Well, we drove down to Spruce Knob Mountain Center on monday – it took right around 5 1/2 hours to get there, and Andros did wonderfully. We got there right around 5pm, and met Dave Martin. He took us up to the dorms and the main yurts, and so we just ate dinner and hung out and then went to bed. Its a beautiful area, and was especially so with the snow.
Its very remote – the closest town being 9 miles away (six miles down 28/10, a forest service road, and then 3 miles up 28), though it doesn’t even have a post office. The next town, 3 miles up the road, Circleville, is where they get their mail. But the closest place with a decent grocery store is Franklin, an hour away, or Elkins 1.5 hours away. In between are several tiny towns, Seneca Rocks, and miles apon mile of national forest.
The mountain center itself though, is pretty cool. Most of the buildings are yurts, including the main one which houses the the kitchen, dining area, library and a “bubble” at the top from which you can see the night sky. Its also connected (via a short walk way) to the other big yurt which is just one big open room where they can have lectures, classes, whatever. Its pretty cool. From there, there are two dorms, each of which can house aprox 20 people, as well as several small yurts which are usually indivudual residences for field staff and/or visiting “dignitaries” over the summer. Some of them have had wood stoves in them in the past, which is how most everything is heated (except for the bathrooms which do have a gas heater). Theres also a few other buildings, including a geo-dome, several sheds, the main office and another all-season residence.
Overall its a pretty cool setup, very rustic but cool. The only thing that bothers me at all is just how remote it is. Andros wasn’t feeling very good while we were there (and still seems a bit more fussy/upset than usual), and it kind of made me worry about what would happen if he were to get really sick, or hurt or something. Other than that… its awesome. I’m not sure I’d really want to stay there over the winter, but during the spring/summer/fall? I think it’d be very cool.
The drive back took about 2 hours longer than the drive down, due to very, very bad weather. It took over two hours to get to Elkins. When we left they hadll like 6-8″ of snow and it was still snowing. So, probably a good thing we left when we did. The roads were horrible till we got to Elkins and then pretty bad through till we got to 79. So, its good to be home again. Very, very good to be home.
We still haven’t decided if we really want to do it or not. I think we probably will tell them we’re interested. But we’ll see. It’d be a change thats for sure… one heck of a change!