May 6 - AEP Land

Crash site of the airship USS Shenandoah. It crashed in 1925.


Today I hiked 19 miles to land owned by the American Electric Power company.

Once again the route today was mainly on back roads except for a five mile woods hike in Wolf Run State Park and a mile or so in AEP land.


The Buckeye Trail went by a monument marking the spot where  the USS Shenandoah crashed in 1925. The USS Shenandoah was a helium filled airship. It crashed on a windy day in September and parts of the wreckage was found 13 miles away. Over a dozen men died in the crash but many men survived. This crash ended the dirigible program for the United States.


The trail through Wolf Run State Park was very enjoyable. The trail was well maintained and easy to follow. Somebody has been doing lots of good trail work here. The route was along Wolf Run Lake which was quite scenic. I saw no other hikers.


In the town of Belle Valley I grabbed a quick bite to eat. The lady working at the restaurant was very nice. She asked if I was hiking the Buckeye Trail. It feels good to be asked this. This means the local people know about the trail and can spot hikers.


When I left the restaurant I spotted dark storm clouds on the horizon. I decided to wait a bit before leaving town. Soon a short and intense rain came. I took refuge in the lobby of the post office. I waited and hour for the storm to come and go.


The AEP lands are former strip mine lands which have been reclaimed. The lands are open for recreation and the Buckeye Trail goes through it. I think this is one of the longest off-road sections on the BT.


Before entering the AEP lands I stopped by a farm to get water. A lady was heading out to collect eggs from the hen house. She let me fill my water bottles from a faucet in the cattle barn. She said she is the last house before the AEP lands. I was quite lucky to see her and get water at this last chance stop.


The mile or so in AEP land was enjoyable until I entered a grassy field. The blue blazes just ended. I can't figure out which way to go. No trail in the grass, no blue blazes to follow and lots of open strip mine area. This is a problem to solve tomorrow.

I set up camp and got in bed before the next rain shower arrived.