2017 October 16

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Garrett County, Maryland
Monongahela National Forest
Ohiopyle State Park
Table Rock
West Virginia

October 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Good evening! Partly clear and 34 degrees at the Monongahela National Forest here outside of Davis, West Virginia up here in Tucker County. Temperature is dropping fast, it’s likely that up here in the mountains we will get a hard frost. For the first time of the trip, I broke out the Buddy Heater to warm up my back by the fire. Hopefully though this will be the coldest night of trip. There is a north-northwest breeze at 6 mph. Now that the rain has come and gone, it’s quite clear out.

Tonight will have areas of frost. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low of 30 degrees at 5am. 10 degrees below normal. Definitely going to get frosty here, but I’m at one of the highest elevations in West Virigina, so that’s to be expected. My GPS says I’m at 3700 feet above sea level. Fortunately no precipation is likely, which is good because I will leave West Virigina even if there is the slightest threat of snow or ice. Northwest wind around 6 mph becoming calm after midnight. In 2016, we had mostly cloudy skies. It got down to 59 degrees. The record low of 21 occurred back in 1940.

Tonight will have a Waning Crescent Moon with 7% illuminated. The moon will rise tomorrow at 4:42 am. The New Moon is on Thursday night with mostly clear skies. The Beaver Moon is on Friday, November 3rd. The sun will rise at 7:29 am with the first light at 7:02 am, which is one minute and one second later than yesterday. Tonight will have 12 hours and 53 minutes of darkness, an increase of 2 minutes and 27 seconds over last night.

I enjoyed exploring Ohiopyle State Park and the area of Ohiopyle, but overall I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t think it was a scenic or unique as promised. The hot showers at the “modern” campground were nice, but honest I’m a lot happier now that I’m camping in the remote backcountry of West Virigina. I like being able to listen to music and podcasts as loud as I want, the solitude and the stars up ahead. If I want I can shoot off my guns, I can enjoy a cold one in the evening, without having to hide it from the ranger. Campground camping reminds me too much of living in an apartment in the city — it really isn’t that much fun. I’d rather be in the back country. The Ohiopyle railroad bridges and the bike trail were fun to walk, as where the waterfalls. But honestly, not that special. I though in general Ohiopyle was more of tourist trap, ala Lake Placid or the Adirondack High Peaks rather then a really fun place to visit. Trout fishing looked good on the river from the amount of trout that one fisherman was pulling out.

This time going through Maryland was a lot more enjoyable, because US 219 wasn’t all backed up with weekend traffic around Deep Creek Lake. Apparently that area is a big tourist trap on the weekends. I also enjoyed driving Maryland 42 down from Pennsylvania. It’s interesting to see what the backcountry and rural landscape is like once you get off the main highways. 

As I headed south into West Virigina and started to climb into the mountains, the mercury dropped into the upper 30s and rain started to come down. I poked around checking out different campsites before I settled on my choice, and strung up a tarp. By the time the tarp was errected, the showers were done, but with the weather being as unstable as it’s been lately, I figured having a tarp up would help ward off the rain for the rest of the trip, as long as the tarp is up.

I found really this perfect campsite up here at Monongehella National Forest. It’s a quite tiny site, ringed with mountain laurel, but it’s good as acts as a wind break on the often open landscape of West Virigina Highlands. The site is small but it’s very clustered around, not only blocking the wind but also reflecting the light back into the site. I have good cell service here with my GSM network phone and West Virigina Public Radio comes in loud and clear, so I can keep up with the news and all the NPR entertainment. It’s so cozy, I suspect I”ll camp here a few days — at least one more night. I’ll secure my gear with a cable and lock, and leave things set up when I out for adventures during the date. 

I want to check up Black Water Falls tomorrow and do some hiking in the general area around Davis. I could go to Dolly Sods but probably not to later in the week. I’m a bit undecided on that fact — I’ve done that before and are trying to visit new places.

I feel good that I remembered exactly how to get up here. I didn’t use my GPS, I just did it from memory of two years ago. Not much has changed in the forest since then, and this area isn’t as disorrienting as the area around Ohiopyle was with all those steep hills. 

I ended up finding my other SD card reader with the extra MicroSD card. Fine, I have another MicroSD card so I don’t have to pull dash cam video for archiving every other day now — only every three. That makes it a little easier. I wish I had found that SD card and the reader before I spent $50 replacing it but so be it. I wanted to make sure I saved the best memories of my trip for Youtube.

As you can see I continue to use my dash cam to snap pictures of the road as I go along. I discovered or figured out how I could snap pictures in my dashcam while I drive by just tapping the picture snapping button. It’s safe, because it’s relatively easy to reach from the driver’s seat, but is not visibile from my driver’s seat, for safety purposes. I just tap a button and the camera saves a frame as a picture, which I’ve been uploading to Youtube. Sharing the views from the roads I’m driving is just one more way I can save and share my memories form the trip.

Tomorrow will have areas of frost before 9am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high of 53 degrees at 3pm. Six degrees below normal. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph. A year ago, we had partly cloudy skies. The high last year was 70 degrees. The record high of 85 was set in 1947. There was a dusting of snow in 1970.

Awesome weekend on tap, with temperatures running 10 degrees above normal. Saturday, sunny, with a high near 68. Maximum dew point of 46 at 5pm. Sunday, mostly sunny, with a high near 69. Maximum dew point of 48 at 6 pm. Typical average high for the weekend is 58 degrees. Should be great weather for traveling back up through Pennsylvania, maybe visiting some more parks, overnighting, then heading back to New York on Sunday.

In four weeks on November 13 the sun will be setting at 5:04 pm (Standard Time), which is one hour, 32 minutes and 9 seconds earlier then tonight. In 2016 on that day, we had sunny skies and temperatures between 58 and 31 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 49 and 32 degrees. The record high of 69 degrees was set back in 1964.

Looking ahead, Christmas is in 10 weeks, January 1, 2018 is in 11 weeks and 35th Birthday is in 15 weeks.