Monday, October 8, 2012

2012 Autumnal Equinox Celebration: Dolly Sods Wildnerness, WV

The equinoxes and solstices mark important changes in the earth and its rhythms and it's a time we like to celebrate.  This year to honor the autumnal equinox we met up with our Indiana friends: Paul, Tim & Savannah.  Remember our trip last year?  This year we traveled south to the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia, an area none of us had yet backpacked. 

Excited and ready to go, we headed across the river....

And after steady, steep hiking we reached some expansive views...

and charming lycopodium lining the trail.

 We nestled our tents in close to some rocks...

and discovered a hidden secret!  A black-and-white warbler nest tucked in on the southeast side of this large boulder.  After returning home, Paul identified this nest for us and it struck a note with me, this is what I (Jennifer) wrote back...."FANTASTIC!  Black-and-white warblers are always one of the birds I think of with sadness when I read about forest fragmentation.  SO COOL that we found one of their nests!  Because they are so distinctive, they were the first warbler I Lindenwood Nature Preserve.  I looked up and saw this incredible black and white striped bird and that began my love for knowing birds other than the regulars.  Gives me hope...this little nest."

Even though we did not see any, black bears are common in Dolly Sods so we made sure to hang our food at night...

and then settled into some thought provoking (hmm) conversation around the campfire.

Dolly Sods is a very unique area.  Here's a description from the U.S. Forest Service: "The 17,371 acre Dolly Sods Wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is located in Grant, Randolph and Tucker Counties, West Virginia. The Dolly Sods Wilderness contains much of the Red Creek drainage and contains bog and heath eco-types, more commonly typical to southern Canada. Elevations range from 2,500 to over 4,700 feet."

The area is incredibly beautiful.

which makes for happy hikers!

A red-spotted purple liked the minerals near the stream...

Getting up on a ridge put us in a heath eco-type interspersed with a few bogs, which captured all our hearts I do believe...



The American dagger moth caterpillar found the heath lands to be a good home.

Jennifer could make this home too!

Autumn colors intensified moment by moment it seemed.


 The river gave us such cool, crisp water to drink...

and moments of such beauty and inspiration.

Happy fall blog readers!



  1. It always makes my morning when I see there is a post from you. Thank you for taking the time to document your adventures

  2. Hi J&S...I do remember the times when I used to hike and explore places like that!
    Awesome little nest, and I have seen the black and white fella here this summer!
    Thanks for sharing your celebration, and Happy Autumn to you both!!
    Love you header!
    Thanks for stopping by my post !!

  3. What an awesome trip! We love camping and hiking too in new places!

  4. Awesome time and place for a backpacking trip...its been way too long since Ive done a backpack trip....but I havent given up hope to do more. Your photos capture the beauty of the wilderness perfectly!!


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