Random (but not really)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Hiking WV: Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park

Since we’d already visited three parks, we decided to stop at Carnifex Ferry on the way, to make it four for the day, six for the weekend (a record for us).

Carnifex Ferry overlooks the Gauley River Canyon, near Summersville (Land of Speedtraps). We had no idea what to expect, since it’s a Civil War Battlefield, but it had an utterly gorgeous view of the Gauley River Canyon. If you’re in the area, you should definitely divert her for the view.

Location: Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park
Trail: Patterson Trail
Distance: 1.2 miles
Elevation: 157 feet (there is a very steep drop down to the Copperhead Overlook)

View from Copperhead Overlook


One of this weekend's views

Pillow Rapids Overlook


Picnic Overlook


Written by Michelle at 7:00 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Little Beaver State Park

Stop four on Sunday was Little Beaver State Park. If we were local, we’d probably go there frequently; I don’t think we’ll make another trip just to go there, but if we’re in the area, we’ll stop again.

Location: Little Beaver State Park
Trails: Lake Front Trail, Beaver Creek Trail
Distance: 1.8 miles
Elevation: negligible

Had I mentioned what a gorgeous day it was? It was a gorgeous day.


Standing on the bridge over the Little Beaver Creek.


The Beaver Creek trail was supposed to have a bridge crossing the creek. We got there, and… no bridge.


So we cross the creek on the rocks. Oh. That’s where the bridge is.



Michael and I were debating when the damage had been done. I said it was probably Sandy damage, he disagreed.

The website, of course, give us no enlightenment.

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Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Bluestone State Park

This was our second park of the day, and we ran into the problem that the trail blazing seemed to stop about halfway up the trail we wanted to take, and after the previous day’s eight mile and the fact we had to drive home, we decided to err on the side of caution, and took a shorter hike.

Which was perfectly fine.

Location: Bluestone State Park
Trails: Big Pine Trail, Overlook Trail
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation: 760 feet

They’re replacing the bridge, which is good for safety, I’m sure, but I love how iron bridges look, and the replacement just isn’t picturesque.





Written by Michelle at 11:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Pinnacle Rock State Park

Our first stop Sunday morning was Pinnacle Rock State Park, which is near Bramwell. Due to some confusion on the part of the GPS about what part of the park we wanted to see, we ended up driving through Bramwell, and seeing a bit of the area, and narrowly avoided going into Virginia.

Location: Pinnacle Rock State Park

Up up up to the rock!


Looking down at the trail from the lower part of the park.


Unfortunately, stupid children have spray painted the rock extensively, so it was hard to get a picture without graffiti.


The view from the top.


Order Muppet


Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hiking WV: Seneca Rocks

We again made the trip to Seneca Rocks to hike to the top in memory of my cousin Ben on his birthday.

Once again, we did the hike straight up to the top with no breaks. That’s 1.8 miles, 900 feet, in just under 40 minutes.

We were very lucky that it didn’t rain on us–the forecast was calling for thunderstorms, but other than a few sprinkles (and a lot of sweat) we made it back to the car, dry.

Location: Seneca Rocks (part of the Monongahela National Forest)
Distance: 3.5 miles
Elevation: 991 feet

This is taken from up on the rocks, above the observation deck. The Order muppet did not join me.


The view along the ridge of the rock.



Just above the observation deck, and as high as the Order Muppet wanted to climb.


An utterly gorgeous stream along the trail.


You can see from this picture, that it was a cloudy, overcast day. But that did make it cooler, and nicer to hike.


For those unfamiliar with Seneca Rocks, the hike takes you up to the left side of the rocks. The observation desk is approximately where the tree-line ends.

Written by Michelle at 7:56 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park/Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Twin Falls State Park

Since we were sort of in the area, and since we were spending the night in Princeton, we decided to swing by Twin Falls State Park after Camp Creek State Park. I wasn’t up for a long hike, and I was famished and ready for dinner, but we wanted to see the falls, so it was a very brief hike.

Location: Twin Falls State Park
Trail: Falls Trail (partial)
Distance: 1.62 miles

Mountain Laurel


Marsh Fork Falls


Black Fork Falls


Written by Michelle at 6:00 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Camp Creek State Park

My plan for this hike (made while Michael was driving) was to take part of the Farley Branch Trail and then switch over to the Mash Fork trail, so come out down by the falls, and then drive up to see the other falls.

When we reached the Mash Fork Trail, Michael pulled out the map and said, “let’s continue along this trail!”

Eight miles later, after crossing the Mash Fork several times (and I did NOT fall in once!) we came out at the Mash Fork Falls.

Location: Camp Creek State Park
Trails: Farley Branch, Turkey Loop
Distance: 8.0 miles
Elevation: 1650 feet

Because those were really horse riding trails more than hiking trails, I wouldn’t recommend this hike, since much of it is along roads, and passes an extremely loud gas compressor.

One exciting thing is we saw what I think is a bobcat. Because I only had a regular zoom lens, and I was NOT going to get closer to get a better shot, the pictures are extremely blurry. Will this change my mind about using a backpack and carrying a longer lens?

Probably not.



Mash Fork was very pretty, but I would have enjoyed crossing it more if I’d had water shoes for the crossing.


The Mash Fork falls were very pretty. But I wouldn’t have minded the shorter hike to reach them.


Written by Michelle at 7:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock State Forest

Today, in addition to putting out the flag and thinking about the sacrifices made by the men and women throughout history to safeguard our freedoms, we took a hike at Coopers Rock.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Eagle, Underlook, Rattlesnake, Rock City, Ridge, Rhododendron Trails
Distance: 2.7 miles
Elevation: 709 feet

We made a sort of a figure eight, if the top part of the eight was really really small and the bottom part was huge.

We also saw two black snakes, one of which I pointed out to a mother so she could show it to her kids, the second of which was pointed out to us by a small boy and his grandmother. :)

Snakes are very interesting!

Looking up to the Overlook, from the Underlook trail.



Going up?


Rattlesnake Trail



Above the Rattlesnake Trail



And speaking of snakes…


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Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Memorial Day




Ben Klishis WWII


Written by Michelle at 8:05 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Do Not Eat

I got a new pair (set?) of Chums for my sunglasses, and was amused when I read the care directions.


(Yes, the picture does show a head with a fork.)

I showed them to Michael, who was also amused.

Later, when I was taking off my sunglasses and hanging them up…

Michael: How did they taste?
Michelle: ?
Michael: We know you don’t follow directions, so how did they taste?

Written by Michelle at 9:51 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bye Kit

~August 1999 to 14 May 2015





Everyone knew you were Grandmom’s favorite.


Written by Michelle at 8:49 am      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Cats  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Of course we went to Coopers Rock this weekend. We managed another route with no back-tracking, AND went along my favorite trail, the Mont Chateau trail. AND I got to splash around in the stream, since I took along my water shoes. At some point I am going to see if I can make it up the stream all the way to the start of the trail. It might not be possible, but it seems like a lot of fun to try.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Rhododendron Trail, Mont Chateau Trail, Ridge Trail
Distance: 4.2 miles
Elevation: 919 feet






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Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hiking WV: Holly River State Park

Saturday we hiked at Holly River State Park. We went there last year, but unforeseen events shortened our time there, so I’d wanted to go back and actually hike.

If you are planning on Hiking at Holly River, GO TO THE PARK OFFICE and get a “Good Map.” They have large and small maps there that are very nice, and have trail lengths and descriptions.

Location: Holly River State Park
Trails: Reverie Trail, Wilderness Trail, Salt Lick Trail
Distance: 5.0 miles
Elevation: 1384 feet


The Reverie Trail is very steep in multiple places, and since there were still leaves on the ground, I was a little nervous going down in places.




We giggled. :)



Tecumseh Falls



Written by Michelle at 9:23 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Here’s a Fun Game!

Guess when Michelle was driving!

driving speed

For bonus points: Guess the speed limits!

Written by Michelle at 9:22 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock State Forest

It was Sunday, and the weather was beautiful, so of course we were at Coopers Rock.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Climbing Area trail, Raven Rock trail, McCollum trail, Roadside trail
Distance: 5.6 miles
Elevation: 1091 feet

First, the views from Raven Rock.


I think you can see to Maryland there.

You can definitely see Pennsylvania here.


Despite the view, I can’t say Raven Rock trail is a favorite. It’s extremely rocky, which just isn’t particularly comfortable to hike. (At least not with my ankle.)


Amusements along the hike:

The root structure being left behind as the stump disintegrates.


We stumbled upon the mating of the picnic tables. I was embarrassed.


This happy tree!


Written by Michelle at 7:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Morgantown,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Monday, May 4, 2015

WV State Parks: Watters Smith Memorial State Park

Watters Smith Memorial State Park is only 45 minutes down the road from us, and we’ve passed the sign for it countless times, but the name made me think it was more like Stonewall Jackson or Blennerhassett than a regular state park with hiking.

There is hiking, but there is also a preserved homestead–the first in that area.

The hiking was lovely, and so was the homestead.

Location: Watters Smith Memorial State Park
Trails: Dogwood Trail, White Oak Trail, Oak Ridge Trail, Pioneer Trail, Black Cherry Trail
Distance: 4.1 miles
Elevation: 906 feet

The homestead was not part of the hike, but well worth visiting.



The Homestead





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Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Books of April

Slow reading month, for the good reason of Being Outside Doing Stuff.

Historical Fiction / Mystery

Lord John Grey
Lord John and the Private Matter (2003) Diana Gabaldon (9/10)
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (2007) Diana Gabaldon (8/10)
Lord John and the Hand of Devils (2007) Diana Gabaldon (8.5/10)
The Custom of the Army (2012) Diana Gabaldon (8/10)


Inspector Montalbano
Game of Mirrors (2011/2015) Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli  (7.5/10)

Supernatural Fantasy

Felix Castor
Dead Men’s Boots (2007) Mike Carey  (8/10)

A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark (2014) Harry Connolly  (6/10)


The Rivers of London
Foxglove Summer, Audible Version (2015/2015) Ben Aaronovitch narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith  (10/10)

So I only read eight books, but that’s okay because I got to spent lots of time outside, hiking.

Book format was heavily ebook, with the only non-ebook being an audio book. (Audio books are going slowly right now, because I have an occasional lunchtime walking partner, which cuts into my audio book time.)

Genre was heavily mystery, with the three fantasy books also being mysteries. The single fiction book is the final Lord John book, which doesn’t have a whole lot of mystery compared to the previous books.

Fantasy: 3
Mystery: 7
Fiction: 1

Gender was evenly split, 4:4 with female authors still slightly ahead for the year (but they don’t look to stay that way, since I’m currently re-reading te Inspector Montalbano).

Written by Michelle at 6:39 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Sunday Flower Pr0n: Wildflowers!

Some of the flowers we saw on our hike at Watters Smith Memorial Park


Bluets (Houstonia caerulea)


Star Chickweed (Stellaria pubera) ?




Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Written by Michelle at 9:05 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Thursday, April 30, 2015

What’s in My Hiking Bag (Or, A Geek’s Hiking Bag)

I love the Lifehacker bag posts. I love seeing the tools and toys people keep in their bags, and I’ve found a couple things I discovered I wanted/needed viewing those posts, so I decided it would be fun to show you my hiking bag.

We typically do day hikes, usually several hours long, eating lunch before we leave, and stopping for dinner at a local restaurant before heading home. (Unless we’re hiking at Coopers Rock.) And taking pictures is a good excuse to stop and enjoy where I am–reminding myself that I’m out for the journey rather than the destination.

What do I take hiking?

Hiking Bag

Everything (with the exception of the hiking staff) fits into the bag. Plus two smaller water bottles.

High Sierra Diplomat Lumbar Pack (I prefer hiking with a lumbar pack to a backpack. When I take a backpack, I add even MORE stuff, like wildflower guides and maybe an extra camera lens.)
Canon EOS Rebel Xsi camera
FlexARMOR X dSLR Camera Case
Vaultz Mesh Bag
Garmin Oregon 550T (link is to newer version)
Eneloop AA rechargeable batteries
Tracks Compact Travel Staff
Sea to Summit Accessory Straps
PackTowl, medium
PackTowl, small
Seattle Sundries, Gardener’s Gold Soap
Dried fruit (in Ziploc bag)
Dark chocolate (in a Ziploc bag)
Vitamin C drops/throat drops (in a Ziploc bag)
Pill case with Acetaminophen
WetOnes wipes
Lip balm (spf 15)
Hand lotion (spf15)
CeraVe SPF 50 Sunscreen (not pictured)
Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone
Garmin Fit app

Just in case items:
Spare camera battery
Spare eyepiece
Extra SD card
Gallon size Ziploc bag (for if it suddenly downpours)
Kershaw pocket knife
LED flashlight
Waterproof matches
Pill case with anxiety meds (from Etsy)
Girly stuff (in Day of the Dead bag (from Etsy))
Ankle wrap (not pictured)

Also, when hiking near creeks and streams (when it’s warm), I’ll clip a pair of water shoes onto the outside of the bag so I can hike up or down the creek.

NOTE: Michael carries the first aid kit and toilet paper and two larger water bottles.

Obviously, several items are specific to me: the ankle wrap and acetaminophen are because of my ankle, and my ankle was initially why I started using a hiking stick, but it’s so nice to hike with, Michael now uses one.

Written by Michelle at 8:11 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,Travel  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Rhododendron Trail, Clay Furnace Trail, Ridge Trail, Rock City Trail, Rattlesnake Trail, Eagle Trail
Distance: 2.1 miles
Elevation: 422 feet

All pictures were taken on the Rattlesnake trail, because I like rocks.





GPS coordinates are available for all images.

Written by Michelle at 7:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  
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