Random (but not really)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Despite off and on again rain, we went to Coopers Rock on Saturday, and we had a surprising amount of sun, making it a beautiful hike.

We made it to my favorite place.

It was good.

Location: Coopers Rock
Trails: Rhododendron, Mont Chateau, Ridge Trails
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation: 148-2092 feet (804 ft gain)

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Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday Flower Pr0n!

Some flowers are from my house, some from the WV botanic garden, and one from the WVU arboretum.

Rhododendron!

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Spiderwort

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Broom (I love broom, and am glad this one has struggled and survived)

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Chives

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Irises

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Peony

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Written by Michelle at 4:43 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,House & Garden,Morgantown,Photos  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Traveling WV: Thurmond

Thurmond, WV used to be a coal town and rail hub, and trains still run regularly through the area.

The population of Thurman at the last census was five, and most of the land in the area belongs to either CSX or the National Park Service, the latter of which has been attempting to preserve the remaining buildings.

Former National Bank of Thurmond

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Thurmond Post Office, closed in 1995

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Coaling Tower

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Ruins being taken back by the woods.

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Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, May 14, 2018

Hiking WV: New River Gorge

Since it’d been awhile, we headed to New River Gorge, and went to one of the (many) areas we hadn’t hiked before: the Thurmond area.

We first went to see the town of Thurmond (separate post) which has been all but a ghost town for decades (the post office closed in 1995). Then we took our hike. We chose the Stone Cliff Trail, when runs beside the New River for its length.

What was particularly nice was that aside from the day-use area and the very start of the trail, we didn’t see anyone and had the trail to ourselves. We hiked 2 1/4 miles out–close to the end–but then I noticed that it was already 3, and we still had to stop at the brewery and eat dinner and then drive home, so we turned around and headed back.

Location: New River Gorge, Thurmond
Trail: Stone Cliff Trail (partial)
Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation: 980-1253 feet
Temperature: 83-85 F

Because the trail runs beside the river it is quite flat, and thus an easy hike.

Stream tumbling down the mountainside

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Stream crossing

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Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sunday Flower Pr0n: New River Gorge

It may have been raining in Morgantown, but New River Gorge was beautiful.

Here are some flowers we found on our hike.

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Written by Michelle at 10:20 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Baltimore: National Aquarium

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been to the National Aquarium for years, because many of the tanks used to be bare, and I really disliked that.

They have remedied that, which makes me very happy. Rocks and other items make the tanks look natural, and the octopus even had multiple toys.

Even better, they had a huge jellyfish exhibit, although to my sadness, they didn’t have benches where you could just sit and watch.

Poison dart frogs!

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Puffins!

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But most importantly: JELLYFISH

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It makes me ridiculously happy that so many of the pictures I took of the jellyfish turned out.

Written by Michelle at 7:00 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Maryland,Photos,Travel  

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Baltimore: Historical Sites

There are lots of historical areas in Baltimore, but the two we specifically visited this time were Federal Hill and Fort McHenry.

Federal Hill overlooks the inner harbor. This is taken from the public park at the top of the hill.

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Fort McHenry is a national park, and the site of the battle which led to the Star Spangled Banner.

The same cannon, three different views.

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The cannon fascinate me as much as they horrify me. I’ve read several descriptions of battles involving cannon, and they all describe smoke, terrible noise, complete chaos and underlying that, the knowledge that cannon blew up on a regular basis.

These are truly giant cannon, permanently placed.

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The mechanisms for aiming the cannon.

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There were multiple cannon from Fort Pitt.

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I politely waited to ask the gentleman if I could take a picture of him in his outfit.

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Sadly, he had only plain buttons, instead of decorated unit buttons.

And the magazines were also preserved.

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Although the outside doors have been removed, you can still the hinges and how they would have fit. (The inside doors remain in place and locked.)

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Then there were the walls….

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And lastly, we were lucky that it was clear and windy, and they were flying the largest flag.

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Oh! And the view!

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Written by Michelle at 7:00 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Maryland,Photos,Travel  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Traveling Outside WV: Baltimore

We spent a long weekend in Baltimore. We were there for my parents 50th anniversary party, but we also took the opportunity to visit Grandmom and wander around the city.

The harbour area is full of things I love coming together: water, old buildings, and occasionally, decay.

The USS Constellation in the Inner Harbor, in front of the World Trade Center building.

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There was, I believe, a student group on the Constellation on Friday night. They were getting to shift the masts but did NOT fire the cannon.

Sadly.

Brickwork and hinge for storm shutter on old warehouse turned into condos.

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These buildings are directly on the harbor, but none of them seemed to have functioning shutters anymore.

Looking across a dock at a warehouse that was turned into luxury condos.

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Street in Fells Point.

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Standing on Federal Hill, looking across the harbor towards the World Trade Center, and to the right, the National Aquarium.

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Decaying dock.

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Written by Michelle at 10:13 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Maryland,Photos,Travel  

Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday Flower Pr0n

Some flowers that were blooming while we were in Baltimore over the weekend.

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Written by Michelle at 8:05 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Things That Are Wrong

Let me be clear–most areas of WV in which I travel are pretty litter free. Student areas in Morgantown? Not so much. But I don’t see a ton of litter when I’m out and about. So there is a good possibility that a good deal of the trash is from flooding rather than littering.

And there is a LOT of organic matter there as well, which is of course no ones fault.

But there is still a lot of trash in there–non-biodegradable trash–and that is a problem.

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Written by Michelle at 8:30 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Morgantown,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Flower Pr0n: Wild Flowers!

The arboretum is FULL of wild flowers right now!

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Trillium

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Dutchman’s Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria

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Spring Beauties, Claytonia virginica

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Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica

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Trout Lily, Erythronium americanum

Written by Michelle at 6:23 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Morgantown,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Snake Hill WMA

As much as I love the Morgantown Farmers Market, I *hate* their winter market hours. 11 AM on a Saturday means we can EITHER go to the market OR go somewhere and go hiking.

Despite the beautiful weather, we went to the Farmers Market, so we needed a close place to hike on Saturday, so we ended up at Snake Hill WMA (Wildlife Management Area). There are multiple logging / gas / access roads and multiple trails off them. The trails are unmarked and not blazed, but they had enough use to be pretty obvious.

The trail we set out to hike–the Canyon Rim trail–has four overlooks: Table Rock, Lake View, Middle View, and River View. For trails and overlooks that are not maintained, three of the four had excellent views. We also only came across one other group of hikers, which for a beautiful Saturday afternoon, was nice. (At Coopers Rock on nice days there are a constant stream of people; it’s nice people are visiting the forest, but not nice for relative solitude.)

Location: Snake Hill WMA
Trails: Canyon Rim, Cheat View, Little Hoop, Big Dipper, Northside Trails
Distance: 3.8 miles
Elevation: 1715-2342 feet (698 feet elevation rise)

Facing west towards Cheat Lake (Lake View overlook)

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Facing east towards Cheat River, Raven Rock is on the left (River View overlook)

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Coopers Rock Overlook. I swear I’ve never noticed that giant rock down and to the right.

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In Snake Hill WMA there is a small cemetery, with three gravestones, and one rock that might be a marker. All three males (ages 4, 17, 19) died in 1860, two in July and one in October.

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Written by Michelle at 3:43 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Morgantown,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hiking WV: Blackwater Canyon

You would think that a trail called the Canyon Rim Trail would have lots of views of the Blackwater Canyon.

You would be mistaken.

That doesn’t make this a bad trail, and there are views at either end: the Olsen Fire Tower at the Western end, and along the Allegheny Trail at the Eastern terminus.

The trail itself is part of the Allegheny Trail, which you can take through WV. It also means this trail is getting some extensive maintenance right now, to shore up sections that have become muddy messes.

Location: Monongahela National Forest
Trail: Canyon Rim Trail
Distance: 6.6 miles (out and back)
Elevation: 3162-3705 feet (994 feet gain)

Along the trail, this is as good a view as you get. And once the leaves are out, it’ll be even less.

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It was a little steep in a couple of places, and rocky and muddy in other places, but it isn’t a difficult hike for anyone who is in shape.

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You get to cross several streams, one of which has a “Stone Bridge”. Most of the crossings should not be problematic unless the water is extremely high or flash flooding.

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But in addition to the very pretty creek crossings, if you do a little searching you can find the falls, which were absolutely lovely.

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This is where we sat and ate our lunch, and then clambered around on the rocks.

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And here’s the elevation graph of the hike.

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley SP – Bald Knob

Our third hike on Friday was also at Canaan Valley State Park, but on the ski area part of the park.

This trail was NOT created by or for hikers. It’s labeled a cross-country ski trail, but is not maintained as such. If you want the view at bald knob, I recommend taking the lift up to the top of the mountain, then hiking across to Bald Knob.

The problem are the portions of the trail that are for skiing down. Hiking up or down such a trail isn’t that fun (Michael got blisters, due the steep grade for a longer distance).

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Bald Knob Mountain Trail
Distance: 4.6 miles (out and back)
Elevation: 3572-4336 feet (1000 feet gain)
Parts of the trail: 14% and 16% grades (or steeper)

But the view is lovely.

Here you are looking down into Canaan Valley.

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No switchbacks here. Straight down you go.

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The surprise was this:

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Here you can look down the OTHER side of the mountain. It was kinda cool, although I cropped out the ugliness of where they took out all the trees. It’s not yet a mowed lawn, it’s just a clear-cut clearing. Which is not so attractive.

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Someone (ie:me) forgot to turn on the GPS until we were part way up the mountain, so here’s the trip down, minus the leg up to the peak.

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls

After dinner on Friday, we wanted an easy hike to stretch our legs out, so we did Lindy Point.

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Written by Michelle at 4:29 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley SP

Michael has use-or-lose-leave, so we spent a long weekend in the Canaan area doing lots of hiking.

In the morning we hiked two trails: Blackwater River trail and the Middle Ridge trail. I have pictures from the one and data from the other.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Middle Ridge Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles (loop)
Elevation: 3331-3558 (483 feet gain)
Temperature: 66-74

The Middle Ridge Trail doesn’t have many scenic vistas, but it does go through several different kinds of areas, and goes by a bog–it’s dry right now, so I didn’t find anything picturesque about the bog, but on the plus side, our feet stayed dry.

I do love the Blackwater River Trail

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Here is the elevation graph for the Middle Ridge Trail.

Written by Michelle at 3:47 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tuppence a Bag

We really do get a lot of visitors to our feeders.

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Written by Michelle at 6:54 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden,Photos  

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Hiking WV: Cranberry Wilderness

This may well have been our last hike in snow of the season, so I was glad we were able to enjoy it–and that it was such a beautiful day.

I love the Cranberry Wilderness and am glad we got to hike it in the snow.

Location: Cranberry Wilderness
Trail: Charles Creek, Cowpasture Trails
Distance: 1.9 miles
Elevation: 3422-3564 feet
Temperature: 31 F

There used to be a prison in this area–a prison that didn’t bother with walls and barbed wire, since it was so far away from civilization that there was nowhere for escaped prisoners to go.

Although this prison was open during the Korean war (conscientious objectors were typically sent here) there are very few signs of civilization left: some spots of asphalt, the occasional chimney, and some stairs.

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Charles Creek

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Written by Michelle at 8:55 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Cranberry Glades

Since it’s only a half mile, we always walk the Cranberry Glades Boardwalk when we are in the area. Because it’s the end of the winter, the boardwalk is in need of repair–if you need an accessible route, wait until spring when the forest service has been out to repair sections of the boardwalk.

The start of the trail follows the edge of the glade.

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I was surprised to see the pitcher plants coming up through the snow all along the boardwalk.

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Normally the underbrush is so thick you can’t see the bog, but at the end of the winter all the grasses are eaten are have died down and you can clearly see the boggy areas.

Beautiful!

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Written by Michelle at 8:38 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Falls of Hills Creek

The Falls of Hills Creek is one of the places where there is a very small window of time if you want light for taking pictures.

We managed to nail that window Saturday.

Lower Falls

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Hills Creek

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Middle Falls

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Written by Michelle at 8:27 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  
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