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Monongahela NF & Cass Scenic Railroad

posted Oct 10, 2011, 7:32 AM by Justin P
This weekend, we headed up to West Virginia to see the fall foliage.  We first stopped at Reddish Knob along the West Virginia/Virginia border and took some pictures at the overlook, then continued on.  Our first stop was Seneca Rocks in Spruce Knob/Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area.  We climbed up to the rocks for a quick lunch and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.  The rocks themselves were quite impressive as well.  Then we headed to North Fork Trail.  I bailed about half way through the hike, because it was getting dark and I can't see well in the dark.  After we regrouped, we headed to Spruce Knob Lake campground and set up camp.  In the morning we headed up to Spruce Knob, the highest point in WV, and walked the short trail around the mountain top for more wonderful views of fall colors in the surrounding mountains.

We left the NRA and headed to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park to catch the 12 o'clock train up to Bald Knob.  After going through two switchbacks, the train stopped at Whitaker Station for a short break then headed back up the mountain.  We stopped at Bald Knob for about a half hour and took in the scenic views of the surrounding mountains, then the train headed back down.  It was a very enjoyable train ride with wonderful views.  The weather was fantastic and I think we had the perfect weekend for this trip.  My only complaint about the train ride is the coal smoke.  The steam engines are originals from when Cass was a mill town, and the coal-powered engines produced a lot of smoke.  The engine pushes the train uphill, so the smoke was downwind of the train going up, but the opposite going down, so there was a lot of smoke and embers, particularly on the way down.  My eyes are still a little red and I've been coughing up ash since I've been back.  If I rode the train again, I think I would try to get a seat in the last car, furthest away from the engines.
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