The Dolly Sods Wilderness is a rocky, high-altitude plateau in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia and is part of the Monongahela National Forest. The wilderness has more than 47 miles of trails with elevations ranging from 2,500 to over 4,700 feet. If I didn’t have you at “Hello” allow me to share two other selling points that made the brochure: weather and explosives.
Weather in the Sods is as decisive as a two-year old. Snow can fall from October through April, freezing temperatures can occur at anytime of the year, and the winds can penetrate your soul. As for explosives, the area was used by the U.S. Army as a practice artillery and mortar range and maneuver area during World War II. And, while the National Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers did their best to remove Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) from the area there’s still a good chance some remain. Moral of the story: dress for every occasion and don’t touch the boom booms.
In spite of the potential to blow up, freeze, or both, the Sods really are a spectacular place to go. My buddy Coop and I rose to the challenge back in February 2014 when we hit the trails wearing snowshoes and a smile. This year we thought we’d give the Sods another shot and enlisted my brother-in-law, Ken.