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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Coopers Rock

I got out to Coopers Rock State Forest last Friday. Beautiful weather, great day to spend in the woods on the last day of Summer.
I started on the north side of I-68.  The first 1.9 miles is kind of boring, out under the trees.

I finally hit single track trail about mile 2.   There is also the defunct trail bridge here.

This trail, on the north side of I-68, is the WVU Research Forest:


I ran down Ken's Run Trail, which I can pick up the Hemlock Trail.  The Hemlock Trail is a loop, with a little spur out to the road:



I get out to the road, where a female and her black lab are just getting ready to start.  I re-take them, as I am just turning around at the road.  I re-encounter them on this little loop.

Following my map, I should end up back at my starting point of this loop, then run the spur backwards to where I have started.
But the trail goes off to the left, so I follow.  It dumps me out on the natural gas right-of-way. Which I do remember crossing.  But this cairn, by the trail, is not the same one.

I do spot a trail, across the right of way. I start down it.  But I encounter sketchy trails-aka deer trails-and several big cobwebs.  Now, if I have been down this trail, in the last hour, I should not be ducking into cob webs.

I go back to the right of way.  I'm kind of obstinate, in a bad way.  I choose not to get back on the path I have travelled down.  I whip out my *compass* and map, which I have brought.  The gas right-of-way is not on the map.  But I know I need to go north.

And if I follow the right of way, north, it *should* intersect the trail.  Cuz I remember crossing the right of way, earlier.

I climb two significant climbs and descents.  I'm getting a little doubtful.  But the compass is still leading me north. I'm getting a bit stressed, as I am spending way too much  time on this area of trail.  I still gotta go scope out the Cooper's Rock area.

FINALLY, I run down a hill, and find the trail sign I am looking for.  Hooray for compasses and common sense to use them.  I think the natural gas line should have  been on the map too.





South Side

The South Side of Coopers Rock State Forest is the populated side, with many small trails.
Views from Coopers Rock:




Playing on the boulders around the Overlook is alot of fun

I tried to hit up on some trails I had not been on before.  One was Raven Rock Trail, which promised a great view at the end:





After I got back to my car at the Overlook, I drove over (in the sake of time management, I could have also simply ran over) to the Picnic Area loop.  I picked up the Rhododendron Trail, which I remembered being on, and then navigated my way over the short trails to the Iron Furnace.

I keep saying short trails because many of these trails are just short in distance, like 0.3 to 1 mile in length.  You can cobble together a long route, using most of the trails.
I was running out of time, as I had a three hour drive home, so I came up the Ridge Trail to "Rock City".


It would be fun to explore the rocks right here, but I just continued down the trail, to get back to my vehicle.



The giant at Coopers Rock:


I got 6 miles on the north side of I-68, and nine and change on the South Side.

  While running all day-it was nice and warm, in the 70's, I kept wondering if the snakes were still out.  I jumped over this guy late into the day-yes,  I guess the snakes were enjoying the weather too~!


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