Ascent of Cacapon Mountain-Ridge Benchmark on 2005-08-03

Climber: Scott Surgent

Others in Party:Beth
Date:Wednesday, August 3, 2005
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cacapon Mountain-Ridge Benchmark
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:2320 ft / 707 m

Ascent Trip Report

From Berkeley Springs, we drove south on US-551 and in twenty minutes, entered into the Cacapon Mountains State Park. The highpoint of Morgan County is nearby the road that starts here in the state park, leading to a lookout tower and platform. I got turned around on the maze of roads, eventually finding the main Visitor's Center, where they gave me directions to the desired road.

We followed a decent dirt road south as it gained elevation, sometimes steeply. After a few miles, the road bends north near a batch of radio towers and goes another half-mile to a large parking area and the lookout deck. We spent a few minutes at the lookout, being the only ones there. On the drive out, we sought the highpoint of Morgan County. The highpoint is a benchmark set into a rock outcrop just 20 feet off the road.

This benchmark, called "Ridge", is at the extreme southeast corner of Morgan County and is also a corner of the state of Virginia, where it tucks into West Virginia at its eastern panhandle. We had to look carefully, but soon we found the right rock outcrops and shortly found the benchmark. We gingerly stepped into the brush and leaf bed of the forest, keeping an eye out for the snakes, which we were sure were here by the hundreds. We walked to the benchmark, which is surrounded by a cairn of white rocks. I tagged it first then Beth tagged it.

At this point I was standing a few feet from her, while she stood on the rocks. She stood tall and looked me in the eye and reminded me that 99.95% of all the women in the world would not even remotely consider putting up with this crap and that I should count myself lucky that she actually kind of likes finding these odd-ball geographical points of interest. I agreed and suggested it be best we get moving so as to avoid the amassing hordes of snakes. But she stood firm and reminded me again ... and again, and made me agree, which I heartily did. I also felt I could agree better and in greater depth and detail once safely back in our vehicle, safe from snakes. I got a lecture at a highpoint! I love the hell out of my wife.

After the lecture, we walked the 20 feet to our car. We also chatted with some others driving up, trying to explain what we were doing. Views at the highpoint are of just the rocks and forest, but views back at the lookout and on the drive up are pretty.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5 ft / 1 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.1 mi / 0.2 km
    Trailhead:2315 ft / 705 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country

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