We’ve had the “Cranberry Wilderness” trip on the calendar for a few weeks, and since it has been a whole 3 weeks since we’ve backpacked, we were very much looking forward to visiting the opposite side of the Monongahela National Forrest (a five-hour drive this time). After a terrible drive getting out of the never-ending strings of rush hour traffic in Columbus and Lancaster, we were finally on our way, but now a good two hours behind our planned arrival time. After crossing into West Virginia at sunset, we still had 2-3 more hours to drive.
Shortly after getting to the Charleston area, we were on an exit ramp, approaching the stoplight when something caught Jamie’s eye. He stopped at the light, opened his car door and leaned out. He handed me a pile of bills all folded together. The first thought was “how on earth would we find the owner”? The second thought was, “we would never be able to”. In this case finders keepers!
We had at least 40 miles of winding, hilly, nausea inducing back roads (17 of it heavy gravel, narrow and no guard rails). We finally arrived to the campground in the middle of nowhere, (no cell signal) at 10:40 PM. After depositing $20 in the Dropbox for our site (we paid for 2 nights so that we could just leave our car there safely, while also having a secured site in case we decided not to hike the entire planned loop and needed a place to crash before heading back home.
We started pitching the tent, using the car headlights. The headlights were only on for roughly 10 minutes when the car started going crazy, making odd clicking noises and all the lights and blinkers flashing in a strobe-like fashion. We couldn’t get them to turn off. Jamie pulled fuses right and left and still, the disco continued. We would finally get it to stop after messing with random interior buttons and switches, but once we opened the car door to get out, it would start again. We finally got it to stop and stay off and went to bed knowing that we either needed a jump or a ride to the nearest town once we got up and that our trek there had been futile. Our camping neighbors surely thought a Poltergeist had arrived with all the flickering and flashing going on. After a terrible night of sleep, we got a jump from a neighboring camper and made it to the next town that luckily had an Auto Zone. The meter there confirmed a”bad battery”. $130 later (offset by the $67 Jamie found) we were on our way back home and decided a night at a comedy show is in order. We bought tickets online to the Funny Bone for 7:30 tonite. Tomorrow we will don our small camel-backs and hit some local trails for 10-12 miles and call it a weekend.