Random (but not really)

Monday, March 27, 2017

WV Botanic Garden

Since the early flowers are blooming (those that didn’t die because of the early warm spell) we went to the Botanic Garden.

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Tibbs Run

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First rhododendron of the year!

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Grape hyacinth

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These tiny daffodils are adorable.

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Written by Michelle at 3:23 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Morgantown,Photos,West Virginia  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Saturday it rained off and on, so although Sunday was overcast, we took advantage of the minimal precipitation and headed out to Coopers Rock.

Location: Coopers Rock
Distance: ~6 miles
Elevation: 1920-2421 feet
Temperature: 35-41 F

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We went a bit earlier than usual, so it was quiet and we saw very few people, which was nice.

It was still muddy on the roadside trail, however, so we ended up walking the road part of the way back, just to avoid the mud.

Written by Michelle at 9:01 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

It was a gorgeous day for a hike.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Advanced Ski, Resoivoir Ski, Scott Run Trails
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation: 1857-2289 feet
Temperature: 28-34 C

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Written by Michelle at 5:45 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Another Visitor Drawn by the Bird Feeders

Although for a different reason.

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Written by Michelle at 6:49 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden,Photos  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Busy day at Coopers Rock, what with it being freaking 70 F IN FEBRUARY.

Towards the gate:

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Towards the I68:

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We took it kinda easy today–my back has been sore from all the bending over and crouching I’ve been doing working on the chairs.

Location: Coopers Rock
Trails: Roadside, Reservoir Ski, Reservoir Trails
Distance: 3.7+ miles
Elevation: 2169-2364 feet

So we hiked the Reservoir Ski Trail to the reservoir and then around the reservoir, which brings me to this important question:

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HOW DID I NOT KNOW THERE WERE BEAVERS AT COOPERS ROCK?

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ADDENDUM the First:

To clarify for H J Gadiyar, check out the details of these pictures!

The larger tree is in the process of being gnawed down. But in the background to the left you can see a felled tree.

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Here you can see the tell-tale v and ^ signs of the tree that fell to the left. But also you can see that the missing branches on the tree coming towards the camera have all been chewed and drug off once they were detached.

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Written by Michelle at 7:01 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hiking WV: New River Gorge

Although last week’s snow is gone, it was a clear, beautiful day at New Rover Gorge.

We spent a good deal of time poking around Wolf Creek. One area was easy to get to, the other–less so.

Location: New River Gorge: Canyon Rim Area
Trails: Timber Ridge, Long Point, Fayetteville, Park Loop Trails
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation: 1784-2151 feet
Temperature: 34F

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Map of the Hike.

Written by Michelle at 9:57 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock (TWO DAYS IN A ROW)

Two weekend days in a row where it wasn’t raining and miserable!

HOORAY!

This time we walked out to the overlook and back. Same distance as yesterday but MUCH easier, since there is little elevation gain.

Location: Coopers Rock
Distance: 6.4 miles
Elevation: 2188-2442 feet
Trail: Roadside Trail
Temperature: 28 F

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Written by Michelle at 6:34 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Traveling WV: Blackwater Falls & Canaan Valley

This weekend we did some hiking, but that was just a means to and end–to enjoy how beautiful Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley were.

Blackwater Falls

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Canaan Valley

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Written by Michelle at 4:58 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday Flower Pr0n

Today needed something relaxingly active, so we took a trip to the WV Botanic Garden

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Happy Fall!

Written by Michelle at 2:21 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Morgantown,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Cranberry Backcountry

We’d discussed hiking in the Cranberry Wilderness, but I’d wanted to visit the Nature Center, since it closes mid-October. To get to the trails we’d considered, we’d have had to either back-track to Richwood, or take the Highland Scenic Highway all the way around the wilderness, so we instead decided to walk on the forest road past the boardwalk and see where that took us.

We took the North Fork trail up to the Kennison Mountain trail and then turned around and came back down.

Location: Cranberry Backcountry
Trail: North Fork Trail
Distance: 5.0 miles
Elevation: 3380-4113 feet (Average 5.6% grade)

There were a couple of steepish sections, but mostly it was a (relatively) gradual uphill hike (gradual for WV mind you).

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oops

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The lower portion of the trail meandered across several creeks, most of which were flowing from the previous night’s rain.

It was really really pretty.

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If you’re looking to hike in more solitude than you’ll find in busier parks and forests (like our local forest, Coopers Rock) then I cannot recommend highly enough visiting the Cranberry Wilderness.

Written by Michelle at 10:02 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Cranberry Glades

Cranberry Glades Botanical area is a short boardwalk that allows you to see a variety of plants, some of which are found only in this area.

Location: Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
Trail: Cranberry Glades Boardwalk
Distance: 0.6 mile
Elevation: 3383-3419 feet

Unlike the Falls of Hills Creek, the boardwalk here is flat and handicapped accessible.

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Pitcher plant

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The start of the boardwalk is is along the open area, but it quicly turns into the bog, where the vegetation is more closed in, and you cross Yew creek multiple times. (This is cause for multiple repetitions of “Yew again!” because we are horrible people.)

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Written by Michelle at 9:43 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Falls of Hills Creek

Location: Falls of Hills Creek
Trail: Falls Trail
Distance: 1.1 miles
Elevation: 3235-3519 feet (9.1% grade)

Don’t walk this trail unless you like stairs. Lots of them. We got 31 flights of stairs coming back up from the lower falls. And if it’s at all wet, be cautious, because the boardwalk is slippery.

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The Lower Falls

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The Middle Falls

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This is the first time we visited at (near) midday, where all the falls had some sunlight.

Written by Michelle at 9:29 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

PAWPAW!

Finally! We found pawpaw!

The Arboretum is having pawpaw parties, where you can come and taste the fruit and–if you want–take seeds home to propagate.

Here are the fruits, plucked from trees in the Arboretum:

Pawpaw!

And here is what the insides look like. The pawpaw on the left is less ripe, the fruit on the right is more ripe.

Pawpaw innards (less ripe and more ripe)

The fruit really doesn’t taste like anything else grown in WV, and certainly not something growing wild.

If you have seeds, here is how to propagate pawpaw.

Written by Michelle at 6:22 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Food,Photos,West Virginia  

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hiking WV: Cranesville Swamp

Less of a hike and more of a wander, but it was well-worth the drive (despite our forgetting on the way home that the GPS is trying to kill us, and taking a road that was just barely passable for cars (the people on 4-wheelers and jeeps kinda gave us a funny look as we passed in our Corolla).

This area belongs to the Nature Conservancy, and is open year-round, during day-light hours. The brochure recommended wearing boots, but it hasn’t rained in awhile, so we kept our feet dry. But we still wore gaiters, because: ticks.

The flora is similar to Cranberry Glades, for similar reasons.

Location: Cranesville Swamp
Trails: Blue, Orange, Yellow, White
Distance: 1.8 miles
Elevation: 2358-2678 feet

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And lots of berries, including some out-of-season ones.

Cranberries:

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Winterberries:

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Perhaps Viburnum:

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Wintergreen:

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I HAVE NO IDEA AND IT BUGS ME:

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I found a handful of blueberries and a single ripe blackberry. They were delicious.

Spiranthes cernua (Nodding ladies’ tresses orchid) (?)

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The view of the swamp from the edge of the woods:

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Written by Michelle at 8:39 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,West Virginia  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Small Rocks

At the playground the other evening, I made a small pile of flat pebbles. (I just had to look up the definition of pebble: “a rock fragment larger than a sand grain or granule and smaller than a cobble, which has been rounded by the action of water wind or glacial ice. It is therefore between 4 mm (~0.15 in) and 64 mm (~2.5 in)”. Pettijohn, F. J., 1949, Sedimentary rocks: New York, Harper and Brothers, 526 p)

I then became fascinated by how the small pile looked in the evening light.

Rocks at the playground

Rocks at the playground

Rocks at the playground

There is something pleasant about these pebbles–most small people I take to the playground want to take some home with them. I made an arbitrary determination of 2 pebbles per visit, lest we depebble the playground.

But they really are nice pebbles–and I love how they look different in different light.

Written by Michelle at 6:49 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Photos  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hiking WV: New River Gorge

We had a visitor!

So since it fit into other things we wanted to do, we took her to New River Gorge and hiked out to Longpoint for the view!

Location: New River Gorge
Trail: Longpoint Trail
Distance: 3.0 miles
Elevation: 1776-2049 feet

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This is a nice hike because it’s not long, it’s not especially steep, and it has a gorgeous view for minimal effort.

Written by Michelle at 8:03 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hiking WV: Panther State Forest / WMA

Panther State Forest / WMA is kind of in the middle of nowhere (though not quite the middle of nowhere as Cabwaylingo which had multiple one-lane bridges on the route in and out), and the drive was all on windy rural roads (which made for a pleasant drive), but there were a surprising number of people there–mostly family reunion groups, but there were some teenagers playing in the creek.

Location: Panther State Forest / Wildlife Management Area
Trail: Buzzards Roost Overlook Trail
Distance: 1.9 miles
Elevation: 1227-1631 feet

Yes, we did hike three “overlook” trails this weekend. And none of the three overlooks were very impressive, but that’s okay. (I had to climb up on a cement piling that was the remainder of a wooden overlook for this picture.)

Panther WMA

Like most parks, there were lots of playgrounds, but I can’t remember seeing swings like this in recent memory.

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And the creek running through the park.

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It was a lovely place to visit, despite the ridiculous heat. I think I’d like to visit again.

Written by Michelle at 5:39 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Beech Fork State Park

Beech Fork State Park is for boaters and fishermen, which is one of the reasons we weren’t in a rush to visit. It’s primarily a lake (like Bluestone and Moncove Lake) so there was little hiking, which is perfectly fine, because our state park system should be for all West Virginians–hunters, fishermen, kayakers, and hikers alike.

But it wasn’t any place I’m eager to revisit, since there wasn’t much hiking.

Location: Beech Fork State Park
Trail: Overlook Trail
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation: 601-920 feet

Here’s the view from the Overlook Trail.

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It’s easy to overlook. (HA!)

There is a cemetery within Beech Fork, so as is my wont, we wandered around, considering the impermanence of life and memory.

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There were a lot of WWI vets buried there–more WWI than WWII from a cursory wander. At some point, I’ll put all these cemetery photos up on Flickr.

Here’s the lake itself.

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Written by Michelle at 5:22 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Kanawha State Forest

This weekend we finished up visiting all the major state parks, forests, and wildlife management areas in WV! HOORAH!

Location: Kanawha State Forest
Trail: Overlook Rock Trail
Distance: 1.7 miles
Elevation: 800-1360 feet

The view from overlook rock.

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If you don’t want to zoom in, the view is power lines on the far mountain ridge.

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Written by Michelle at 5:00 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls

We went with my aunt and uncle on a “hike” to view Pendleton Run Falls.

I use the term hike very loosely, because as the book I have on waterfalls puts it “cuss, fall, root grab, and butt slide your way down to the creek” and they are totally serious. The park actually removed the warning sign from the top of the trail, perhaps realizing that its existence pointed out this “path” to people who were badly prepared for the risks.

Here’s the path of 0.45 mile hike we took with three kids 6 and under, so there was a fair amount of wandering back and forth.

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Here is the path going down to Pendelton Run Falls #4

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I’m pretty sure the GPS lost signal more than once.

The average grade was 23% and there were a couple places that were very exciting. On the way back up I folded up my hiking stick, stuck it in my bag, and scrambled grabbing rocks and roots since that felt a whole lot more secure.

Seriously, don’t attempt this unless you are in good shape and unafraid of doing foolish things.

Location: Blackwater Falls
Trail: Pendleton Run Falls #4
Distance: 0.8 miles (down and back up)
Elevation: 2763-3132 feet

Here’s what you get for all that work.

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Pretty, but to be honest, Elakala Falls is prettier with less danger.

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Written by Michelle at 11:43 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  
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