Pimpin' Beard Gang
Location: Cranberry Wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest - Richwood, WV
General Rules and Regulations: Leave no trace. No groups over 10. While permits are not required, visitors are encouraged to register. Suggested to camp 200' from the trail but, not required.
Please see the USDA website for details.
Trip Highlights: 3 days/2 nights; temps ranged from 30s to 70s; approximately 30 miles; elevation was approximately 2390' - 4470'.
Menu: Oatmeal, cherry danish, donuts, pasta & meat sauce, chicken & stuffing casserole, pasta salad, sweet & spicy tuna w/crackers & various snacks.
Shelter: Warbonnet Black Bird hammock, Underground Quilts Top & Under Quilts, Warbonnet Mamajamba Tarp w/DIY Door Kit
We stopped for dinner before hiking another mile or two where we set up camp. We got a fire going and hung a bear bag not long before the rain started up again. It wasn't long before the rain picked up and drove us to our hammocks for the night. It continued to rain off and on all night and into the morning of day 2.
We took the Little Fork Trail to the Three Forks Trailhead where we picked up the Middle Fork Trail to travel along the Williams River toward Little Beechy Run. We found a great campsite near a small water fall and set up camp there.
After hanging a bear bag we started a fire and dried out some wet boots, socks and pants. After enjoying the fire I retired to the hammock while my trail mates continue to dry out clothes.
So, the original plan was to do a 3 night trip with the last night being within a few miles of the truck for a short hike out on the last day. With the gear failure we had a few options: 1) Backtrack to the Three Forks Trailhead and hitch a ride to the truck; 2) Stick to the original plan and have to sleep on the ground again; 3) Push on and hike the entire route back to the truck (about 10-13 miles). With rain expected Saturday night and Sunday morning we ended up settling on option 3 and pushed on to the truck. We continued on the Middle Fork Trail all the way up to the North Fork Trail. We then took the North Fork Trail across to the North-South Trail to SR 150.
Some of the trails are rough with long rocky sections, long climbs and numerous water crossings. By the end of our trip our newly given trail name was changing to the Limpin' Beard Gang.
1) Fancy Feast Stove and 700 ml pot - I have been using a pop can penny stove and switched to the fancy feast primarily because it is more simplistic (no separate pot stand needed & no penny to lose) and it is very efficient (can boil 2 cups with about 1/2 oz of fuel).
2) Poncho - I debated on my Marmot rain jacket vs a poncho and went with the poncho because it was lighter, multi use (pack cover and under quilt protector) and breathes better. Plus, it covers down to about your knees so, no need for rain pants or a rain kilt.
3) Body Glide - I knew about products like this from a runners perspective but, had never used any. I have to say that this will now be a staple in my pack. Body Glide is my new Tabasco Sauce - I put that $#!& on everything!
Things that didn't work so well:
1) North Face hiking pants - I picked up a few pair of NF pants at their outlet store because the price was right. Unfortunately, I've not had good luck with NF pants. These have such small/tight belt loops, in the front, that make them useless. The pockets are designed so that the cargo pockets take all the space for the hip pockets making the the hip pockets pointless (I picked up some trail trash, a wrapper, and a hiking partner ending having to picking it up again).