Trip Report for Otter Creek, 8/4-8/5

Trip report by U-Turn

All in all, I think August may be the very worst month for backpacking in our region, but you wouldn’t know that from our outing to Otter Creek, West Virginia.  We dodged high temperatures as well as torrential rains to enjoy an easy stroll through this wilderness.

Saturday morning, eight of gathered in Vienna (me, Jen, Christy, Christi, Dy, Kevin, Russ, and Tony) while three (Max, Linsey, and Lisa) came from B’more and another (Beth) from Pittsburgh.  We quickly rationalized cars and headed out in my car and Russ’.  After a quick stop at Exit 6, we drove out to the Mylius Trailhead.  We’d had a bit of a running debate about the best way to approach the route, and ultimately I settled on the way my book trip is set up—it would get us to Otter Creek in the afternoon, and it’s always better to do creek hikes uphill.  The 12 of us circled up, talked over the route, and soon climbed up to the intersection with the Shaver Mountain Trail.

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Hiking through the rhododendron. Photo by Tony S.

From there, we bore north.  Max and I were in front, chatting about BitCoin.  Soon enough, the rhododendron pressed in thick.  It was as if we were hacking our way through a jungle.  It rained a very little on us here, but that was the extent of our inclement weather.  We bumped into another couple at the intersection of Possession Camp, where we took a long break.  Soon, we began the descent into Otter Creek—the rocks were slippery and wet.  We regrouped at the bottom, as a few people had taken the rocks gingerly.

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Crossing Otter Creek. Photo by Tony S. 

The first few campsites were taken, and they were too small for us besides, so we waded the first ford, but grabbed the first acceptable campsite on the right bank, maybe around 6pm.  Max had carried in quite a few sausages and beer, so we set about consuming those.  Others swam.  The water was cool, and though this is maybe not the very best swimming hole on Otter Creek, it was still quite good.  We enjoyed a nice fire, chatting and eating sausages, but off course were off to sleep fairly early.  I dozed off in my hammock, reading.

Sunday morning, we left camp at 8:15am, climbing Otter Creek through the rather thick foliage.  The fords were easy enough, the river views impressive.  Remarkably, we saw no other backpackers, a fact that surprised me.  Perhaps people thought the water would be too high?  It certainly wasn’t.  Completing the route was unproblematic, and we reach the cars at around noon.  We had ourselves a little tailgate party in the parking lot.  Russ has a growler / cooler set up that I’m keen to emulate.

From there, it was back to Davis and lunch at a new place (what was its name?) as Sirianni’s and Hellbenders were crowded.  A Ferrari was parked in Davis as well as a bunch of Corvettes.  The new place was good.  And then we headed home: I treated people in my car to the best hits of the 70s.  They were sleeping anyway.

All in all, this was a fun outing with splits of 9 / 7 or so.  Chapeau to the four new people—Kevin, Linsey, Lisa, and Christi—each of whom earned their member status.  It was a good mixture of new and old people too.  It made me want to get out more—and it was good to walk the book chapter, five years after I did it the first time!  Thanks, everyone!

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