Random (but not really)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Mountain Backcountry

More heat in Morgantown, so we headed south to Canaan. We hadn’t hiked the wilderness since last fall, so that was where I wanted to go.

Beautiful, and much cooler than up north. We did the southern portion of the Lindy Run trail–the northern portion is no longer maintained; I’d like to hike it in the future, because it was quite lovely.

Location: Canaan Mountain Backcountry
Trails: Fire Trail 6, Plantation, Lindy Run Trails
Distance: 3.8 miles
Elevation: 3534-3716 feet
Temperature: 78-81 F

Trails: Table Rock Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles
Elevation: 3374-3471 feet

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Written by Michelle at 2:10 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, July 9, 2018

Hiking WV: Cranberry Wilderness

I was craving some solitude, so we headed to the Cranberry Wilderness where there were few people AND the temperatures ranged from 66-70F.

It was SO LOVELY.

Location: Cranberry Wilderness
Trail: Black Mountain Trail
Distance: 4.9 miles
Elevation: 4236-4643 feet
Temperature: 67-69 F

Cranberry Overlook

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

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sunday Flower Pr0n: Cranberry Wilderness

Rhododendron (The WV State Flower!)

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Bird’s Foot Trefoil (Lotus cornicilatus)

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Sweet clover (Melilotus)

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Coreopsis (Tickseed)

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Written by Michelle at 10:55 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,National Park / Forest,Photos  

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Hiking WV: Dolly Sods

This hike in and of itself isn’t one of my favorites–it’s muddy, it’s busy, the trail is in bad repair, and there is very little shade.

That said, it has one of my favorite views, which is why we went out on it.

But seriously, the Dolly Sods Wilderness may not be developed, but except in winter, I see tons and tons of people there on my hikes. On the one hand, I’m glad people are enjoying the wilderness. On the other hand, I no longer go to Dolly Sods expecting solitude.

Location: Dolly Sods Wilderness
Trail: Rocky Ridge Trail (partial)
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation: 4014-4198 feet

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls State Park

Almost all of our hikes at Blackwater Falls involved kids, so they were short and non-strenuous. And a lot of fun.

We also took a night hike (with two kids) which, not unexpectedly, had zero pictures taken.

Location: Blackwater Falls State Park
Trails: Shay Trace to Elakala Trails
Distance: 1.3 miles
Elevation: 3093-3287 feet

Trail: Cherry Lane Trail
Distance: 1.1 miles
Elevation: 3221-3400 feet

There are some random pictures from Blackwater Falls not related to our hikes.

Main falls on Thursday evening

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Main falls Saturday evening

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Elakaka Falls (below the bridge behind the lodge)

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Written by Michelle at 8:27 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, July 2, 2018

Blackwater Falls: Fun with Small People

I had the BEST long weekend!

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Written by Michelle at 8:36 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Flower Pr0n: I <3 Day Lilies

I love day lilies. I think it’s because they so exuberant. I have multiple cultivars (they don’t all bloom at the same time, so even without the Stella D’Oros I have about a month of day lilies).

I have lots of hostas not because I love them, but because they grow in shade, which I have a lot of, and they’ll thrive.

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Visitor at the hostas.

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Because I have so much shade, I also have several varieties of fern.

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Here are the ubiquitous Stella D’Oros. These get put anywhere I want to ignore.

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And two of the other day lily varieties blooming now.

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Written by Michelle at 12:32 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,House & Garden,Photos  

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Traveling: Washington DC

Friends were in DC for work on an overlapping weekend, so I went down so I could see them while they were closer than several days drive away.

Saturday, it was supposed to storm all afternoon, so we went to the Air & Space Museum Annex, to which I had never been.

One of the things I especially wanted to see was the shuttle.

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The heat tiles were more amazing that I had ever thought!

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Seeing the amount of wear on the tiles was both amazing and also made me a little sad, thinking that the loss of a tile caused the death of astronauts.

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One of the things I especially wanted to see was the restoration area. Since it was a Saturday, no one was working, but you could see what they were working on.

The restoration of a wood frame plane next to a WWII plane being restored.

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To give you an idea of how complex these various restorations can be:

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I was tickled (green, rather than pink) by this control panel.

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Michael figured out what the black rectangles below the phones were. That amused me even more.

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An odd looking piece of technology….

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With a name that amused me highly.

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I also looked at the WWI and WWII planes, because it astounds me that men were willing to go up into the air in those flimsy things and fight each other. I mean, the WWI planes had synchronizes for their machine guns so they could shoot *through* their spinning propeller without shooting themselves out of the sky.

One thing that surprised me was that the space section actually depressed me quite a bit–so many of the items in that are were for warfare. It seems so wrong that the achievement of leaving the planet was a small thing compared to the amount of time and money spent planning ways to destroy other humans.

But after further thought, it was more than that. The WWI and WWII planes didn’t bother me, because I could see the skill and bravery required to go up in one of those machines and engage in a duel with the enemy. (I have tremendous respect for all soldiers who place their own lives on the line to protect people they’ve never even met.)

Guided missiles, however, are ways to kill people from a great distance, requiring nothing more of the the person firing the weapon than to push a button.

Remember: I’m a pacifist. I believe that I personally cannot lash out at someone–even in self-defense. (It’s far more complicated than that, but that’s a decent summary.)

From that perspective, the idea of being able to kill without putting yourself in danger is mortifying. I understand the need for self-defense, even if I feel it is not an option I can take. But to kill without being in personal danger or to protect someone in your presence–that gives me cold chills.

So to see how much effort has gone into killing with missiles left me feeling shaken.

But besides that, I really enjoyed the museum–and even more enjoyed spending time with my friends: neurondoc, Jeri, and especially MWT, who I’d never met in person before.

I’m so glad I was able to spend all day Saturday with them.

Written by Michelle at 6:47 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: DC,Photos,Travel,UCF  

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Traveling WV: The GPS Really Is Trying To Kill You

It’s a running joke between Michael and I about how often we ignore the GPS, because it’s trying to kill us.

Here’s a road that is at least marked as inaccessible to cars, but that didn’t stop three vehicles trying to go down the road during our brief walk. Often, the roads are NOT marked as such, so take caution when turning down any gravel road in WV.

Because your GPS really is trying to kill you.

It doesn’t look too bad here. We stopped one SUV of foreigners from attempting the road. (“No! Your vehicle will NOT make it!”)

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Dappled light makes it difficult to see this is a puddle stretching completely across the road. You cannot tell how deep it is. (It’s there year round. It’s deep.)

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This is the first section of road that causes people to turn around. Most cars do not have the clearance to go over those rocks. Lots of trucks don’t have the clearance to go over those rocks.

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It’d been raining recently, so the creek across the road was unusually high. But even in dry weather there is always a small creek there.

There was a truck in the creek when we walked back. I think he was just playing around, but he was slipping while trying to turn.

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Now we’re past the creek, and the road really turns into a muddy mess.

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This is why I always advise people to NOT take a gravel or dirt road, unless that is their destination. A short cut really isn’t. Especially if you don’t have cell signal and are trying to find someone to tow you out.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley State Park

This is a ridiculously easy hike, but it’s also one of my favorites, because it is always beautiful.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Blackwater River Trail
Distance: 0.8 miles
Elevation: 3243-3331 feet

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Written by Michelle at 2:00 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Seneca Rocks

It’d been awhile since we hiked up Seneca Rocks on a weekend day.

It was ridiculously busy. Which is good, because it means people were spending the weekend doing outdoors things here in WV. But less good for someone who likes solitude.

On the plus side, the homestead was open, and they had extra items on display, including many old quilts.

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Click through for other pictures of the quilt.

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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday Flower Pr0n

Most of these are from Seneca Rocks and environs.

Irises are kind of embarrassing to look at, when you think about what flowers really are.

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Day lily found at homestead at Seneca Rocks

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BLUETS!

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Crabapple!

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Written by Michelle at 4:40 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos,West Virginia  

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  
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