Friday, June 25, 2010

Highpoint: Maryland. Backbone Mountain (3360 ft). June 12, 2010

Our first real hike of the trip!

Old jeep road, 2.2 miles roundtrip, about 750 feet elevation.

On the way south from Pennsylvania, we stopped by the self-proclaimed smallest church in the lower 48. This church is in West Virginia, just half a mile or so from the old jeep road that leads up Backbone Mountain (the trail begins in West Virginia, but crosses over into Maryland before reaching the peak).

It's quite pretty, on the inside as well as the outside.

A quick drive down the road brought us to the trail, which is easy to miss if you're not looking for it. There's a sign, but it's on a tree and obscured by leafy branches.

We parked on a pull-out section and headed up the old jeep road.

Soon after we entered the forest, we came across a small clearing that smelled like death. Unfortunately, we soon saw the reason why -- four or five large animal skeletons lay strewn about the west side, many with bits of flesh still clinging to them. Alex found that interesting, but Sage was distressed. I wanted to take a picture, but Sage was adamant that I not. Not wanting to argue, I hurried the girls through that bit quickly.

Farther up, there were only trees and dirt, and Sage's spirits soon returned to their regular heights.

Many trees were marked with a red "HP" and arrow.

As we walked, the girls wondered why there were so many bones at that clearing. I'd no idea. They were close to the road, so it couldn't have been the site of an animal liar. If there had been only one skeleton, I'd have guessed it was roadkill dragged up by highway/animal control. But four or five? I was stumped. Sage delcared they were there because of the name of the mountain, "There are Bones Back there." I felt that was as good an explanation as any I could come up with.

The dirt trail, though moderately steep in places, was smooth and, compared to what we're used to in the Whites, fairly easy. Eventually we came to some rocks, which made us feel, just for a minute, that we were back in New Hampshire.

We crossed the border into the girls put a foot in each state...

A bit more walking...

...and we're there!

Views from the top of Maryland.

Sage signs the register...

In spite of the bones near the bottom, we felt this hike was enjoyable. There's not much to see, and the summit is mostly treed in, but it felt good get out and walk after having been in the car for a couple of days.

Next stop: West Virginia.

No comments: