Ascent of Spruce Knob on 2015-09-07

Climber: David Odenwalder

Date:Monday, September 7, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Spruce Knob
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:4861 ft / 1481 m

Ascent Trip Report

The third and last of my three-in-one-day conquest of state high points. For details of the others, see my reports for Mt Davis and Backbone Ridge/Hoye Crest.
Having completed the MD high point about 5 PM, I set out to complete West Virginia's Spruce Knob before the sunset. The route is rather obvious through Thomas, Harman, Seneca Rocks, and almost to Judy Gap. Near the latter (and Simoda), is a well-marked road to the summit. There is a restaurant at the corner - marking about a 12-mile drive up the mountain. As the name suggests, the dominant flora on the mountain is a variety of spruce tree. The three-story tower marking the summit is a hundred yards or so of hiking from the parking lot - almost level. I was surprised at the rocky terrain - I had not expected such in the eastern US. There is no obvious natural high point - several medium-sized boulders might take the honors for being the highest undisturbed natural high point - there was an angled, thin one that looked to me to be the probable candidate. The views from the tower are pretty nice - I counted 8 successive mountain chains in one direction. Fortunately - although the sun was dropping fast - I was able to see the sights and catch a couple of pictures while there was still some daylight. No register found to inscribe my name - some folks seem to have thought they needed to leave graffiti on the tower structure.
Drove back down the mountain - the restaurant at the bottom seemed like a convenient spot for supper. The food was so-so - chicken fried steak was probably microwaved pre-frozen (based on how quickly it was served at the table). The cream gravy was very tasty, however. Afterwards I asked for some pie - or "paw" in the local vernacular. Coconut cream with meringue is a bit odd - but an acceptable ending to my conquest.

This area - despite being only a few dozen miles from the frantic pace of our nation's capital - is as isolated and unpopulated as some of the hinterlands in the western US. WV is a lovely state, and I wouldn't mind making a longer visit there sometime. Found a cheap hotel along the road headed back toward DC.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Partly Cloudy

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