Kumbrabow State Forest and Cathedral State Park

Stream - Click to EnlargeCathedral State Park - Click to Enlarge

2/18/06

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Waypoints

Prologue

I discovered a number of co-workers share my interest in the outdoors, photography and Geocaching.  I don't know who can take credit but between us we also spread the Geocaching bug to another co-worker.  We have spent some coffee-break time talking about caches, time spent in the outdoors, cameras, and so on.

Mike has already come along 4-wheeling.  We hit a cache on that trip and had a pretty good time.  He came over to my desk one day and asked about going out to set up a special cache.  We kicked it around a bunch and came up with a plan.  Now all we had to do was find a place to put it!  We eventually managed to find a weekend where both our schedules lined up and the weather would be great.

I should quickly add that what means "great" weather to some people is not what Mike and I consider "great weather".  And what we might do in that weather is probably not everyone's idea of how to spend the day.  Mike sent me a map coordinate and suggested I locate it.  I looked it up and found the origin point of Judy Run where at least one and maybe two intermittent streams turn into a regular stream, in a very interesting place off Route 33.  It's about .8 mile in and part the way is probably marked by a trail of some sort.

The weather we were expecting was snow and rain, with ice.  Great!  Here's the thing.  The woods is interesting, but sometimes for really terrific scenery you need some snow to make it better.  Then there's that feeling of walking in the woods when it's snowing.  It's quiet.  Everything is clean.  You can see animal tracks, probably new if they're on the snow that just fell.  So we agreed this would be a good combination.  I decided that walking in deep snow or in freezing rain probably wouldn't mix well with my 6- and 8-year old boys, so I made arrangements to get out alone for the day.

Muster

Pleasant Valley starting point - Click to EnlargeMike arriving - Click to Enlarge

GPSGPS

Mike told me where to meet him and we agreed on 7:30 as a start time.  I had no trouble finding the spot and Mike showed up right on time, maybe even a couple minutes early.  He transferred his gear to my Jeep and we hit the road.

Trail

This really isn't a trail ride in the classic sense of things.  Really, Mike and I were mainly taking a road trip to get down to a couple spots he'd been thinking about and take a walk in the woods.  I figured there had to be at least one opportunity to put the Jeep in 4-LO.  I wasn't planning on airing down or disconnecting, but you never know...

We drove down past Clarksburg and then took Route 20 headed south and east.  At one point we stopped so I could fumble with my Blackberry to see if a nearby cache was within easy reach.  The cache turned out to be perched on the top of a large hill so we continued along.  During the drive we encountered a car on its roof in the ditch with a bunch of helpers standing around.  It appeared nobody was seriously injured and they didn't seem to need any more lookers-on, so we continued on our way.

Kumbrabow State Park Track Legend - Click to Enlarge

I was snowing and the roads had more or less been left untouched.  We took our time and pretty soon we reached the entrance to Kumbrabow State Forest.  A little way in we saw a sign that marked the location of the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) Camp Bowers.  (More information about the C.C.C. may be read here or here.) 

C.C.C. Camp Bowers - Click to Enlarge

 

 

I decided to go further in and see what the camp looked like.  There is one near my home and I was interested to see what similarities might be observed.

Mike in C.C.C. Camp Bowers - Click to Enlarge


C.C.C. Camp Bowers ruinsC.C.C. Camp Bowers ruins


 

By now the now was falling though not as heavily as I had hoped.  We parked off the main road and walked in a ways.

Jeep near C.C.C. Camp Bowers - Click to Enlarge
Jeep near C.C.C. Camp Bowers

There are some areas marked with signs as Wildlife areas.

Wildlife area sign and gateMike in C.C.C. Camp Bowers

Thistle - Click to Enlarge

We crossed a stream and walked up into the woods a ways.  It was quiet and peaceful.  The woods was pretty. 

StreamWildlife area parking and trail
C.C.C. Camp Bowers - Click to Enlarge

After looking around for a few minutes, we headed back to the Jeep and drove further down the main road to the Headquarters.  Mike got a couple trail maps and we continued down the road until we reached the main road.

Kumbrabow Headquarters - Click to Enlarge
Kumbrabow Headquarters SignMike at Kumbrabow Info StationKumbrabow Weapon Rules

Along the way I stopped because I heard something funny up front.  I was hoping the new u-joint I just installed wasn't acting up.  I found simply that the front axle ends were encrusted in ice from driving through a deep puddle.  I carefully chipped it away and found everything back to normal when we continued.

Meat Box Run Picnic AreaMeat Box Run Picnic AreaBridge

Stream
Stream near Raven Rocks - Click to Enlarge

Picnic ShelterPicnic Shelter

Kumbrabow Park Entrance/Exit Sign

Private Ruin
 

Kumbrabow Park Entrance

Back on pavement, we drove into Elkins where we stopped at Pizza Hut to eat and check the maps.  After a good pizza and a break, we took a short side-trip to get a Geocache. 

Elkins Geocache - Click to Enlarge

This one was fairly easy once we got past the brier patch.  We went back to the Jeep and I set a course for Cathedral State Park.

Cathedral State Park Sign - Click to Enlarge

Cathedral State Park Sign

I had driven past the park on one of my trips out to Brandywine.  I was surprised to find when we stopped this time, that there was more than meets the eye.  From the road there is a modest sign and not much indication that there is anything going on.  Perhaps that's as it should be.

What we found is a beautiful wooded plot, albeit somewhat small, but full of the most grand trees.  It appears that many have succumbed to the harsh weather over the last few years as many have lost their tops and some have fallen down.  Still, it was a lush landscape that had a wonderful feel.

Cathedral State Park

Cathedral State ParkCathedral State Park


Field near Cathedral State Park

Field near Cathedral State Park - Click to Enlarge

Cathedral State Park, Partridge Berry Trail - Click to Enlarge
Cathedral State Park, Partridge Berry Trail

Log in Cathedral State Park, Partridge Berry Trail - Click to Enlarge

Cathedral State ParkCathedral State Park
Stream in Cathedral State Park

Cathedral State ParkCathedral State Park

Mountain Laurel in Cathedral State ParkMountain Laurel in Cathedral State Park

Stump in Cathedral State Park

Cathedral State Park - Click to Enlarge

We walked a good part of the park then got back on the road. 

Cathedral State Park - Click to Enlarge

I noticed that my Jeep had developed a vibration that it did not have on the way down.  I would later learn that the rear u-joint on the rear drive shaft had expired.  Fortunately it held up long enough to get us home with no excitement or roadside repair!

Sunset on the way Home - Click to Enlarge

Epilogue

The drive back was interesting.  We talked about a variety of things.  It was another good day in the woods!

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Kumbrabow / Cathedral State Park GPS Data

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