GET Section 7e Trail Report

August 21, 2010

Slash Lick Road parking to CR 14, 14.0 miles
      This is Section 7W6 on the Great Eastern Trail and includes mile 11.91 to 0.00 of Section 4 of the Allegheny Trail.  With me on this hike were Tom Johnson, his dog Sam, and my dog Sid.  We started hiking from the gate on Slash Lick Road, about 1.2 miles from WV 92, and hiked 2.1 miles to the Allegheny Trail.  It was a mostly cloudy day with temperatures in the low to mid 80s. 
      Some observations:

  • The Allegheny Trail can be described as “built but not maintained”.  It had many blowdowns and was grown in many places.  The tread, thoughvisible, did not look like it was hiked on very often.  The trail was heavily blazed, though, especially in parts where it was a footpath.  However, some parts along old roads had infrequent blazes, with ¼ mile or more between blazes.  
  • Some particularly bad parts were:
  •      1. The road grade just north of Slash Lick Road (mile 11.89 to 11.40), with lots of Stinging Nettles.  Then where the Trail leaves this road, there were several blocking blowdowns, some of which we removed. 
  •      2. The road along the top of the ridge and state line (mile 9.62 to 7.50) had tall weed growth, and rather few blazes when we first got on it. 
  •      3. Around mile 6.0 there was an area with a lot of Stinging Nettles, plus a lot of other weed growth. 
  •      4. Around mile 5.0, just before leaving the ridge crest, there has been clear-cutting on the east side, and at the edge of it, the trail is overgrown with blackberry and tree regrowth to the extent that the Trail cannot be followed (fortunately, a way can be picked not far from it). 
  •      5. At mile 2.86 there is one field where there is no evident trail across the right way.  There were other fields near Laurel Run, but we could see the blaze on the far side to know which way to head, and a semblance of a pathway through the high grass and weeds.  At this particular field, we went the wrong way at first, and had to look hard to find where we needed to go. 
  •      6. Somewhere around mile 2.5 there was a large tree that blew down directly along the Trail, and it was difficult to discern the trail there, as it turned under this tree. 
  • There is a shelter on Smith Knob.  It looks like it is rarely used, but it is in good shape.  The floor was dirty, and we swept it, but it did not appear to have mice (some larger animal, though).  They have 5 chairs and a table set up, but no picnic table outside.  The register had only 5 entries before us back to November 2008.  Last entry was 2 months ago by “Queen Becky”, who we know.  Before that it was 14 months.  There is no name sign on the shelter, but a map on the wall refers to it as “Graham Shelter”.  This shelter is on private land beside the National Forest land, and beside it is a hayfield on the summit of Smith Knob. 
  • There is a water source indicated on the map at mile 7.50, but that is where a blue-blazed trail starts, going north and west.  We gave up on it as it was going out of sight.  Where the water is does not show on the map. 
  • The map shows at mile 2.10 a transition from a jeep trail to a light duty road, but this was not evident as we passed this point.  It remained a road grade, not available to vehicles. 
  • We were looking for trails or roads that would descend on the east side to Big Run, but did not see any.  If there, they should be just south of the shelter. 
  • Much of the vegetation along Laurel Run is Rhododendron. 
  • There is an arched bridge over Laurel Run at 0.47.  At mile 0.39 the Trail leaves the road to avoid a ford.  The Trail leaves the road in a few places to avoid several fords along the old road.  There are five creek crossings far upstream, but no trail fords below mile 3.9. 
  • There was little Poison Ivy on this hike, but there was some along the Slash Lick Road, plus a patch at the side trail to Graham Shelter. 
  • Although we had no ticks or chiggers, we got a lot of plant seed attaching to our socks and the dogs' coats: Agrimony and Tickseeds mostly. 


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