January 12, 2013.

January was unusually warm, so a few of us set out from Davis & Elkins College to find a nearby trail to hike. We ended up at the Shingletree Trail, which is right off of the road on the way from Elkins to Parsons; it’s on the left not long after you cross into Tucker County.

899_10200528998972150_1056553811_nHe was clearly eager to hike. The trail leads into the forested area and beings a slow uphill climb. Not too far into the trail, you’ll come upon an area that’s been clearcut with a very steep downhill slope on the lefthand side. The trail is very narrow here and it looks like a powerline is the reason for the clear-cut. Not exactly what you want to see at the beginning of a trail….

The trail continues deeper into the valley and descends downhill next to a creek, then levels out. You’ll come to an old forest road (or railroad grade- it’s very flat and wide.) However, when we went, we found a massive pond across the entire thing due to recent rains and melting snow.

406011_10200528996692093_1727060971_nThe air was warm, but the pond was still frozen on top. It was narrow at the base, but impossible to pass due to brush on either side of the wider section. The night was also setting in, as we got a late start, so we turned back at this point – not that we could have gone any further due to the pond. I’m guessing that this pond isn’t normally there.

543431_10200528996732094_149917001_nAfter a few attempts of trying to get an action shot of the ice breaking, we headed back down the same path we’d used to hiked in. The trail does have a few tree obstructions, but they’re not hard to climb over. Coyotes began howling down in the hollow as we made our way past the clearcut section and to the car. Parking is across the road from the trail in a gravel section beside the road.