Bear Rocks (Dolly Sods), WV (6-24-09)
Bear Rocks is just the 'tip of the iceberg' that is the Dolly Sods region of West Virginia. Located due east of Elkins, the 'Sods' are an ecological anomaly created by a thoughtless rape of the landscape by loggers in the early 20th Century. Rarely does man-made devastation result in such natural beauty. Sitting atop a 4000' plateau the Dolly Sods region has been slow to recover and has evolved into an almost sub-arctic looking mix of low shrubs and gnarled Spruce trees. Bear Rocks sits on the eastern edge of the plateau on which the Dolly Sods is located at the point where the plateau drops precipitously off to the Potomac River Valley some 2000'+ below. The area is a federally designated wilderness so there are no marked trails in the area, just a network of small paths made by visitors between the laurels between the parking area and the cliff edge. Thus this wasn't so much a hike in the linear sense of a pathway but more an exploration of one of the most unique landscapes I've come across in the eastern United States...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 39.065824, -79.301656
Hike Length: 3.5 miles Hike Duration: 1:00
Trailhead Temp: 70'F
Min. Elevation: 3,954' Max. Elevation: 4,000'
Total Vertical Gain: 46' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 92'