The Path Less Traveled #012: Conflicts of ADVenture
Andrew D 05.17.21
Conflicts of ADVenture
Ever been in a circumstance where one task prevented others from occurring? This was me over the weekend, having a conflict of ADVenture
interest motorcycle riding and trying to maximize recreation during camping. While fun was had, I still longed for more and unsure how to achieve it.
Welcome to our recurring series of “The Path Less Traveled.” In this series, we want to take you along for our exploits out in the wilderness while hiking, camping, exploring, and general adventuring. This will include our small daily victories, foibles, tips, tricks, and reviews of gear we authentically appreciate and frequently utilize. While a well-worn trail can often be the pathway to a leisurely day, the paths less traveled can often spur on some of the greatest memories, misadventures, and fun we could imagine. Join us in the Comments as we share our travels, and hopefully, we can all come together for a greater appreciation of the outdoors.
Ghost Town, Ahoy
I headed out to a ghost town located a few miles away from one of the best known ski resorts in the nation. The town of Spruce has been abandoned since the 1950s and is nearing its ability to be recognized as a place other once lived. I rode my motorcycle due to the roads being so gnarly, it’d take a truck (that I don’t have) to get there if the municipal road didn’t have a gate across it. This is a heated topic in West Virginia, but this site’s all about
firearms the outdoors, not politics. Due to this, I took a 2.5hr motorcycle ride to Snowshoe, WV, and hit some of the gnarliest municipal roads I’ve seen in a while right before sundown. A few minutes in, I experienced one of these municipal roads blocked.
The Name is Spruce – Spruce, WV
Spruce, West Virginia was a logging town that helped build America with its paper and wood products; it has been abandoned for at least 70 years. Saplings have been planted all over, and I’m betting in a decade or so, the place will be indistinguishable from any other patch of forest. Not sure if that was the area’s intention, but there is a tourism aspect to the location. A private train, the Durbin Rocket, makes a stop through Spruce – even installing port-a-potties and a bus-stop like depot spot.
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Once getting off of the municipal road, you have to cross two creeks. One of them is washed out and can reach 8-24″ depending on the time of year. The other is 6-10″ deep. Being a newer motorcycle rider, I took them a little too fast, resulting in the legs of my pants getting wet. Shoes stayed dried despite the frequent potholes and water patches I disregarded when going too quick on fire roads.
In the “town” of Spruce, one can read various placards meant for tourists and visitors to learn info about the area’s history. If you’re wanting to camp here, I would have recommended pitching in the “bus stop” with a freestanding tent when the train is not expected to come through; there’s even a small fire ring and dried wood.
My plan was to camp in Spruce and find some trails to hike the next day in the morning. Unfortunately, I never really considered what to do with my Honda
Trail 125 CT125 when I’m wanting to go hiking… I even brought hiking clothes, as a riding jacket and armored jeans aren’t fun to do miles in. The motorcycle weighs less than 250lb, and I could imagine some guy throwing it into his truck, or a substance user finding a way to abscond with it.
Adapting to Circumstances
Knowing I wasn’t going to leave my CT125 anywhere, I decided to explore the area more in-depth. Found some pretty neat artifacts of a culture long past. I’m not saying I felt like Indiana Jones, Benjamin Gates, or Rick O’Connell, but I did cross a narrow pipe across a treacherous stream.
The rewards? This giant pond likely has fish. I saw a few small fish in the creek, but was unable to identify them. This pond looks like a honeypot for anyone wanting to cast a line in the middle of nowhere.
Found some remains of buildings, some of these appeared to be a bouldering/climber’s dream. Neat structures of brick and decaying concrete that were uncomfortable for me to climb, but I’m sure someone with experience would have a blast!
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Wandering around, I found a clandestine campsite nuzzled in between a group of pines, equipped with a fire ring and a decaying 4-person tent. I’ve always heard pine needles and trees are abundant with chiggers, so there was a sense of hesitancy to camp here.
Ultimately, the fire ring was too enticing, and I forded the creek a second and third time to bring my gear and food over. I reflected upon my childhood when doing this, and wondered if all those people (and oxen) who died on the Oregon Trail felt the same level of cautiousness as I did when crossing.
Setting up camp on the other side of the stream, I was able to cook my dinner in a way that felt more like Corporal’s Corner than my typical methodology. I’m sure the commenter who recommended me make a recipe with Meat ‘n Taters. (Humor)
The night sky was dark and clear. I saw deer grazing in one of the clear fields by the giant pond when packing out. The temperature had dropped 20-some degrees, and thank God my riding jacket kept the wind off my chest.
Reflecting on ADVenture Motorcycle Camping
Motorcycle camping is a different ball game. The benefits are out of this world for reaching places farther and faster than one’s own legs can take them. You’re able to take paths (depending on the motorcycle) narrow enough that hand-guards are necessary, rocky elevation and legalities are about the only limit as to where you can go. The greatest benefit is the amount of cargo you can bring with you! Grams are (nearly) inconsequential, as there are ***ENTER HOWEVER MANY HORSEPOWER YOUR MOTORCYCLE HAS*** under your legs to haul it. I can see why Pack Goats are becoming popular for hiking and hunting.
The downfalls are not immense, but they do inhibit one’s ability to explore the backcountry as much as one would like. I am not sure whether it is my own insecurities with leaving a motorcycle behind when hiking for an hour or two, but I just can’t do it. I’ve left a kayak and/or John boat tied to a tree while exploring potential trail before; the last time I’ve done this was… 2007? I’m not sure if this was a reckless or naive thing to do at that time, as it felt safe at the time. It just doesn’t feel safe getting off a motorcycle and partaking in other events that leave it behind in the middle of nowhere. Maybe I should have ridden it a few hundred feet into the woods and locked to a tree (that could be sawed through in minutes?) What do you think? How do you feel about leaving your motorcycle behind in the middle of nowhere for an hour or two?