October 21, 2014

Rock House / Hatfield and McCoy / Between Man and Gilbert, West Virginia. 100 mile trail

We rode 56 miles.  This was our favorite out of the 6 trails (Did not ride Bearwallow nor Buffalo Mountain yet)

Trails: Easy (Green) 31%, Medium (Blue) 29%, Difficult (Black) 16% 
   We rode from the Gilbert end of the trail,  on the Connector trail- 8 mi north to the main trails.  The trail systems are leftovers from coal mining, logging and natural gas mining. Yet the land looks untouched!  So they have been linked together, and shaped into wonderful Off Road Vehicle Trails!  Once again the signage is wonderful, and the maps are everywhere, at campgrounds, in town and at the trail head. Since it was Monday, we hardly saw anyone, the busy days are Thurs, Fri. and Saturday.

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   We tried one of the black trails, most difficult, and the steep rock angle of the trail was one we didn't want to do, so we turned around and rode the green-easy, and blue-more difficult, trails.  Most of the trails wind around the mountain peaks, where you can see the sandstone walls. The trails are not dangerous, but you don't want to fall over the edge, it is quite steep! There are no rocks on the trail, so we were wondering where the name-Rock House comes from. So we came around a corner and here is a huge wall of rock, 100 ft tall and 500 ft long. As large as a ship. Man had cut off part of the mountain exposing the rock.
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   We were also riding on trail #16, and on the map, a point of interest is marked, as auger holes. GPS coor -37*40.678N 081*5353,994W  and 37*40.720N 081*53.292W  .  On the mountain side of the trail we saw 3ft vertical shafts drilled into the base of the mountains. As we rode further on the trail, we kept seeing numerous holes, at least 100. Back in the 50's the coal company, augured these holes 200ft into the mountain and removed the coal.
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  We had great views down into all the hollows and across to another tree lined mountain. At one corner on the trail, the leaves were coming down so hard, it was amazing!  Along the trail we found a odd pillar made out of bags of cement, it was 20ft tall and 3 ft across. We figured out it was made to stabilized or protect a pipe line, exposed on the hillside.
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   We met a Hatfield and McCoy Ranger patrolling the trails.  We visited with him about the area and the trail system. He was surprised we were from South Dakota, Yes Sir!

See below for Campground Information

AREA >   TYPE OF LAND= forest, mountain  , OWNER= Private                                             
QUALITY >  Pro-great system / Con-non /  Length of stay 2 days/ Rating-stars5 out of 5
TERRAIN>  MILES OF TRAILS, hills / forest / mud / dust / water crossing /elevation –100              TRAIL MAINTENCE-Yes   /  NEAR BY TRAILS-Ivy Branch and Little Coal to the north-        Bearwallow-south 
REGULATIONS> Permit required-yes / Camping-RV site and cabins /whip-no / helmets req-yes. / width req.-no
FEE>  Entry-per person
KEY SERVICES> Camping / Gasoline / Diesel / First Aid /  Water /  Dump / Food=Gilbert and Man

   We stayed at Billy Goat ATV RV park, right in Gilbert, WV. Bill was very friendly and gave us maps.  A stream is just behind the park, then the highway.  We were the only ones in his 7 full hook up park.  Good thing! The RV park is a town lot, 100ft. x 120 ft. It took the whole area for us to turnaround and get parked.  Our camper is 36ft long plus a 20ft. pickup. If someone would of come in to camp, we're not sure we could of gotten out. It would work for small campers. No wifi or cable tv, for $45.
   On our way back home we stopped at Twin Hollow Campground, it has 11 large cabins, set to catch the most beautiful mountain top scene, the hollow! Plus they also have 13 RV sites. They are open April -November, for all the seasons.  The only issue is the hill to get there. But Wayne, has put in a very nice, top notch, large road, and he keeps it in good shape. Just give him a call if your concerned. The campground is right on the trail.

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