“It Was Frightening to Camp in the Wilderness on my Own”
Laura Finch, a local Marlinton Attorney, recently completed a nineteen-day solo hike on the Allegheny Trail, and we thought you would like to hear her describe some of her adventures on the trail.
“I set out on September the 9th to undertake a hike of the entire Allegheny Trail, which is a 287 mile that is currently complete” said Finch. “It will be closer to 330 miles when it is finally completed. From the Mason-Dixon line at the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border to meet the Appalachian Trail just on the other side of Monroe County right inside of Virginia. And altogether completed 168 miles of the trail in the 19 days that I spent hiking.”
What was the most exciting thing you saw on the trail?
“Seeing a Bald Eagle from my tent as I awoke in the Beaver Dam Cooperative Area on what was about the fifteenth day of my hike, was the most exciting that I saw. I had spent the night in a kind of make-shift campsite the night before. There is about 8 miles between road crossings in that part of Randolph County. this section of Glady Fork being North of Route 33, about ten miles East of Elkins. It was probably the second time that I had been out in the wilderness on the trip and not near any residences or in a hiking shelter. And it was frightening to camp in the wilderness on my own. The best way that I can describe it is: you might hear things that alarm you; you might not be able to see as well as you would if you were in town; but you just kind of go to sleep and then you wake up and everything is ok (chuckle.) I had some fear of sleeping in the wilderness alone, but I just sought to overcome it, and I did, and I just want to tell people that might think that it’s extraordinary that I spent 19 days hiking on my own that whatever it is that’s your fear, you can overcome.”
“So, I awoke to a beautiful morning. The Glady Fork was flowing and sparkling and I was treated to a Bald Eagle sighting, which was my first -ever.”
How did that make you feel?
“I just felt that I was surrounded by all of this majesty and I had it all to myself and all of this beauty that I hope others in Pocahontas and the surrounding counties will get out and enjoy. “
What kind of tent did you stay in?
“I had a really simple and inexpensive two-pole setup dome tent which was made for two people. I chose to not buy a lot of new gear for this trip, because I wanted to do my trip on and to show others that they didn’t need to spend a lot of money to get interested in backpacking, so, of my whole kit or setup, my tent was about five pounds. I also had other gear packed with me to make-up about 17.8 pounds dry -which means without water or food. That included my tent; poles; fly; some sleeping clothes that were always kept dry incase everything else got wet; some rain gear like a rain jacket; a rain cover for my backpack; a sleeping bag; sleeping pad; an extra jacket for those cold mornings and of course all my food and the equipment to hand that to keep it safe from Black Bears.”
Be sure to listen for part 2 of this adventure, in which Laura talks about the weather during her hike, some of the people she met on the trail and her travelling companion, Shiloh.