Random (but not really)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Traveling WV: Harpers Ferry

We’d hoped to catch the last of the state’s color at Harpers Ferry, but it was past peak, and the weather never cleared, so it was a grey day.

Despite that, I enjoyed walking around Harpers Ferry, especially the old buildings and fieldstone walls.

“May be uneven” is a bit of an understatement.

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Just a little uneven.

I took a lot of pictures of the stairs, because I find them beautiful and fascinating. You can click through any picture to get to Flickr.

The tunnels and such from when the town was water powered.

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I wish the clouds had cleared for a little bit, because I wanted some better pictures of the old church.

Not that it stopped me from taking a million pictures.

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As I said, plenty more pictures if you click through to Flickr.

Written by Michelle at 5:12 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Traveling WV: Shepherdstown

In 2013, I spent some time wandering around the graveyards in Shepherdstown, and I was quite saddened to see that the although the “Reformed Graveyard” was well maintained, directly across the street, the Lutheran graveyard was barely maintained and in terrible shape.

I was delighted to find that someone has stepped up and done a great deal of work cleaning up the Lutheran Graveyard, including putting back up fallen gravestones.

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It looks like the fallen headstones that had been moved from their original place are now neatly leaned up against the cemetery wall.

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Aged 82 years and 17 days.

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Polly was the only thing I could read on this stone.

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Written by Michelle at 4:18 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

This was more of a meander than a hike, since I kept stopping to look at everything from the view to individual leaves.

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Written by Michelle at 6:07 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Friday, November 3, 2017

Hiking WV: New River Gorge

I decided a couple weeks ago that for fall pictures, visiting places during the week would be less crowded and thus much nicer. We still saw people at New River Gorge, because I wanted to hike some of the best views, but it was not crowded, which was lovely.

Location: New River Gorge
Trail: Long Point
Distance: 3.1 miles
Elevation: 1779-2106 ft (539 ft gain)
Temperature: 67-70 F

They spent the summer doing a lot of work on Long Point, and it’s now open again. They replaced the board walk with a causeway, raised the trail in several of the muddy places, and rerouted the trail in other places.

All of which is a sign of how heavily used that trail is, and why you should hike it during the week, rather than the weekend.

Of course, there is good reason the trail is so busy. Because of this view.

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And also because of this view.

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Even this view:

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The other trail we took was Endless Wall out to Diamond Point.

Location: New River Gorge
Trail: Endless Wall (to Diamond Point and back)
Distance: 2.2 miles
Elevation: 1838-1980 ft
Temperature: 70-68 F

One day we’ll hike the entirety of Endless Wall. But since it’s generally the last hike of the day, since Diamond Point is prettiest in late afternoon/early evening, I don’t expect it to be any time soon.

I actually think the view at Diamond Point is nicer than Long Point, but you can’t see the bridge as clearly, so perhaps that’s why it’s less popular with non-climbers.

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The sun and clouds were really uncooperative, so this is one of the best pictures I got. You’ll have to take my word for it that it was even prettier than this.

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Written by Michelle at 9:26 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Traveling WV: Droop Mountain

The unincorporated town of Droop is named for Droop Mountain, where a Civil War battle took place in 1863. The Droop Mountain State Park has preserved these sites and is both an historical site and a state park with hiking trails.

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There was plenty of color, and the drive down 219 was gorgeous.

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Written by Michelle at 9:40 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest  

Friday, October 20, 2017

Traveling WV: Babcock

Unsurprisingly, we were too early for good fall color.

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We looked. We could see no signs of a trail.

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Little bit of color!

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The path to cabin 8.

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Written by Michelle at 8:39 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, October 16, 2017

Traveling WV: Berkeley Springs

There was also supposed to be good color at Berkeley Springs, which was also a lie.

However, I love Berkeley Springs and love watching the air bubble up from the bottom of the springs.

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Written by Michelle at 10:09 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Traveling WV: Fall Color at Cacapon

The report we read said there we be good color at Berkeley Springs & Cacapon. There was color, but not good color, sadly.

But, it was a beautiful day, and we were outside, so the lack of color is only a minimal complaint.

Oh, for anyone with an electric car, Cacapon State Park has EV charging stations now.

This was taken on the Ziller Loop trail. I’m currently restricted from strenuous activity or carrying weight, so we just did a brief saunter and then walked back down.

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Here’s the view from Cacapon Mountain Overlook.

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Not much color, but you can see four states from there. (WV, VA, MD, PA)

Written by Michelle at 9:47 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Traveling WV: Fall Color, Finally

Leaf color change in the Canaan / Blackwater Falls area is supposed to be mid September. The previous two weekends there was minimal color in the area, although the hikes and walks were still beautiful.

This Saturday was sunny and gorgeous and full of color. We went to Canaan Valley State Park, Freeland Boardwalk in Canaan Wilderness Refuge, and Blackwater Falls State Park.

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Written by Michelle at 9:37 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Hiking WV: Roaring Plains (Monongahela Nat’l Forest)

The Roaring Plains are only 3 miles from Dolly Sods, but aren’t quite as crowded (which is nice). We saw people on the trail, but not a constant flow, the way our last hikes at Dolly Sods have been.

Compared to last weekend, we had a relatively easy hike–most of the trail was relatively flat, with only a few steep sections.

Location: Roaring Plains West
Trail: South Prong Trail (partial)
Distance: 6.3 miles
Elevation: 3929-4217 (676 feet climb)
Temperature: 60-57 F

The view of the valleys below was mostly just out of sight. This was the best view of the hike.

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But don’t think that made this a bad hike. It was a beautiful hike.

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Written by Michelle at 8:42 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls State Park

Our last stop was Blackwater Falls State Park. Initially we were going to wander around Pendleton Point and Pendleton lake, and then hike Lindy Point trail, but we both decided we were tired, and it was time to get ice cream and head home.

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Written by Michelle at 7:51 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley State Park

I’ve hiked this trail several times before, and will do so many times again. It’s a very short trail, with little elevation change, yet you go through several different types of habitat.

It’s a beautiful hike, perfect for kids, and one I highly recommend.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Blackwater River Trail
Distance: 0.9 miles
Elevation: 3158-3334 feet

OK, this is actually not along the Blackwater River trail, but the beaver pond is on the way to the trail.

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The Blackwater River, meandering through Canaan Valley

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Written by Michelle at 7:45 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Blackwater Canyon Rim

This was not a true hike, because we had difficulty getting there (you can’t enter trail head into the GPS, then we both misread what the road sign was saying) so we ended up wandering briefly around both ends of the Canyon Rim Trail, as well as climbing up Olsen Lookout Tower.

Location: Backbone Mountain, Monongahela National Forest
Trail: Blackwater Canyon Rim Trail
Elevation: 3200-3785

I did climb Olsen Lookout Tower, but since this is me, I was very slow and careful and did not stumble or fall once!

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The view from the tower. We had two separate 360 views this weekend. Pretty impressive.

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On the other side of the trail, we found this lovely waterfall.

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We will hike this entire trail eventually.

Written by Michelle at 7:36 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Traveling WV: Dolly Sods

After hiking to Chimney Top, we weren’t up for much more of a hike, so we headed across the valley to Dolly Sods.

And I do mean directly across the valley.

That’s the North Fork Mountain Range:

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A closer look–you can see Chimney Top.

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But of course the reason we went was because it’s full-on fall at Dolly Sods right now.

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I love the beauty of my state so very much.

Written by Michelle at 5:04 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Chimney Top

One of the places I found that I wanted to hike was on the North Fork Mountain, up to Chimney Top. In a long weekend of stunning views, this was the best of the lot. Which is good, because it is a long, steep hike, so you deserve the reward when you reach the top.

The trail to Chimney Top is off the North Fork Mountain Trail and marked by two large rock cairns. Along the trail there are views of the west side of Dolly Sods, but if you struggle all the way up to Chimney Top, and the climb onto the rocks (I was hesitant initially but it was worth it) you have a natural 360 view.

It is stunning.

Location: North Fork Mountain
Trail: North Fork Mountain Trail
Distance: 5.2 miles (only to Chimney top & back)
Elevation: 1130-3180 feet (2063 feet)
Grade: 15.4% (avg)
Temperature: 74-80 F

Here is a 180 view facing the Dolly Sods Wilderness.

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Here is a view facing north and west.

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Facing south.

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There were several scrub pine that kept me from getting a shot I liked facing west, but it was still beautiful.

This is the view I had after reaching the top of the trail and collapsing in the nearest shade where I drank water and considered taking a brief nap.

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The rocks themselves are fascinating.

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It was stunning and beautiful and I highly recommend the hike–although bring extra water, because it is STEEP.

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This hike is nor for everyone, but if you think you can manage 2 1/2 miles straight up the mountainside, I do recommend it for the view.

Written by Michelle at 4:52 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Traveling WV: Harmon Rocks

One of the things I wanted to do these trips was to visit some places we hadn’t before. We were focused for awhile on visiting all the state parks & forests, so we hadn’t explored as much of the national forests as I’d have liked. We’ve started remedying that.

Harmon rocks are located just outside the Monongahela National Forest, with no signs and up a very steep and rocky gravel road. (Other vehicles could drive it, our Corolla? Not so much.) In fact we were initially unsure we were in the right place, but parked next two a truck with two gentleman and two hound dogs who had been out hunting bear all day, and they told us the rocks were straight up the hill (the road was, of course, all switchbacks). One gentleman didn’t seem convinced when we said we were good with walking up the hill, but it was less than a mile, and I said we’d already hiked up Seneca Rocks that day, so we’d be fine.

Which we were. Although a little out of breath at the top.

Location: Harmon Rocks
Distance: 1.6 miles (out and back from road)
Elevation: 3527-4151 feet (624 feet climb)
Grade: 18%

The view was well worth the slog up to the top.

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There is a trail of sorts there. But it’s more like a rough path hacked out of the rhododendron and mountain laurel. I don’t really recommend it.

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The view was marvelous.

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I’m not sure I’d want to make the hike up there again, but it really was well-worth the visit.

Written by Michelle at 1:13 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Spruce Knob

This was more of a short wander than a hike, but the colors were better from Spruce Knob.

Also, it was warmer than I have ever known it to be at Spruce Knob. I normally wear multiple layers, and last visit, at the end of May, I was wearing gloves to be more comfortable. Saturday it was in the lower seventies.

Location: Spruce Knob
Trail: Whispering Spruce Trail
Distance: 0.6 miles
Elevation: 4865-4935 feet
Temperature: 72 F

You can see the color change moving down the mountainside here.

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And here, some beautiful color.

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You really can see quite far from the highest point in WV.

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A beautiful walk.

Written by Michelle at 12:57 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Seneca Rocks

We decided a long weekend was in order, to enjoy the clear skies and the color changes in the Monongahela Forest.

It was far warmer than it should have been, and the color change in this area wasn’t much, but it was still a beautiful hike.

Location: Seneca Rocks
Trail: Seneca Rocks Trail
Distance: 3.6 miles
Elevation: 1670-2503 feet (829 ft elevation)
Grade: 9.7%
Temperature: 74-80

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

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hiking WV: Cranberry Wilderness

It’s mid-September, which means some areas in WV are starting to see leaf change. Color change was just starting in the Cranberry Wilderness, which was pretty, however the day was overcast, so it wasn’t good for taking pictures of the landscape.

It was, however, still a lovely day for a hike.

Location: Cranberry Wilderness
Trails: North Fork, West Fork Trails
Distance: 7.5 miles
Elevation: 3766-4425 feet (751 feet rise)
Temperature: 63-52 F

These two trails are old forest roads, so although we dropped in elevation, it was a relatively gentle drop. It was also very interesting so see the wilderness taking over the old road.

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The Middle Fork Trail followed the Middle Fork of the Williams river, and since you’re heading down the mountain, the Middle Fork gets bigger as you go.

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You can see the color starting to move down the mountain.

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Here is the Glade itself, looking off the boardwalk. If there had been sunlight, it would have been even more stunning. But even without it is impressive.

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Written by Michelle at 9:06 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hiking WV: Seneca Creek Backcountry

Saturday was a perfect day for a hike. After great debate, we headed to the Seneca Rocks-Spruce Knob area to hike at Seneca Creek Backcountry.

Location: Seneca Creek Backcountry
Trail: Swallow Rock Trail
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation: 3060-4039 feet (1139 ft elevation gain)
Avg Grade: 8.1%
Temperature: 55-58 F

The trails we’ve hiked at Seneca Creek Backcountry are out and back hikes that start at the bottom of the mountain and go up to the Allegheny Mountain Trail.

Unlike the other trail we hiked, there were not photogenic spots, so I took zero pictures. But it was a lovely hike, and one I would recommend.

Even if next time I’ll pick a trail with vistas for taking pictures.

Written by Michelle at 9:36 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,West Virginia  
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