Otter Creek (Two Trips)
08/09/2008 & 08/29/2008
TRAIL DISTANCE - 14.5 & 17 miles
TYPE - Backpack (1 & 2 nights)
This was our first hike in the Otter Creek Area of the Monongahela National Forest. This was a medium length one night trip, starting from the Condon Run trailhead. At times we were literally hiking through tunnels of Rhododendrons, they were everywhere! We well actually just Mike found a very deep bog along the Moore Run Trail, and sunk to above his knees. Getting out of the bog was a chore, but he managed, but he was wet and muddy to the knees. We had to build a bigger fire than usual to dry Mike's boots on a custom pair of boot drying racks, but there was abundant fallen wood to collect. We camped at the intersection of Moore Run Trail and Otter Creek Trail, there are several very nice sites there.
The waterworks of Otter Creek is amazing; no wonder this area sees a lot of hikers. Although we did not swim in it, there is also a nice deep swimming hole down creek from our campsite. While this area can get a bit busy, the site we chose was so secluded we barely noticed anyone else out there.
This area might be busy with people, but
not so much with animals. We did see some very fresh bear scat though.
Never saw the bear, just the poo. We enjoyed this hike so much we went
back three weeks later for a longer visit.
The second trip to this area was planned as a three night trip, but on the first night we discovered we somehow failed to pack the footprint for our tent. The campsite for night #1 was along the edge of an open grassy field near a trail intersection, and the rain started late that night. That was when we decided to shorten the trip because we had moisture issues from not having the footprint, but we didn't let it ruin our fun. Of course, there was a price to pay for cutting the hike short, to shorten the hike we took the Possession Camp Trail, which was not in our original plan, and the going was really tough on that trail. Steep, wet and overgrown best describes that day's hiking.
The second night we camped at the exact same site we stayed at the earlier trip, and it was still very nice and quite secluded, just a little wetter this time, but (fortunately) without the need for the boot drying racks. There was still plenty of firewood, and comfortable seats around the fire pit. After an uneventful evening in the rain, we hit the trail heading for the trailhead parking lot. It sucks cutting a trip short, and on almost any other trip we wouldn't have, but our tent was wicking moisture from the ground through the floor, and wet down sleeping bags are never a good thing (even in the summer).
There are still some trails out here yet
to be explored by us, so we will be back.