Seneca Creek / Big Run / Lost Meadows
TRAIL DISTANCE - 21 miles
TYPE - Backpack (2 nights)
Wow, this is one trip that will be etched into our minds forever! First of all, Seneca Creek is an amazing area to hike in, with the beautiful water works of the creek, the awesome meadows, and the of course the blackberries. It has it all really, but it can get crowded. Very crowded. We started our 3 day trip on a Sunday with the hopes of beating the crowds, but it was still quite crowded. But for once we didn't mind the crowds because it came in quite handy later on in the hike.
We parked at the Big Run Trailhead, checked
our packs, got our boots on, and got on the trail. The forecast was predicting
some nice weather for the next couple of days with some rain possible
on our last day out. It was a beautiful sunny August day. It was a little
warm out in the full sun while in the meadows, but the light breeze helped
to keep us cool. We arrived at our first campsite located at the intersection
of Swallow Rock Trail and Seneca Creek Trail a little later than expected
because of the condition of Swallow Rock Trail. This downhill section
of trail was only about a mile long but it was extremely
muddy so the hiking was very slow going. By the time we got all of
our camp chores done, we were eating tonight's dinner, trail
nachos, in the dark.
The following day's plan was to hike to the falls on the Seneca Creek Trail and get camp set up. And then we were going to day hike to the Lost Meadows and do some blackberry hunting along the way. When we got to the falls we were surprised to see many groups of hikers already set up near the falls. We hiked further downstream and found a nice campsite. We set up camp and then got on the trail for our day hike. We avoided the Lumberjack Trail because we had read and also heard from hikers on the trail that was basically a mud pit. The Lost Meadows was a rewarding day hike .with the views, and also the blackberries. These will be great with tonight's dessert!
We arrived back at camp with plenty of time left in the day to just relax and chat with fellow hikers. A large group of college students arrived and set up next to us. They were from Adventure WV from West Virginia University. We also met a group of friends from Kentucky who were camped right at the falls. This is the coveted campsite along this section of trail. After dinner and our yummy blackberry shortcake dessert, we proceeded to collect some firewood for the evening. We enjoyed a nice evening by the fire and the sounds of Seneca Creek. And then it started to lightly rain. It was time to store some gear and hang the bear bag and turn in for the evening. This was our second trip out with our new Hennessy Hammocks. And tonight they would get a good test.
We woke up the next morning, with our hammocks and underquilts completely dry, even though it poured all night long. We made some coffee and then walked down to the creek and knew immediately that today's hike out was going to be challenging. It looked like the creek had risen at least two feet overnight. What we had rock hopped a day earlier was now at a mid-thigh level, and the water was moving fast! After a quick breakfast and breaking down camp, we headed back to the upper falls crossing to see what we were in for.
The group from Kentucky was also starting to head out and we all evaluated the situation. We decided to hike out together and have some safety in numbers. The toughest crossing was definitely the first one. Some of the guys lined up and we daisy chained our way across Seneca Creek. We spent the next couple of hours hiking the Seneca Creek Trail sharing trekking poles and helping each other through many water crossings. There was only one "casualty" the entire day. One hiker was about two steps from the end of a crossing when he slipped and fell backwards and was laying there like a turtle. It was slightly funny because he didn't get hurt!
This is definitely a must do hike if you
are in the area. Just be prepared for some tricky (but doable) water crossings
and some muddy trails if rain is in the forecast!