SECTION 2 UPDATE DECEMBER 2008

By Doug Wood

            Durbin is home to a nice campground from which you can access numerous trailheads within just a few miles.  The Allegheny Trail passes right beside East Fork Campground, which has ample room for car camping, a hot shower, modern toilets, picnic tables, and fire pits.  Check out the campground athttp://www.eastforkcampgrounddurbin.com/.  The proprietors, Mark and Marsha Kane, are very nice folks.  They also run the local hardware store, another useful place to visit if you are hiking or biking in the area.  The store carries some useful items for recreationists.  Also check out the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley RR website for trips on the rail lines that run along Greenbrier and Shavers Fork Rivers: http://mountainrail.meer.net/index.html

In October 2008, Wildell Shelter (MP 51.04) looked a bit bear-beaten, but the roof was keeping water out.  A territorial male bear had been gnawing on the wall boards, so a few were splintered.  During the Allegheny Trek in October 2008, the Shavers Mountain portion of the trail (Section 2 N-S MPs 49.94 to 65.09) was poorly marked with blazes, but the tread was fairly clear, with only a few spots that caused consternation due to multiple possible routes.  In a gap near the old Camp 48 Trail (MP 52.74), the ALT was disturbed by recent logging on private property.  It appeared that the logging was not completed, so you should expect to find your way with some difficulty between MPs 52.74 and 53.80 until the logging is finished and the trail gets blazed again.  A bit further south, a previous lumbering operation (> 10 yrs.) on private property exposed some beautiful views of the West Fork/Greenbrier River valley to the southeast, and the trail at this location was on a grassy logging road.  At MP 53.80, the ALT Hiking Guide advises there are “spectacular views to the east for next 00.50 miles.”  Indeed, at one point along this portion of the trail I could see Yokum, Phares, and Cunningham Knobs in the midground, and the spine of Allegheny Mountain just north and south of Spruce Knob, the highest point in the Mountain State, in the background. 

There were several blowdowns across the ALT on Shavers Mountain.  Most were easily skirted or stepped over, but a few were difficult to negotiate.  There were some fairly new carsonite posts marking several trail junctions and distances to landmarks along the way.  Forest Service staff erected these posts, and they are very helpful, but some of the mileages are a bit off.


UPDATE: As of November 2009

"The tread at the southern ascent/descent of Shavers Mountain is still very difficult (Guidebook map caption: Section 2 N/S Map 14 Milepoints 63.34-66.09).  Watch for loose scree and narrow tread, especially near the top of the ridge.”  

“As of Nov. 8, 2009, Glady Fork from MPs 16.80 to 23.10 & 34.10-38.80 is in fairly good condition with minimal underbrush issues.  A few blowdowns, almost all are easily stepped over or sidestepped.  Blazes could use touch-up in a few spots, so pay attention as you travel old RR grades for turns of the trail off the grades.  A few climbs and descents away from the river still suffer from sloughed sidehill tread.  This can be tough on ankles & knees, so take your time.”  

UPDATE: As of January 2014

From Blackwater Falls State Park through Canaan Mountain has some minor rerouting that has been blazed as well as trail improvements and is easy to follow to Canaan State park then on road to Gladwin where it meets Glady Creek.  From this point at MP 16.5 hiking south has problems all the way to US RT33 with blow down, some very large.  Super Storm Sandy, the Derecho and an unusual late August 2013 flash flood makes for a rough going along much of this stretch but had been blazed as of 2012 and 2013.  Another troubled spot is south of RT33 at MP 39.5 for next 1.5 miles hiking south and is difficult to follow at mile 40.0 for about ½ mile.  This section was blazed in 2012 and 2013 but many of the blazed trees are down.  Blazed trees tend to blow down first for some unknown reason, must be the weight of the blaze that topples them.  From where the trail crosses Glady Fork to Cass has been cleared, cleaned & blazed and is an outstanding hike.  Shavers Mountain and the ridge running alongside the Astronomy Observatory can get nasty with seasonal downed trees but was in good shape and well blazed in summer of 2013.  The ‘High Water Route’ blue blazes have been replaced with the standard yellow blazes and has been cleared and actually has better woods hiking than the regular route, the down fall is hikers must travel US 250 for two miles.

When in troubled spots look hard for blazes because they may be on blow downs and look backwards for blazes as you hike to get through the rough spots.

Anybody interested in working on either Section One or Section Two contact Greg Edwards at greg@stratuswave.net or 724-428-4456.  I work those areas and can adjust schedule to accommodate volunteers.