I made it to the top of Spruce Knob, the Highpoint of West Virginia at 4,863 feet, on Wednesday afternoon, October 29th, 2003. It was my 15th state highpoint.
The Weather Channel said it would rain this morning and clear in the afternoon and it appeared it was clearing up quicker farther south so I decided to head for Spruce Knob first and then to Backbone Mountain later that afternoon on the way back north. Since it was raining I didnít leave my Motel until 10:00AM and took my time enjoying the scenic country roads of West Virginia. Almost heaven! The thermometer in my car said that the outside temperature was in the mid to upper 40ís until I turned onto Briery Gap Road and started my ascent into the clouds. From the time I left the main road (US 33) until I reached the summit of Spruce Knob at 1:30PM I experienced rain, sleet, snow, fog and the car thermometer showed the outside temperature to be 35 degrees, which is a 10 to 15 degree drop. I retrieved my warmer jacket from the trunk of my car and started walking toward the observation tower. I actually walked through a cloud and didnít think I would be able to see much from the tower but miraculously the skies cleared, the sun came out and I had fantastic views in all directions. I had a similar experience on Wheeler Peak last month. I must have a special guardian angel that is also a highpointer. It was windy on the tower and I noticed some small areas where the snow had accumulated near the base of the tower. I hiked a trail around Spruce Knob enjoying the beauty and solitude of the mountains and forest. I did not see any other people at the highpoint or in the parking lot but I did pass several cars both coming and going on the road to Spruce Knob. This was my favorite highpoint so far, east of the Rockies, and I would like to return to this area someday when I have more time to hike and camp, and perhaps brush up on my rock climbing skills that I havenít practiced in many, many years. I definitely need to take a refresher course before attempting to tackle some of the highpoints in the western states that require technical skills.