Random (but not really)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Sunday was a gorgeous day for a hike!

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Rhododendron, Mont Chateau, Clay Run, Unofficial Trails
Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation: 1538-2096 feet
Temperature: 54-64 F

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This is a nice loop to do. Here’s what it looked like:

Written by Michelle at 5:15 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Lovely Evening at Coopers Rock

The weather threatened rain and storms all weekend, so instead of hiking we just wandered around Coopers Rock yesterday evening, and sat at the Overlook for sunset.

Then we bugged out, as it started raining as we drove home.

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Written by Michelle at 11:12 am      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock State Forest

Two beautiful days in a row, so of course we went hiking at Coopers Rock.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Clay Run, Mont Chateau, Rhododendron, Roadside Trails
Distance: 7.0 miles
Elevation: 1491-2329 feet
Temperature: 49-58 F

Busy beavers have been too busy to finish taking down that tree.

Or, they’ve been moved?

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Future tadpoles!

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Aside from parts of some of the trails that were super muddy, it was a wonderful hike.

Written by Michelle at 6:35 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hiking WV: Audra State Park

It may have snowed Friday, but Saturday was beautiful. We saw a bit of snow, but except for the very sheltered areas, it was gone by the time we headed home.

Location: Audra State Park
Trail: Alum Cave Trail
Distance: 3.3 miles
Elevation: 1674-1820 feet
Temperature: 49-59 F

The only trail is the Alum Cave Trail that runs along the Middle Fork River, but the river is in sight for pretty much the entire hike, so who cares if it’s out and back?

Goodbye snow.

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We saw the kayakers unloading. They caught up as we were sitting on a rock listening to the water.

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There are many little trails heading off the Alum Cave Trail to take you down to the water.

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There are a few deep areas like this, where the river looks calm, but with the river as high as it was, much of it was white water.

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It was a lovely day.

Written by Michelle at 7:48 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

The gate is open! We don’t have to hike the Roadside/Advanced Ski trails! Huzzah!

They’re not bad trails–after all, the Roadside trail is relatively flat and easy. The problem is that after a warm wet winter, the trails are a muddy disaster. That doesn’t mean the trails inside aren’t wet, just that most of them aren’t torn up from constant biking and hiking.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Rhododendron, Mont Chateau, Ridge, Eagle Trails
Distance: 4.9 miles
Elevation: 1503-2232 feet
Temperature: 45-55 F

Because we’ve had a fair amount of rain, the creeks were running high, which meant, as I said, wet trails, but only the ridge trail was especially muddy, probably because it gets more bikers.

Here’s the creek at the bridge on the Mont Chateau trail. There was a lot of water running through.

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Just past the bridge, as the trail starts uphill, we saw this.

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Don’t think that’s what’s meant by “Leave Only Footprints”

Written by Michelle at 8:35 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

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  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Why the Consumption Tax Is a Terrible Idea

The governor wants to switch from an income tax to a consumption tax. Since I am pretty sure this is, if not the dumbest thing a WV politician has suggested, it’s certainly close, I decided to take a look at the census data and see what that told me.

A tiny bit of background.

West Virginia is surrounded by five other states: PA, MD, VA, KY, OH. [A]

West Virginia has four Interstates running through it: I64, I68, I77, I79. For towns along those interstates, it should be no more than two hours to a bordering state. [B]

West Virginia has 14 counties that contain major food deserts [C]–cities are were more than 20 miles from “grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.” The entire county of Gilmer is a food desert. Nine (9) of those counties with food deserts are NOT along the state border, and nine (9) of those counties also have a mean yearly income less than $50,000.

WV has seven (7) counties with a mean household income over $60,000. With the exception of Kanawha, all those are border counties, meaning residents can easily drive to another state to make purchases. There are 16 counties with a mean income over $55,000, [D] 12 of those counties are border counties. Of those remaining four, only Nicholas and Taylor counties do not have an Interstate running through them.

There are 18 counties with a population over 30,000. [E] 13 of those counties are border counties. Of the remaining five, only Logan county does not have an Interstate running through it.

With me so far?

When you step back and look at the big picture, you see that the wealthiest and most populated counties tend to be border counties, where people can easily drive to another state to shop.

Of those interior counties, nine (9) have areas that are food deserts, four (4) have unemployment rates over 5.5%, ten (10) of those counties have a mean income of less than $50,000, and eleven counties have populations of less than 20,000 people.

Those who will be contributing most to the taxes to keep the state afloat are predominantly going to be those who can least afford the extra burden, while the wealthy will be able to avoid paying the consumption tax by easily driving over the border to another state. [F]

This idea could only have been come up by someone either profoundly ignorant of the population of the state, or profoundly ignorant of human nature.

Either way, it is the poor who will get screwed.

This is the Excel file I used to collate the data downloaded from the Census bureau and USDA.

[A] OH is somewhat problematic, since there the Ohio river is the border between WV and OH, and thus you can only cross at bridges, which are predominantly in the wealthier counties.

[B] There are other major roads that criss-cross the state, but most are good roads for only a portion. FREX, Most Rt 50 from Clarksburg to Parkersburg is a relatively flat and straight divide four lane divided highway. From Bridgeport East to the border, it’s two lanes, windy, and with several 7-9% grades. So I only counted Interstates with consider ease of access to other states.

[C] Food Deserts: Barbour, Fayette, Gilmer, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Mingo, Monroe, Roane, Upshur, Webster, Wetzel

[D] Income over $55k: Berkeley, Brooke, Cabell, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Nicholas, Ohio, Pleasants, Putnam, Taylor, Wood

[E] Population over 30k: Berkeley, Cabell, Fayette, Greenbrier, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mercer, Monongalia, Ohio, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Wayne, Wood

[F] And I do mean driving. Public transportation is abysmal in much of the state, and in rural areas, you are trapped without a car; you cannot get a job, go to the doctor, get groceries, etc.

All data from:
US Census Bureau – WV
USDA – Food Deserts

Written by Michelle at 2:15 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Politics,West Virginia  

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  

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

We’ve actually been out to Coopers Rock several times this year, but the weather has been so gloomy, I carried my camera solely for weight-bearing exercise, apparently.

But Saturday was snowy and pretty, so we hiked down to Mont Chateau, one of my favorite hikes.

Location: Coopers Rock State Park
Date: 2017-01-28
Distance: 6.2 miles
Elevation: 1483-2412 feet
Trails: Advanced Ski Trail, Mont Chateau Trail
Temperature: 28 F

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What? Doesn’t everyone clamber along streams in 30 F weather?

Here are the previous hikes, if you were interested in the hikes.

Date: 2017-01-21
Distance: 5.7 miles
Elevation: 1806-2350
Trails: Advanced Ski, Resovoir Loop, Clay Run Trails
Temperature: 60 F

Date: 2017-01-15
Distance: 3.3 + miles (GPS cut out for part)
Elevation: 1768-2420 feet
Trails: Advanced Ski, Resovior Loop, Roadside Trails
Temperature: 35 F

New Years Day Hike! (Lots and lots of people out)

Date: 2017-01-01
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation: 1961-2393 feet
Trails: Roadside, Scott’s Run Trails
Temperature: ~40 F

Written by Michelle at 9:40 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,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 9, 2016

New Hiking Pages

I’ve finally gotten enough done on my Hiking WV pages, that I’ve made links to the site.

The State Parks section is pretty much done and will (hopefully) be updated. The National Parks section has yet to be started. (NOTE: The Coopers Rock pages is totally not done. We’ve hiked all the official trails, so I have a fair amount of data to parse.)

The pages have a single picture (when available) of that site, a link to my Flickr album (if there is one), a link to the state park website (if there is one), and the trails hiked as well as distances, elevations, and GPS maps (if there were any).

Please let me know what you think, and what recommendations you have for making it more usable.

Should there be a menu listing all the parks? Are there other categories that would be useful? Should I have a link to the official trail map for that park or is the map to park site sufficient?

The hiking trails are sometimes listed individually, sometimes as a group, depending upon how they were hiked. Does this make a difference to anyone?

I know I need a region map, because I don’t know of anyone who is aware of all those region designations, but the map I found isn’t very high quality.

Written by Michelle at 3:13 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,West Virginia  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Voting My Conscience

There are a lot of posts going around FB about how it is essentially immoral to vote for a third party candidate.

Mind you, most of those articles are directed towards the presidential election, but still the statements are broad and sweeping.

And I do understand these statements, for I’ve given friends a hard time for voting for Ralph Nader over Al Gore, and giving us W (something for which WV continues to suffer, as the recession hit us later and harder than the rest of the country, and never mind the lives lost in Iraq).

And so I understand these statements, for this presidential election is terrifying.

But still, it is their right to vote for whom they please, and to vote their conscience. And at least they’re voting, which is something many many people can’t be bothered to do. Which makes even less sense to me. Because when we vote in November, the presidential ticket is just one of the contests, many of which will have as much if not more influence on our day-to-day lives. (1) (2)

Which brings me the article that started off this rant.

The governor’s race in WV.

Billionaire Gubernatorial Candidate Owes $15 Million in Taxes and Fines

His mining companies owe $15 million in six states, including property and minerals taxes, state coal severance and withholding taxes, and federal income, excise and unemployment taxes, as well as mine safety penalties, according to county, state and federal records.

In the past 16 months, while fines and taxes went unpaid, Justice personally contributed nearly $2.9 million in interest-free loans and in-kind contributions to his gubernatorial campaign, according to state campaign finance reports.

I cannot in good conscience vote for either major party candidate.

I simply cannot. I don’t believe that either candidate truly has the good of West Virginians and the future of our state in mind. Not only do their words show a willful ignorance of what the future is going to hold, their past actions show that they haven’t held the good of the state and it’s people as most important.

Say what you will about the late Senator Byrd, but that man did everything–absolutely everything–to help the state. To make our lives better and give us a future. Not by putting his name on every building in the state, but by recognizing that without things other states take for granted, like roads that are capable of handling commercial truck traffic, we had no future.

We cannot base our future upon non-renewable resources.

We simply cannot.

We have so much to offer here, so much beauty and recreation and and so many marvels–marvels and beauty that will be destroyed if we refuse to acknowledge that our future does not and cannot lie with extractive industries.

A politician that refuses to acknowledge that truth cannot have the good of the state in mind, and cannot care about our future generations and what we are leaving them.

And that is why I won’t be voting for either of the major party candidates for governor. Because I love this state, and it doesn’t seem like the candidates even care.

——

(1) Every time we sit in horrible traffic on the Mileground, we’re sitting there because a decade ago people refused to approve the levy to widen the road. That’s hours and hours of time lost in the intervening years, as the situation got worse, and will be even more difficult and time-consuming and miserable to remedy now.

(2) And then there are the city-wide debates over land use and farming and keeping livestock within city limits. These are issues we are going to deal with the results of going forward for years. Should you have the right to grow your own food? Should you be forced to live next to a chicken coop that is both noisy and poorly cleaned? These decisions will affect our quality of life going forward, and whether you refuse to vote or not, you still have to live with the consequences.

Written by Michelle at 7:01 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Politics,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  
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