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The Return to Seneca Rocks: 2011

- Posted by Kevin - Posted on 07/03/11 10:53AM

In the late spring of 2008, a friend and I took quite an adventure by bicycle which happened to land us at a place we fell instantly in love with.  Spending more than a week at Seneca Rocks, WV it became a very familiar town quickly and spending my Birthday there at the camp was a very comfortable and easy time.  When it was time to pack up and leave, instantly we both knew that Seneca Rocks would be in our future sometime.

Image

Three years later, the time has come to revisit the place I have been boasting about since the day I pedaled away from one of the most recognizable rocks in the whole country to any serious climber.  So, we made plans, set a date (My Birthday) and packed our bags.  We were a total of 5 adults, 1 child and 4 dogs so being able to stick to some sort of schedule was one of the hardest things to accomplish.

Needless to say, we all arrived, setup camp and enjoyed our Memorial Day weekend.  Starting with our camp location at the apex of the far end of the Yokum’s main campground circular road, we are within 12 feet of the roaring Potomac and had a fantastic view of the rock face that is so easily recognized.  This made for fantastic night time campfires and meals along with the most privacy that this campground has to offer. Potomic River

On Saturday, we had planned on and followed through with a group hike up to the summit.  The trail itself was a very steep privately owned horse trail in which we zigzagged up to the direction of the rock face.  The entire hike was uphill, muddy, and hot and was an excellent workout for all of us, including the dogs.  All of the dogs eventually made it and one dog in particular was at the very top of the rocks with the rest of us.  After enjoying what we had accomplished hanging out at the summit for a while to take some pictures, we descended the rocks using the normal hiking trail leading us back to the Discovery Center parking lot.

Image

Following the long but rewarding group hike up the rocks, we like many other people there celebrating their Memorial Day at the rocks, took full advantage of a beautiful turn in the river called the 'Swimming Hole'.  This is one of those prime locations that so very few people get to enjoy and it is worth every second.  A beautiful freshwater lagoon/beach with a fairly strong current in the middle and closed in by a wall of water carved stone.  Even the dogs could not help themselves from taking a dip.

That evening, we enjoyed live music at the Seneca Rocks Rock Climbing School and got to check out a place I hung out at a lot in my previous travels through town. The owners of the school are two of the most accomplished climbers at Seneca Rocks and literally wrote the book on climbing the mountain.  They offer guide packages that make your climbing trip a sure thing.

Sunday, was intended to climb, but getting a late start on the day led to an approach to the crag in 100 degree partially exposed heat.  For those of you not familiar with the 45 minute or longer scramble so appropriately named "The Stairmaster", it can leave you exhausted and with very little water before you even start to climb.  This was our fate, however we did get to attempt a few top roping routes in the 5.9-5.11 range and then we called it a day and returned to camp suffering defeat du to heat and lack of preparation,

Camp Fire

Sunday evening was a very relaxing campfire meal and surprise birthday funnel cake supplied by Lindsey, which we fried ourselves over the campfire. Being extremely worn out from the day’s activities and the heat, everybody stayed around our fire until 1 by 1 retiring to the tents.

Monday morning seemed like it arrived way too quickly as all good vacations do, but it was time for our last camp meal and then time to pack up and go home.  After the cars were packed and our weekend conversation came to a close, we all hopped in our cars and took off back to our own respective places where noises of roaring rivers and deafening insects are replaced with noisy air conditioners, traffic and cell phones.