Bread feeds the body indeed, but flowers feed also the soul. — The Koran
It was the 53rd Wildflower Pilgrimage in Davis, WV, but our second trip. The Blackwater Inn in Davis was the host. This year my wife and I chose two different trips and spent part of Sunday at a third choice before coming home.
This Nature conservancy location straddles the Maryland/West Virginia border. It is a relict community that is left over from the ice age because this West Virginia area is cold enough to maintain a boreal environment, at least so far, if climate change doesn’t make that impossible in the future. I had entered from the Maryland side previously and wasn’t aware that there was a boardwalk through the bog accessible only from the WV side, which is where went this time. This is one of the advantages of the Pilgrimage: people who really know the area can show you the best places and help identify the flowers and birds. Because of the cold spring, some things that might normally be in bloom weren’t. I was able to get one very nice sundew. Others saw some water snakes playing in an open area. Numerous flowers along the trail.
You can get travel directions from the Nature Conservancy website for Cranesville Swamp.
Cathedral State Park
The second half of the first day was spent at Cathedral State Park. I had been there before, but this trip was disappointing because it was rather dry and more open than usual due to storms that pulled down some old trees. This park has some really magnificent old hemlocks. It also has the biggest dandelions I have ever seen. Cathedral State Park is well-marked on most maps and you enter off of Route 50 in Aurora, WV.
Otter Creek Wilderness
On Saturday we went to Otter Creek Wilderness. After a short trail hike there is a somewhat shaky bridge over Otter Creek. It is a replacement for a swinging bridge taken down at high water. A bit after the bridge there is some rough trail climbing over rocks with some muddy spots for about a quarter mile, but then the trail smooths out with some very nice wildflowers. A small wadeable stream crosses the trail about 1 mile in with some very nice little cascades a short ways upstream.
Fernow Experimental Forest
We were on our own on this one, and with another couple mistakenly drove up some pretty rough trails before turning around and getting some better directions. We stopped at only one location, near some maintenance buildings and a low water bridge. Around the bridge were gobs of Showy Orchis and other wildflowers. A really nice location.
In Parsons, make a left at the Subway shop and then almost immediately another left. Car GPS coordinates for a little ways into the forest was: N 39.07997° and W 079.64925° (you are on your own with these directions),