Random (but not really)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hiking WV: Canaan Mountain Wilderness

It was a gorgeous day for a hike in Canaan. And also for wandering around Davis, after eating ice cream.

Location: Canaan Mountain Backcountry
Trail: Table Rock Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles
Elevation: 3385-3500 feet
Temperature: 72 F

20170819_Canaan_Wilderness_022

20170819_Canaan_Wilderness_012

20170819_Canaan_Wilderness_028

20170819_Canaan_Wilderness_002

Written by Michelle at 8:58 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls & Canaan Valley SPs

Most of our hiking was with small people this weekend, so they were short, easy hikes.

We did do one hike for ourselves–I’ve wanted for awhile to scramble down to the falls that are visible across the gorge from Pendleton Point. So, we did.

The Canaan Valley SP hike is one I highly recommend for small people. It’s short, it’s relatively flat, and it’s gorgeous.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Blackwater River Trail
Distance: 0.9 miles
Elevation: 3252-3337 feet

20170805_Blackwater_Falls_104

Here’s the hike we did for me.

Location: Blackwater Falls
Trail: Elekala Falls and off trail
Distance: 0.9 miles
Elevation: 3031-3219 feet

Here are the main falls, the ones directly below the lodge.

20170804_Blackwater_Falls_011

The next set of falls:

20170804_Blackwater_Falls_018

Next falls down:

20170804_Blackwater_Falls_042

Hey look! Pendleton Point!

20170804_Blackwater_Falls_037

And finally the section of falls visible from Pendleton Point:

20170804_Blackwater_Falls_051

The scramble wasn’t awful, but the rhododendron is thick, which always makes things difficult.

I wouldn’t mind going down when it was a little drier, just so I could explore a little more. (This is me: I refuse to clamber along falls when there is a fast flow of water. Because I’m not a complete idiot.)

Written by Michelle at 6:27 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Books of July!

Where on earth did the summer go? Jeesh.

Favorite reads of the month were actually a lot of newly published books. (Although there was plenty of re-reading.)

Cold Reign by Faith Hunter is the latest Jane Yellowrock book, and I do love that series. The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch, which is the latest novella in the Rivers of London series. Which I also love. Which means I also loved Rivers of London Volume 3: Black Mould by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan, which is the comic series. And finally Where the Dead Lie by C.S. Harris, which is the latest in the Sebastian St Cyr series.

Historical Mystery

Some Danger Involved (2004) Will Thomas
Sebastian St Cyr
Where the Dead Lie (2017) C.S. Harris

Supernatural Fantasy

Rivers of London
The Furthest Station (2017) Ben Aaronovitch
Jane Yellowrock
Cold Reign (2017) Faith Hunter

Supernatural Romance

Hidden Legacy
Burn for Me (2014) Ilona Andrews
White Hot (2017) Ilona Andrews
Wildfire: A Hidden Legacy Novel (2017) Ilona Andrews
The Edge
On the Edge (2009) Ilona Andrews
Bayou Moon (2010) Ilona Andrews
Fate’s Edge (2011) Ilona Andrews

Comics

Rivers of London Volume 3: Black Mould (2017) Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan
Princeless Vol. 1: Short Stories Collection
Princeless: Make Yourself

So I mostly read eBooks this month, although two of the comics were in paper format. And there were six re-reads, because I’m in one of those funks where I don’t know what I want to read.

Genre-wise, a bit more variety this month.

Fantasy : 10
Romance : 6
Comic : 3
Mystery : 2
YA : 2

The romance was all supernatural romance, and all Ilona Andrews. Which is perfectly fine.

Male didn’t pull ahead that much, but female authors didn’t particularly catch up, since half of what I read was Ilona Andrews, which is a jointly written series.

Male : 3
Female : 2
Anthology : 2
Joint : 6

And those are the books of July. My favorite books were the latest additions to series, so I don’t recommend starting there. But there are plenty of books out there, and you can always start those series I love!

Written by Michelle at 8:19 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Some of my Favorite Pictures from the Weekend

I didn’t get solo pictures of each kid, because my time was short and there were various schedule issues. But these are some of the pictures that I loved.

20170806_Blackwater_Falls_268

20170806_Blackwater_Falls_294

20170806_Blackwater_Falls_305

20170806_Blackwater_Falls_236

20170806_Blackwater_Falls_225

20170805_Blackwater_Falls_135

20170806_Blackwater_Falls_259

20170806_Blackwater_Falls_292

And that was MY past weekend.

Written by Michelle at 2:19 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Where Are All the Women Authors? Again with This?

It seems that yet another white male is saying there are a lack of female authors in SFF, so that’s why SFF movies by women just don’t get made.

No, I shan’t line to the original article, but here is the discussion I came across: Stop Erasing Women’s Presence in SFF

Interestingly, most of the comments are people boggled by the writer of the original article not being aware of, say, JK Rowling. And then the commenter goes off to list their favorite five or ten female authors. There are a LOT of different female authors listed throughout that thread.

So this is where I once again completely geek out.

I read a LOT. You know that.

I also love geeking out. You know that too.

So you might remember that years ago (good grief, 14 years ago) I started keeping track of the books I read, and then later started tracking various information about those books–the gender of the author, the genre of the books, etc.

That means that I have a LOT of data on my personal reading habits. Which I love to manipulate. (Because: geek)

I know this is a confusing chart–I’m looking at two different types of data so I pared things down quite a bit. Here’s how to understand what you’re looking at.

The stacked bar charts are showing the gender of the author: women on the top, men on the bottom, multi-author books in the middle. That pink slice? Women who write under male pseudonyms.

You can see that I tend to read more female authors than male authors in any given year, but that sometimes I read more books written by men, but at no time have less than 40% of the books I’ve read been written by women.

The lines are the genre of the book of read. You can see that I predominantly read fantasy (Green line), but I also read a lot of mystery (red line). As romance is predominantly written by women, that line is pink. (Don’t try to figure out the numbers here, a book can have multiple genres–FREX I have a have a deep love for supernatural mysteries.)

So what is the point of this? It shows you that I read predominantly female authors, and the majority of my reading tends to be fantasy (although some years mysteries win out.)

Yes, I do re-read books a lot, but I am not re-reading the same fantasy book by the same female author over and over again (I rarely re-read them same book twice in a year).

It also shows that genre and gender are relatively independent. Yes, romance novels are mostly written by women. Yes, most comics are written by men. But since most of my reading is of fantasy and mystery, those categories are gender independent.

I have also complied a list of female authors I have read, across all genres.

That list currently has 275 authors on it. If you’re looking for something to read by a female author, I think you’d be able to at least one book on that list you’d like.

So next time some guy says there aren’t any good female authors, you can assure them there are quite a few, and perhaps recommend one or twenty books for them.

Written by Michelle at 5:15 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Geek  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Flower Pr0n!

Flowers are from the Cranberry Wilderness and the Falls of Hills Creek.

The way the light turned out, I almost feel embarrassed looking at this display of naughty bits.

20170715_Cranberry_Wilderness_046

Lots of Bee Balm

20170716_Falls_Hills_Creek_091

20170715_Cranberry_Wilderness_049

Is this a white Bee Balm? Because that’s what it looks like to me.

20170715_Cranberry_Wilderness_054

Written by Michelle at 7:47 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Hiking WV: Cranberry Wilderness

We’ve wanted to do a long hike in the Cranberry Wilderness for quite awhile, however, a 2+ hour drive, then a long hike, then another 2+ hour drive was… unappealing.

So we’ve spent the past couple months gather things we’d need for an overnight trip where there aren’t hotels, Michael rented a tent from the Rec Center, and we were off!

Location: Cranberry Wilderness
Trails: North-South and Lick Branch trails and FR 76
Distance: 9.6 miles
Elevation: 2552-3795 feet (1618 feet elevation gain)

One of the books I have recommend this hike in the opposite direction.

No.

The direction we went–North-South trail followed by Lick Creek Trail and then taking the road back is the way you want to do this look.

First, the North South trail is fine, but it’s steep from the campsite to the ridgeline–about a 9% grade. And although it’s pleasant enough, it’s not the most rewarding view.

Although we did amuse ourselves.

20170715_Cranberry_Wilderness_006

That sign? It’s warning you that no motorized vehicles are allowed on the Wilderness.

20170715_Cranberry_Wilderness_005

There is another sign, in a wide view showing you the the surrounding trail.

There is no way you could GET a motorized vehicle to where these signs were, unless it was a hovercraft, and even then it’d be chancy. There were endless fallen trees, lots of going through narrow passages etc.

So, I giggled every time I saw those signs someone was forced to place in an area already inaccessible to motorized vehicles.

Also found a newly placed marker!

20170715_Cranberry_Wilderness_009

And several swarms of butterflies.

20170715_Cranberry_Wilderness_015

But, it wasn’t anything spectacular. No views down into the various valleys, etc.

Here is the start of Lick Creek at the top of the Lick Creek trail. Now things are starting to get pretty!

20170715_Cranberry_Wilderness_019

And this is the end of the trail–pretty much visible from the forest road (and by road, I mean Fire Trail type road, closed to cars but accessible in an emergency).

20170715_Cranberry_Wilderness_027

Why put the prettiest thing at the start of the strenuous part of the hike? What is your reward for finishing? A 9% grade? Bah humbug.

Additionally, since the last couple miles were on the forest road, that meant we were able to stretch our legs and walk out the kinks from the ascent and descent. Nice! And the road is along the river! So pretty!

So my recommendation is start this loop from the gate. Unless you’re a masochist, in which case this probably isn’t a long or miserable enough hike for you, so why bother?

Written by Michelle at 7:14 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Yesterday kept threatening thunderstorms all day, so no hiking. So today we went down to the Mont Chateau trail. The creek was running really high.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Rock City, Ridge, Mont Chateau, Rhododendron Trails
Distance: 4.3 miles
Elevation: 1497-2107 feet (724 feet gain)
Temperature: 68-72 F

This is where I usually build my rock piles. As you can see, everything previous was washed away.

20170709_Coopers_Rock_046

Much deeper water than normal. Plus MUCH colder.

20170709_Coopers_Rock_038

Water was cascading down both sides of the split. Not fast enough to be dangerous, but fast enough for me to be extra careful.

20170709_Coopers_Rock_002

Nature left this, perhaps in compensation for knocking down all my rock piles.

20170709_Coopers_Rock_019

Written by Michelle at 7:08 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Books of June

Why yes, I have been hiking a lot, so not that many books this month.

Best books of the month? I’d say Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley is the sequel to The Rook and just as good. The other was Passionate Minds: Emilie du Chatelet, Voltaire, and the Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment by David Bodanis which I really enjoyed.

Graphic Novel

Mockingbird Vol. 2: My Feminist Agenda (2017) Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk
Rivers of London: Detective Stories #4.1 (2017) Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan, Luis Guerrero, Mack Chater
Princeless Vol. 4: Be Yourself (2015) Jeremy Whitley, Emily Martin and Brett Grunig

Fantasy

Stiletto (2016) Daniel O’Malley

Threads of Malice
(2005) Tamara Siler Jones

Non-Fiction

Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist (1994) Dr. William Maples
Passionate Minds: Emilie du Chatelet, Voltaire, and the Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment (2006) David Bodanis

Audio Books

Sanibel Flats (1990/2010) Randy Wayne White narrated by  Dick Hill
Legion: Skin Deep, Audio Version (2014) Brandon Sanderson narrated by  Oliver Wyman

How did things break down?

Ebooks and audio books, although a single paper graphic novel snuck in there.

Trade Paperback: 1
eBook: 6
Audio: 2

Genre-wise there was a fair amount of variety this month.

Fantasy: 5
Mystery: 2
Comic: 3
Non-Fiction: 2
History: 1

Male authors are still ahead. We’ll see how the rest of the year pans out.

Male: 6
Female: 2
Anthology: 1

Written by Michelle at 3:54 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Because Michael had to go into work yesterday, we didn’t get out to the woods until late, so we took the Iron Furnace trail, which is rocky but much less steep, down to the Mont Chateau Trail, and then played around in the creek for awhile.

Because what’s the point of being an adult if you can’t play in the creek?

Location: Coopers Rock
Trails: Iron Furnace, Mont Chateau Trails
Distance: 3.4 miles
Elevation: 1517-1946 feet (810 feet gain)
Temperature: 79-78 F

Last week’s storm knocked down my rocks, so I stacked up more.

20170702_Coopers_Rock_009

20170702_Coopers_Rock_025

20170702_Coopers_Rock_032

I would have stayed longer if I wasn’t worried about stumbling on my way out in the dark.

Written by Michelle at 1:42 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday Flower Pr0n

Happy Sunday! Have some flower pr0n!

20170701_Botanic_Garden_007

20170701_Botanic_Garden_002

20170702_Flowers_017

20170702_Flowers_013

20170702_Flowers_012

Written by Michelle at 11:04 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls

Since we were already in the area, we decided to stop by Blackwater Falls and see what the heavy rainfall was producing.

It produced a lot of water going over the falls and down the river.

We didn’t hike any full trails, just wandered out to spots that I knew would be pretty.

20170625_Blackwater_Falls_010

20170625_Blackwater_Falls_014

20170625_Blackwater_Falls_034

20170625_Blackwater_Falls_031

Written by Michelle at 8:59 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley

I really like the Blackwater Trail at Cannan Valley SP. It’s a very short trail, with almost no elevation gain, but it goes through three different kinds of landscape–the prettiest of which is beside the winding Blackwater River. If you’re looking for a trail to take small kids, this is the one you want.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Blackwater Trail
Distance: 1.0 miles
Elevation: 3213-3275 feet

20170625_Canaan_Valley_013

20170625_Canaan_Valley_017

20170625_Canaan_Valley_014

20170625_Canaan_Valley_026

Written by Michelle at 8:52 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hiking WV: Dolly Sods

We managed to spent the night in Canaan, so we took a long hike at Dolly Sods (most of our Saturday hikes are limited by the fact we have to drive 2-3 hours there and then 2-3 hours home after hiking). So it was nice to know that we could have until we were tired and not have to worry about a long drive afterwards.

Location: Dolly Sods
Trails: Valley View, Rocky Ridge, Raven Ridge, Bear Rocks Trails
Distance: 11.0 miles
Elevation: 3817-4198 feet (1447 feet ascent)

I took about a zillion pictures, because the Dolly Sods area is gorgeous.

20170624_Dolly_Sods_054

20170624_Dolly_Sods_010

20170624_Dolly_Sods_014

20170624_Dolly_Sods_110

20170624_Dolly_Sods_096

20170624_Dolly_Sods_131

20170624_Dolly_Sods_134

Written by Michelle at 7:49 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Flower Pr0n

More day lilies are blooming! Hooray!

Why yes, I really do have many different cultivars of day lilies! (This doesn’t include the lemon lilies we got from Michael’s grandmother that bloom in early spring, and the Stella D’Oros that will bloom repeatedly.)

20170622_Flowers_016

20170622_Flowers_021

20170622_Flowers_020

20170622_Flowers_019

20170622_Flowers_018

20170622_Flowers_023

Some of these can probably be split. If anyone is interested, let me know–assuming I can be bothered to split them this year. O.o

Written by Michelle at 8:59 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tuesday Flower Pr0n

My day lilies are blooming! Unfortunately they’re kinda beat up. But the balloon flower and hostas look nice!

20170620_Flowers_011

20170620_Flowers_002

20170620_Flowers_010

Written by Michelle at 7:03 pm      Comments (5)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,House & Garden,Photos  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Flower Pr0n

20170617_North_Bend_044

20170618_Flowers_002

20170618_Flowers_005

20170618_Flowers_007

Written by Michelle at 6:56 pm      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Rhododendron, Mont Chateau, Clay Run, and Unofficial Trails
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation: 1510-2126 feet (800 feet elevation gain)
Temperature: 80-85 F

Last week’s rock sculpture was still there!

20170618_Coopers_Rock_030

So I added a new one, to a newly fallen tree.

20170618_Coopers_Rock_042

It’s just so lovely and peaceful.

20170618_Coopers_Rock_023

20170618_Coopers_Rock_032

Written by Michelle at 5:46 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,West Virginia  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hiking WV: North Bend State Park

Every other place I’ve been, a trail named “Nature Trail” is about a quarter of a mile long, extremely flat (if not paved) and frequently has interpretive signs.

This was not your average nature trail.

Location: North Bend State Park
Trail: Nature Trail
Distance: 4.3 miles
Elevation: 708-1183 feet (875 feet total ascent)
Temperature: 79-85 F

I’m not saying this was anything like last week’s trail with a 24% grade. Just that this was a 4 mile trail that had significant elevation gain (although with switchbacks, not straight up!). This trail went through the entire park, which means that most of it was quiet and peaceful, except for the bits that went through the campground, near the swimming pool, and along the picnic area. Those parts were loud and populated. But for a loop it was an easy price to pay.

At the top of the trail, we saw the remains of a very old fence.

20170617_North_Bend_001

These original state park trail signs are getting rarer. I particularly like the descriptiveness of this one.

20170617_North_Bend_002

Found an old cemetery.

20170617_North_Bend_003

Very old, since these were the only grave markers we could find.

20170617_North_Bend_004

We also took a brief stroll on the North Bend Rail trail.

20170617_North_Bend_028

These little spaces were built every few feet into the tunnel. For someone to escape into if they were caught in a tunnel when the train came through.

20170617_North_Bend_030

Written by Michelle at 8:58 pm      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Decay

I have long had a fascination with decay. If there is a decaying building, I want to go look at it.

20130406_Antietam _028

If there is a decaying machine, I want to examine all the parts.

Park of Decay

If there is a building being torn down, I want to examine the ruins and see the normally hidden bits exposed.

Sunnyside Deconstruction

20150716_University_Avenue_Construction_024

In cemeteries I’m drawn to the oldest tombstones, the ones that are broken or can no longer be read.

20160424_Lewisburg_Cemetery_015

When we hike, I am always delighted to come across some long abandoned sign of human habitation, lost in the forest.

20160424_Greenbrier_SF_020

20140712_Cedar_Creek_008

20160425_Cranberry_Glades_044

I love taking pictures of these things so I can look at them later, and see bits that aren’t always visible at a quick glance.

This means that I find West Virginia an endlessly fascinating place. As we drive along two lane back roads, full of switch backs and steep grades, we continually pass houses and barns and buildings that are falling down.

However, I also find this terribly heart-breaking. Because, you see, some of those houses I see falling apart are still being lived in. Or they are next to an old trailer that is obviously inhabited.

These buildings are not just the past coming into the future, but are the past that still remains someone’s present.

So I almost never stop and take pictures of these buildings, because it feels terribly rude–because I am looking not at the interesting structures but at someone’s poverty. No matter how much I want to explore, I keep in mind that my fascination is of someone’s struggle.

I sometimes wish I weren’t so awkward and afraid of approaching strangers, because I would love to hear the stories some of these people might have, and to photograph them with the things they love and what they have and hold dear. But here in WV, we’re had too many people making fun of us, of our poverty, of accusing us of being backwards. I wouldn’t know how to convince a stranger that I photograph WV because I love it, and I love the character to be found in things that are struggling to stay upright.

So instead I’ll just stare as we go past, wondering about the stories, and wondering how long until these places are taken back by the woods.

Written by Michelle at 9:08 pm      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,West Virginia  
Next Page »

Powered by WordPress

books main pictures cats e-mail