Monday, August 01, 2016


Steve and me at Spruce Knob
During our trip through part of West Virginia over Memorial Day weekend, we drove up to Spruce Knob. We had just visited Blackwater Falls, and decided to make the highest point in West Virginia our next stop.

I pulled up this site and read these directions. We were traveling from the North, so this is what we did:
From the north: Take Whitmer Road (CO-29 south from US-33 (one mile west of Harman) to Whitmer for 8.3 miles. From Whitmer continue south on Whitmer Road for 10.3 miles and turn left on Forest Road 1 for 2.5 miles to the campground and lake.
Sounds pretty easy, right? The road named "Forest Road 1" had me a little concerned, but that 2.5 miles seemed short when I read the directions.

I should say that this road was not what our GPS recommended. That's important to the story.

The road to Whitmer wasn't bad - two lane, but paved, and not bad.  It was after Whitmer that it got bad. The road was pretty much one lane, and it was what Steve called "mixed surface." I can tell you that not much of the surface was paved. It was a mix of gravel, dirt and holes. Along the road was what was called Disrupted Camping (I think that's what the signs said). There were horses, and large SUV-type cars along the road. We slowed down for the horses and got out of the way (into the ditches) for the SUVs.  It felt like 20 or 30 miles of traveling on "mixed surface" roads.

I could see on the map that there were other ways to get there. I told Steve, once we reached Spruce Knob (which was beautiful, foggy, rainy and cold, but worth the trip), that there had to be a better way. I didn't know what the other roads were like, but it was worth trying another way out.

The other way out was all paved, and about 1/3 (or less) the distance of the way in.

A couple (ok, a few) thoughts:

  1. If we had come in the way we went out, we would have thought the road was narrow and a little scary. After our post-Whitmer experience, we thought it was heaven. A lot of what we think is all perspective.
  2. Sometimes, if we are willing to chance it, there is a different way to do things.
  3. Sometimes it pays to listen to what others (like the GPS) are telling you. 
  4. There are some things that are worth the trip (like Spruce Knob).
  5. Most of the way in, we were fussing at West Virginia Tourism for not having a better way to get to the highest point in the state. You don't know everything - stop fussing until you are better informed.

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