Monday, May 18, 2009

Four Sisters and the Boggy Sods

Where does this road lead? Read on...

Three sisters and I went for a road trip the day before the "official" family reunion. We started the day with a "sisters breakfast" for those who arrived early. Judy (who lives near Lost River State Park), Mary, Theresa and I all arrived Thursday night. We had a leisurely breakfast, then Theresa said, "I want to go on a road trip. Who wants to go?"

"Where?" we asked.

"Dolly Sods," she said.

If you live in West Virginia you have probably heard of the Dolly Sods wilderness area. It's high atop a mountain, covered with spruce trees, rocks and...a bog. That's right. It's an alpine bog complete with plants usually found only in alpine settings. It is beautiful, wild, and well worth a little road trip.

So off we went. We only stopped at one yard sale along the way, a testament to our determination to see Dolly Sods. I was driving because I knew the way. I have to admit that the car went backwards almost as often as forwards, because we'd see a wild flower or an incredible view and we'd have to reverse to see it. Theresa had several good adrenaline rushes as she looked out her car window at the precipitous drop speeding by--backwards.

On the way up the mountain, we saw an intriguing little spot and stopped to investigate. There we found a wildflower I have read about but never seen--the painted trillium. It was beautiful, and there were many scattered around the bog.

There were other wildflowers here--they will be featured in another post this week.

We drove on and soon came to the gate leading into the wilderness area. Key word there--gate. Never in all my visits to Dolly Sods has that gate been closed. Other people were there, milling about--young people who had traveled from Pennsylvania to hike some of the trails and camp in the primitive campground.

We looked for a way around the gate. There was none. There was also no explanation as to why the gate was locked. It was so frustrating. Theresa and Mary walked a little way along the road and discovered this: The wild bleeding hearts stretched under the evergreens as far back into the woods as we could see.

We looked and photographed and then realized that we had left all our purses in the car, with the doors unlocked--and the keys in the ignition. We hadn't planned to take a walk! Judy took a photo of me taking a photo of Mary and Theresa bending over a plant. I was careful not to take an unflattering "rear" shot, but from the look on her face, I'm not sure Judy was so kind!
All was well when we got back to the car. We headed back down the mountain and towards a gas station because the gas gauge was in an uncomfortable place for being so far from town. We stopped several times going down the mountain to take more photos--and met someone who will be featured in tomorrow's blog.
Try to get these three to be still and not get the giggles! Mary and Judy seem to be either holding Theresa upright or tickling her, but the truth is we were all laughing, at what I can't even remember. It was that kind of day.

It was a memorable trip, even with the disappointment of not actually being able to get into the wilderness area as we wanted. We can save that for next year, I guess. This year's photos were perhaps just a tease as to what we might actually see when we visit again.

(I have to say, however, that I don't understand the US Forest Service. There was no sign to say why the Dolly Sods road was closed. There is nothing on the website either--Theresa checked that before planning to go there, because we knew the road did close in winter for a while--but never this late in the Spring. There were at least 20 disappointed people when we were there--one group of 4 was from Harrogate, England and had driven from Shapherdstown, WV to hike in the area. Can you imagine how they felt? I am sure there is a good reason for the closure, but a simple sign would have made people at least understand the situation.)


solsticedreamer~laoi gaul~williams said...

what a shame you could go no further~here the new forest was recently designated as a national park and the national parks people are a disgrace~fencing off car parks that local people use all year round and leaving only one or two open~their excuse? they are protecting areas where birds are nesting...but you can go to the next car park or park in the road to take your usual walk!!! and yet they dont try to stop people on horse back either. they are also trying to make dogs only go to restricted areas on their leads.
and they are doing nothing about litter clearance and reducing road speeds

Granny Sue said...

Generally I'm okay with park restrictions, laoi, but yours sound random and not well thought out. And usually the forest service does a good job-but they certainly weren't thinking of the people they are supposed to be serving at Dolly Sods. I understand needing to protect areas. But let us know why!

Susan said...

Oh this was wonderful--so nice to share your day out together! I used to be one of 'four sisters', but we grew up separately and never had many chances to be together.

Hurray for bogs! I love the painted trillium you found. You've inspired me to take the camera 'round our own bogs (it's all bog, here) and share what I find. Sometime soon.

Granny Sue said...

Susan, I would love to see what you find in your bogs. This one has such unique plant life because of its altitude. But I wonder if you will find the same plants where you are?

There are actually 8 sisters, but only four arrived early enough for our trip. I'm the oldest, then Judy, Mary, Theresa, Maggie, Lizzie, Cathy and Julie follow. When we're all together it's an absolute riot. The older we get, the closer we get.

Janet, said...

I'm glad you had such a wonderful time. It sounds like you really enjoyed your time away.I love the little cabin.

Twisted Fencepost said...

Sounds like you ladies had a lot of fun even if you didn't get to go to Dolly Sods.
The cabin is adorable.

Mary said...

Have you written to the parks department to report your experience and ask for a reason? If no one asks, how will things change?

Granny Sue said...

Yes I did, Mary. I contacted them via email--and got an email back from the US Forest Service asking ME for the name of the person in charge of that area! Go figure. I went onto THEIR website and got what contact information I could find and sent it along. I think they hire some company to answer mail for them.

mary said...

Amazing! I wonder what people are thinking sometimes. As I continue to wait for Sears to fix my less-than-a-year-old microwave and the amazing dancing washing machine, I keep hearing my mother's voice . . .something about Hell and a handbasket?

Granny Sue said...

amazing dancing washing machine? I think I have it's cousin! But an elderly cousin, since it's about 15 years old.

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