Kanawha State Forest is a 4.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Charleston, West Virginia that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
cross country skiing
Today is Saturday, April 29, and I am hiking
alone up Johnson Hollow in Kanawha State Forest.
The forest is alive with the sounds of many
different kinds of birds. I haven't been hiking in
a while and this brief respite to write is a
welcome chance to catch my breath from the hill
I have just climbed.
I had forgotten how pretty the bloom is of the
Trillium and some of the other wildflowers. I came
upon a very large Beech tree beside the trail early
on my hike and I was amazed that nobody had carved
their initials or promise of undying love into the
bark of the tree. We always called the beech tree
an Initial Tree, so prevalent is the practice of
inscribing one's initials on them.
Onward and upward, I make frequent short stops
to catch my breath, to listen, to observe my
surroundings. The sounds of the birds and of the
stream are very pleasant. The sound of an
occasional airplane reminds me that there are lots
of other people a relatively short distance away.
I plan to hike nearly five miles and am
annoyed when I find some litter someone left behind early into my hike. Someone could have carried it to a trash receptacle in the
picnic area about 100 yards away but instead left
it behind. I pick it up and put it in a plastic
Kroger bag and tie it to my knapsack to carry it
with me for the next four and one half miles so
that I can put it in it's place. So far the trail
is very litter free. I subscribe to the statement
I so often observed at the Cranberry Wilderness
Area, one of my favorite outdoor locations, "Please
carry out what you carry in." Even better, I try
to carry out more than I carry in, a practice I
learned early in my life from my father. If I
don't, who will? Leave only footprints, take only
pictures and also any litter you might chance upon.
After crossing the main forest service road
and reaching more easily accessible areas I realize
I will not be able to recover all the litter I
encounter that was left behind by others. However,
it is still gratifying to me to know that the woods
are a little cleaner and closer to their natural
state for my efforts.
Having encountered several large trees during
my hike I concur with others who have expressed the
opinion that it would be best to keep loggers out
of Kanawha State Forest.
To choose which trails to follow I used the
trail guide, "Fifty Hikes in West Virginia" by Jim
and Ann McGraw. A useful guide, at least for this
hike the book was published in 1986 and the white
blazes mentioned in the book are gone or were
overlooked by me and are replaced by orange(Johnson
Hollow Trail) and red(Pigeon Roost Trail).
However, the other directions were good enough to
make staying on the trails easy. Johnson Hollow
Trail and Pigeon Roost Trail are also marked at
trail intersections with good signs. On Pigeon
Roost Trail I encountered a large beech tree that
has been used as an "Initial Tree" which appeared
to have one date inscribed back in 1916 although I
could not be certain.
If you go hiking beware of the poison ivy
which was plentiful along the trails although
easily avoidable if you know what it looks like.
Also a good plan is to let someone know where you
plan to hike and when you plan to return. Have fun
and enjoy the outdoors.