Bicycling to Spruce Knob, West Virginia

Claire suggested that our motorhome Turtle wasn’t a sports car, as we sped down a Forest Service road in West Virginia. We were being chased by a thunderstorm, and it was about 10 more miles to the Laural Fork campground near Spruce Knob. We didn’t beat the storm, but Turtle did well.

The next day we cycled from U.S. Route 33 to the summit of Spruce Knob, highest point in West Virginia, a 2800 foot vertical climb; not big by Western standards, but, steeper and humid. A good workout.

I was disappointed, but not surprised to find the summit very grown up with spruce trees, not the little flag spruce I remember, but big trees with others mixed in. Nothing stays the same

 

 

The reason for the smaller trees in the past was fire, no doubt caused by logging operations in the early part of the 20th century. The same fires burned Dolly Sods; both produced a unique landscape that is now returning to something akin to the original heavy forest cover. I’m not so sure it might be time to burn both again to regain the special character they had for nearly a century. I’m sure the idea would be controversial, but worth consideration.

 


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