2016 Summer Trip travel blog

Jennings Randolph Lake and surrounding COE area

An overlook along the 1 mile entry road to Robert C. Craig...

Our campsites

Our campsites

COE beach area

COE picnic area

Jennings Lake Dam Water Intake

The Waffle Stone

The Waffle Stone

Tilting at Windmills atop the mountain

Click on thumbnail pics to enlarge.

June 6, 2016. Left Bolar Mountain today bound for Robert C. Craig COE campground in West Virginia. The campground is located on the south side of Jennings Randolph Lake (PIC) between Elk Garden and Keyser, WV. The Maryland/WV line runs down the center of the lake. It was approximately 140 mile drive on 2 and some 4 lane roads – much of it mountain driving.

The campground is comprised of 68 electric sites, shower with hot water and a camp store. The park is immaculate and manicured. Sites are large and level. There are also, within the COE grounds, a large and beautiful picnic area, 2 boat launch areas, a very nice beach and, of course, the dam. There are a couple of high scenic overlooks. There are a number of hiking trails and an archery range.

It is also home to “The Waffle Rock” so named because of the similarity of its surface pattern to an oversized breakfast waffle. There have been numerous theories as to its origin ranging from a prehistoric pictograph, an indian carving, skin pattern impression of a giant lizard or even evidence of an alien visit. Geologists have concluded that it is a natural geological formation of sandstone and rock thrown into large folds during a period of mountain building. Whatever the origin, it is most unusual.

As with our prior stay at Bolar Mountain, the road to the nearest town of size (Keyser, WV) is a most difficult drive. It is a shortcut of about 12 miles – very twisty/hairpin turns and 9 and 10% climbs and descents with nothing but space on the other side of the guardrail. In fact the two lane road is so narrow that there is no room to set the guardrail posts just off the pavement. Instead the posts are placed at an angle to the road on the downhill side of the road. Quite scary. Nearly all of the 12 miles is going up the mountain, maybe a half mile at the ridge and then right back down the mountain.

All along the ridge are dozens electric producing windmills and once up on the ridge the road skirts the bases of some. It is a very strange feeling when climbing a really steep slope, into the sun and under a heavy tree canopy to all of a sudden have this big moving shadow of a giant arm sweeping across the road. One can’t yet see the windmills, only the shadows of the blades. Every evening, coming back from dinner, I was reminded of Don Quixote.

The nearest town, Elk Garden has a population of 150 people and as far as we could tell, the only formal business in town is the US Post Office. No restaurant, fuel, groceries or anything. The other town, some 25 miles away unless you take the ‘over the mountain’ shortcut is Keyser. It is a larger town complete with a Walmart Superstore but we didn’t really see anything remarkable there nor find any distinctive eating places.

The eastern area of W. Virginia is very very beautiful, scenic country. We left Robert C. Craig Campground on Friday, June 10th heading to the DC area of northern Virginia and our next campground at Bull Run Regional Park between Manassas and Centreville, VA.

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