Wild Place

Bear Rocks trailhead – Dolly Sods Wilderness, West Virginia

This is one of our all-time favorite places to tent camp and day hike on the entire East Coast, the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia. Cindy has been going here since the early 1980s, and I joined her wanderings here in the late-1980s. Since that time the Sods have gone from being a privately-owned hunting property to becoming an official part of the US Forest Service, preserved for the enjoyment of all present and future generations.

The first time I visited Dolly Sods – in the summer of 1989 – I was astounded by the size, expansive views, and wildness of it… a combination that is quite rare to find in the Mid-Atlantic region. Prior to finding the Sods, I’d pretty much given up hope of finding a wild place on the East Coast that reminded me of the American West – at least outside of Maine. Big chunks of public lands east of the Mississippi with expansive views are scarce; usually they are heavily forested and/or mountainous, which constrains long distance viewing.

Sadly, in recent years the Instagram crowd has discovered Dolly Sods, and it is now overrun by hoards of people that vandalize, leave trash and excrement, and ignore the “leave no trace” ethos of the park.

Photo info:
Bear Rocks trailhead
Bear Rocks Preserve
Dolly Sods Wilderness
Davis, West Virginia
August 2015
Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8 zoom lens
Sony RX100 IV digicam

4 thoughts on “Wild Place

  1. That is some view. Maroon Bells has become that way too. The plan was to limit trail access and close it to overnight camping. Talk about howls of protest. The laundry list of repairs USFS wanted to do is enormous. I don’t know if they got around to making the repairs. Another place is RM National Park. They were able to do some repairs last year, but not nearly enough. At both places, there were multiple fist-fights among the visitors over parking spaces.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fist-fights! Over parking spaces! Yeesh… I wonder just how far off-the-rails some of these confrontations will go?

      The last time we were at Dolly Sods, in November 2019, we witnessed two males shooting shotguns at the edge of a trail head parking lot – less than 25-feet from us. We don’t know if they were hunting and became too focused to notice their surroundings, or if they were intent on intimidating bystanders, of which there were probably 30 or more — some of whom were even closer to them than we were.

      I feel that things will boil-over at some point, and sure hope I’m not there to witness it.


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