Take a moonlight hike at Cass Scenic State Park
For some intrepid hikers, a little winter cold and snow won’t easily slow them down when it comes to taking a walk in the woods. For others, walking in the snow and cold just sounds crazy. Cass Scenic State Park is hoping their Full Moon hikes will entice folks from both groups to come out and take in a little nature during their winter and early spring hikes in February, March and April.
Monica Fleming, Activities Coordinator and Park Naturalist at Cass, explains how the idea came about.
“We were trying to come up with some new things to do here at the park to bring people in, stay in the houses and things during the off season when the trains not running,” said Fleming. “And I had looked at activities at other national parks and things like that around the country and saw that a couple of places were doing full moon hikes.”
Fleming says the hikes tie in nicely with one of the goals for this year set by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
“One of the new initiatives that DNR is doing is the Chief’s Challenge, which is one hundred miles this year and a certain number of those miles have to be with a park naturalist or a park activity,” she said. “So I thought let’s do a Full Moon hike; see how we do.”
“Our first one will be this month on the 22nd [of February] and we’re just going to walk down the Greenbrier River Trail in the dark and see what happens.”
Hikers will depart from the Cass Visitors Center located near the company store. The hike starts at 6pm and will cover a portion of the Greenbrier River Trail to Mile Marker 79 and back, which is about 3 miles. There is a 20 person limit for each hike, and there is no charge to participate in the hike. For the first hike on February 22nd, Fleming suggests that you dress appropriately.
“Dress warmly, because with all the snow we’ve been getting, it’ll probably be cold,” she said. “I will probably go down the trail the day before and see what it’s like and hopefully we’ll be able to walk on it; shouldn’t need snowshoes or anything like that. Probably wear snow boots if there is snow and/or hiking boots. Bring some water for is you get thirsty, snacks if you need them; should be pretty flat since we will be on the Greenbrier River Trail.”
Fleming gives some additional information about the 2016 Chief’s Challenge.
“If you go to the [WV]State Parks website, there is a hiking link that you can go to and sign up and there is a log sheet that you can download, log your own miles and then if you’re doing one of the naturalist or park sponsored hikes, the park naturalist or the person doing that hike will sign that for your ten miles out of the hundred that have to be with a naturalist,” she said.
The WV state parks website is wvstateparks.com. Moonlight Hikes are also scheduled for March 23rd and April 22nd. Fleming said that these hikes will also continue monthly through October, but those dates have not yet been posted.
Here is the link to sign up for the hikes: www.cassrailroad.com/registration_hikes.html