening that evening and the whole town was out to cheer a procession of big-rig trucks, vintage cars and floats advertising local businesses and churches. Blending in with the crowd and watching the passing scene was the only sensible option. Kids scrambled for penny candy tossed by drivers in the parade. Young cowboys pranced up and down Virginia Ave. threading their horses through the motor vehicles.

The highlight was a horse-drawn 19th century funeral casson which we had noticed at Shaffer Funeral Home in Romney, WV earlier in the day.  My travel companion helped lift the axel so Mr. Shaffer could grease it.

As we watched the festivities, a man next to us propped against the stone wall -- our impromtu viewing stand -- urged his daughter to fill her sack with candy and leaned over to ask, "So, did you folks come down from the city just to see this parade?"  Heck, we thought we looked like locals.

Resource: The North Fork Mountain Inn offers silence, gracious mountaintop lodging and sweeping views of the surrounding forests.

See: High Beam for the full article.  The author receives no revenue.

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