Ascent of Buckhorn Knob on 2019-10-24

Climber: Jobe Wymore

Date:Thursday, October 24, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Buckhorn Knob
    Location:USA-Virginia/West Virginia
    Elevation:4069 ft / 1240 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was the second stop of the day after a drive up Keeney Knob in the morning, we rolled up around 11AM. As has been reported before the phone number to the owner of the land surrounding Buckhorn Knob, Mr. Bob Gilvary, is no longer valid but I tried anyway only to get your typical number has been disconnected recording.

Regardless, my Mom and I followed the driving directions provided by others to the starting point which is at the end of the pavement, a gated dirt road extends beyond. Unfortunately not only is it gated but also posted no trespassing; there’s also a new no parking sign nearby to reinforce the meaning? Not to be deterred we went knocking on doors of nearby houses to see if anyone would either have up to date contact information for Mr. Gilvary or possibly grant me the ok to proceed without.

Up above the signed gated starting point was a home in plain view and that was the first stop. I knocked, waited, no answer. I knocked again - I knew they had to be home cause their driveway was full of cars and I could hear their TV on inside. Still no answer so we left. Backtracking we stopped at the next home on the same side of the road where a guy came out, his mannerisms came across as being very hesitant, definitely suspicious to my requests. He acted like he wanted me leave sooner rather than later. After a bit he said he knew Mr. Gilvary, and said “he comes up this way all the time to check on things”. I asked if he thought it would be ok if I just hurried on up to the top and back where his reply was he “couldn’t give me permission”. I asked if he thought the home across the road might be able to provide contact information or permission, he said “no”.

Not to be deterred the home across the road was stop number 3. I walked up on their front porch, knocked and again I could hear their TV on but they too wouldn’t answer the door. I guess the man across the street whom I’d just spoken with was correct. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my Mom in the truck while I hiked without some type of permission especially with all the flagrant postings so off to the next house down the road I went. After knocking twice a young guy answered the door, a kid in diapers standing next to him. I explained why I was here but he didn’t say a word to me, not even when I introduced myself - he just listened to my interest in wanting to hike up Buckhorn Knob and how I wasn’t able to make contact with Mr. Gilvary. He just stared at me thru his glass security door. I asked him if he thought it would be ok if I went on up and hiked Buckhorn Knob while my Mom waited. He just stood there, didn’t say a word till finally after a long pause he said, “let me go ask”. He then closed the door in my face.

After a long while he came back and said “you can drive on up, park on the side of the road. Other people drive up that way from time to time”. I thanked him and told him my name, my mom’s too. He didn’t respond and again, just shut the door.

Now with some legitimate (albeit sketchy) cover I drove on up and parked as told I could. A short jog up the remaining paved road had me at the gate; with a slow off and on jog up the nice dirt road I continued. The road was in great unused shape with patches of grass growing on it here and there. No recent tracks. A ways up I took the first hard right and continued briskly to “the abandoned bus” where I swung to my left uphill on a lesser but still obvious track. The going was easy with only minor brambles poking out here and there but my pace had slowed. Soon enough the dirt track ended, this point was roughly 3 miles from where I had parked. My app’s showed I was close so I just continued on past where the dirt road ended on a faint use trail where the top was soon reached. A huge boulder with Buckhorn BM 1934 close by near 3 stones graced the scruffy laurel top. I had to dig for the BM as it was buried in 5 inches of leaves but the Easter egg hunt was successful.

I didn’t stay long as I must admit I had some concern about my Mom. None of the interactions down lower gave me good feelings and so continuing with my slow jog style off I went. Almost expectantly some 300 yards from the top I encountered a fresh heaping pile of bear turd which wasn’t there when I had hiked up - be advised there’s more out there to be concerned with than landowners.

Once back I asked if anyone had stopped by to chat. My Mom said the mailman had spotted the truck, drove up and asked if everything was ok as he never sees vehicles parked in that area. She explained I was out hiking and had gotten permission where his response was he wasn’t sure if that was fine, or not, but left it at that and drove off. I wasn’t gone long, though. No harm done like always.
Summary Total Data
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles

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