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Topic: Sleep Creek WMA - Intro, Trip report< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 07 2013, 1:15 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

04/06/13 - Sleepy Creek WMA – An Introduction: Ed posted an open invite to explore this area that was totally new to me so Wooly Bully, the Mad Hatter and myself met him at the Tuscarora Trailhead at the end of Audubon Road at 10 sharp. The first two miles were a pretty casual stroll in and out of coves high above Meadow Branch. I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get to see the stream but shortly after we crossed what Ed refers to as the Fisherman’s Trail we descended rapidly through a dense hemlock grove and crossed the stream on a stout bridge.  



We took a break here and snapped a few photos of the stream.



It was flowing high today, not dangerously high, but high enough that I knew I was going to be soon hiking in wet boots.
Next came a steep but relatively short hike to a prominent rock outcrop known as the Devil’s Nose.



From here we had a panoramic view of the entire drainage.
After we took it all in Ed led us down through a rock scramble. Actually only the very beginning was tricky. After sliding under a large boulder the rest of it seemed more like a real trail with a soft cushion of pine needles that weaved in and out of a rock city until we found ourselves at a huge campsite along the beautiful stream. As fellow hikers changed or removed footwear I just charged across, letting my boots fill with water. With that being done I wouldn’t have to worry about dry feet until we got back to the truck. For now on, while others were changing footwear I’d be looking for a log or rock to sit on.
This portion of the hike was on a well defined old jeep road that was badly eroded. We stopped occasionally to visit the cascades and deep pools as well as this one lone rock formation hat seemed to have just popped up from the ground.





The road bent away from the branch and climbed a bit, following a tributary with its own diminutive waterfalls.



We followed the edge of a wildlife clearing, crossed the tributary, a trickle at this point, and descended on another road that was in much better shape than the previous one. We made the first of six fords along this stretch – calf to knee high depending on how careful one is – and I’m not. That’s what wet boots and nylon pants are for! We walked another half mile or so and took a lunch break in the shade of some hemlocks. The next two fords were close to each other so my comrades did not change gear in between them. After that point the old woods road we had been following was blocked by numerous blowdowns. Then the trail itself disintegrated, playing peek-a-boo with us. In retrospect I think it was a black quagmire to our right that was impossible to walk on. The folks in front of me began to zig-zag, looking for hints of a trail but always keeping close contact with the creek. We had three more fords to accomplish and if we missed just one of them …. Well it was going to be a very long day in the woods. There is no evergreen foliage such as mountain laurel or rhododendron so the entire forest floor had a sameness to it. I felt my self growing tired so I would let the trail blazers oscillate to the left or right until they found a piece of the trail then I would walk in a straight line through anything in front of me until I reached them. Every time Ed found a piece of moss-covered road you could look over your right shoulder and see that black quagmire behind you. Ed managed to nail all of the crossings. We tried to walk around the base of Little Mountain to the last ford but with great apprehension. The topographical features on the map indicated that we might end up walking in the stream if we continued on this route so we made a ninety degree turn and climbed directly up the flank of the hill. At the summit we found the road. The rest of the trail was a lot more obvious and led us, more or less, directly to the last ford. We took a break as everyone permanently changed into their boots.
We were done with bushwhacking. We followed a white trail to re-connect with the Tuscarora Trail, a jeep road at this point. As the road deteriorated the trail left it, eventually turning to make a sharp ascent. I stopped for a break while the others went on. Near the top I got some assistance as the trail builders had constructed a series of switchbacks that weaved through the rocky spine of the ridge. Once things leveled out I found my friends sitting on a log. We moved on, the trail alternating between jeep road and footpath. Our last stop was at a fine vista with a view into Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. I drank my last slug of water here but it was not an issue at this point since we were only about 15 minutes from the vehicles.  

I'd like to thank Ed here for taking the time to introduce us to the area.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 07 2013, 4:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Edit: Panoramic view of the entire drainage.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 08 2013, 11:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So the elusive four state view has been confirmed?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 08 2013, 12:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you position yourself just right, on a clear day, I believe you can pick out the northern end of the Blue Ridge at Harpers Ferry. The border of VA/WV runs right along the top if it, so I think, technically, yes. In the panorama here you'd have to look through the trees on the right to see it but there is room to move more to the left and perhaps down just a bit for a more uninhibited view.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 08 2013, 8:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That looks like a nice hike.  Glad you had fun.  My loss, but maybe next time...
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 28 2013, 9:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Finally have my photos up (computer issues, both good and bad, have taken up some time).  Mostly of the Meadow Branch.  As regards to four state views, I've been able to find a few; Eagle Nest is not the best one in Sleepy Creek.  I'd say the Shockey's Knob vista is better, and all four states are clear.  The powerline atop Sleepy Creek Mountain also works.









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