Random (but not really)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Hiking WV: Solly Sods

Our original plan was the get to Canaan Thursday night and spend Friday and the weekend hiking, but when the forecast changed to rain on Saturday and overcast all Friday, we shifted things a bit so I could take pictures Thursday afternoon, and then Friday would be hiking.

We got very lucky, because instead of overcast, the weather was partially cloudy, and our hike at Dolly Sods ended up being absolutely stunning.

Location: Dolly Sods
Trails: Rocky Ridge, Blackbird Knob, Harman Trails
Distance: 4.2 miles
Elevation: 3746-4190 feet (684 ft)
Temperature: 30-41F

We’ve had a lot of odd weather this winter. For the second time this month, we had rain immediately followed by freezing temperatures and snow. When the rain fell on ground that was already freezing, it meant a lot of ice.

This was the trail we took up to Dolly Sods. It was a little more exciting than I generally prefer.

2018-02-09_Dolly_Sods_24

Luckily, that was the worst portion of anything we hiked, and the view was well-worth the care we had to take reaching the ridge.

2018-02-09_Dolly_Sods_36

Until temperatures warmed up to the mid 30s, all the trees were covered with snow and frost, and we walked through an amazing winter wonderland.

2018-02-09_Dolly_Sods_26

2018-02-09_Dolly_Sods_12

We hiked down to the Left Branch of Red Creek and then turned around. It wasn’t one of our longest hike, but stepping into the occasional drift made the hike a little more work than usual.

2018-02-09_Dolly_Sods_56

It once again reminded me how very lucky I am to both live in such an amazing place, and be able to get out and enjoy it.

2018-02-09_Dolly_Sods_60

Written by Michelle at 8:53 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley

Of course we hiked the Blackwater Trail at Canaan Valley, because it’s one of my favorite trails, and since it’s short and easy, there’s never a reason not to hike it.

20180209_Canaan_059

I’ve been trying for as long as I’ve been hiking this trail to get a picture I liked of these stones (they are in several places). Finally, with the light coming through the winter trees and the snow lightening everything, I finally got a couple pictures I liked.

20180209_Canaan_071

Ice sandwich!

20180209_Canaan_063

20180209_Canaan_076

20180209_Canaan_050

Written by Michelle at 8:06 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls

Since the forecast for the weekend was rain rain rain rain rain, we decided to do our hiking Thursday and Friday.

Our first stop was Blackwater Falls (since its the first place we go past on our way from Morgantown).

It was beautiful. The trees were all rimmed with snow and frost and we had a lovely time wandering around enjoying the scenery.

No ice, but there was a LOT of water going over the main falls.

20180208_Blackwater_Falls_024

As well as Elekala Falls.

20180208_Blackwater_Falls_031

It took many shots and a lot of contortions to get a decent shot of this ice. But it was fascinating and beautiful.

20180208_Blackwater_Falls_034

From Pendleton point, you can see the falls below Elekala falls, which we scrambled down to last summer.

20180208_Blackwater_Falls_012

See! Gorgeous!

20180208_Blackwater_Falls_019

Written by Michelle at 6:27 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Hiking WV: New River Gorge

It had warmed up by the time we made it to New River Gorge, but there was still snow, and it was still beautiful.

We hadn’t been to endless wall in the winter before, so I was surprised to see 1) how close we actually were to the ground and 2) the shape of the underlying mountains.

2018-02-03_New_River_Gorge_21

With the leaf fall, you can see across the river to the Kaymoor Miners Trail and old Kaymoor Mine site.

If you zoom in on this picture, you can more clearly see the 821 steps down to the railroad tracks.

2018-02-03_New_River_Gorge_2

Here is the bottom of the site and you can see the decayed buildings and ghosts of the railroad tracks.

2018-02-03_New_River_Gorge_3

The trail itself is a relatively easy and has an amazing payoff.

2018-02-03_New_River_Gorge_29

We wandered off trail a bit to explore the creek.

2018-02-03_New_River_Gorge_31

2018-02-03_New_River_Gorge_37

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

Traveling WV: Babcock State Park

We were originally heading to Cranberry Glades when I realized how beautiful the morning was, and that Babcock State Park would most likely be beautiful, so we stayed on 19 and were well-rewarded.

We didn’t hike much, just walked around finding the places I thought would be most beautiful.

2018-02-03_Babcock_47

2018-02-03_Babcock_34

2018-02-03_Babcock_26

2018-02-03_Babcock_40

2018-02-03_Babcock_10

Written by Michelle at 9:16 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley & Blackwater Falls

Since we’d had a cold snap after the rains, and since temps were supposed to start rising, we took Friday to travel to Blackwater Falls in hopes that the falls were frozen.

It hadn’t bee cold enough to freeze the falls completely, but there was still a fair amount of ice.

2018-01-19_Blackwater_Falls_29

Why yes, I did ignore the “Closed” sign and went down the stairs.

For this view? It was worth it. (Plus, I was very careful.)

2018-01-19_Blackwater_Falls_24

Pretty!

2018-01-19_Blackwater_Falls_28

We also went down to Elakala Falls.

2018-01-19_Blackwater_Falls_104

Let me be clear, the scramble down is never especially easy, but in the winter, especially after a lot of rain and then a snap freeze, the path is treacherous.

2018-01-19_Blackwater_Falls_55

We wore Yaktrax, because I know very well how clumsy I am.

But it was well worth it.

2018-01-19_Blackwater_Falls_62

Because it was already warming up, water was starting to trickle down the icicles.

2018-01-19_Blackwater_Falls_63

We also went to Canaan Valley SP.

2018-01-19_Canaan_Valley_27

I mentioned that earlier we’d had rain and then a quick freeze earlier. I hadn’t quite thought about how that would affect this boggy, marshy area.

What happened is that the low areas flooded, and then froze. So any low-lying ground ended up covered in ice.

2018-01-19_Canaan_Valley_7

Normally we’ll walk out to the end of this bit of land, but the path was solid ice–and slippery. So we just looked (it wasn’t worth the view to pull out and put on the Yaktrax). It was pretty amazing.

If you look closely at this picture, you’ll see that a layer of ice formed on the grass, several inches above the ground.

2018-01-19_Canaan_Valley_15

It was a wonderful day, and I’m glad we were able to get away to enjoy it.

2018-01-19_Canaan_Valley_40

Written by Michelle at 11:18 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, January 1, 2018

Hiking WV: End of 2017 Start of 2018

We ended 2017 with a hike and Coopers Rock, and began 2018 in the same way.

It was cold, but the days were beautiful so we had wonderful hikes!

Date: 2017-12-31
Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Headwaters, Roadside Trails
Distance: 3.3 miles
Elevation: 1874-2412 feet
Temperature: 11-14 F

2017-12-31_Coopers_Rock_17

2017-12-31_Coopers_Rock_23

2017-12-31_Coopers_Rock_10

2017-12-31_Coopers_Rock_1

Date: 2018-01-01
Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Hemlock Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles
Elevation: 1620-1866 feet
Temperature: 8-10 F

2018-01-01_Coopers_Rock_7

2018-01-01_Coopers_Rock_5

2018-01-01_Coopers_Rock_13

Written by Michelle at 7:40 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley State Park

As I’ve mentioned before, this is one of my favorite hikes. It’s very short, so it’s good for small kids, but you walk through different habitats and it’s just gorgeous.

2017-12-16_Canaan_Valley_0001

This is the first time the Blackwater river has been frozen when we’ve hiked here.

2017-12-16_Canaan_Valley_0006

This is the point at which someone went through the ice–and that someone was NOT me.

2017-12-16_Canaan_Valley_0012

Picture taking had been curtailed after someone (NOT ME) got their lower leg wet. But I still got a couple shots I really liked.

Written by Michelle at 10:21 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Dolly Sods

Friday was overcast and snowing, which was beautiful in its own way, but not very photogenic.

By Saturday afternoon, skies were clear and the sun was out. It was beautiful.

2017-12-16_Dolly_Sods_0006

2017-12-16_Dolly_Sods_0002

It was a beautiful hike on a beautiful day with lovely company.

Written by Michelle at 10:16 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

We went hiking on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Black Friday, that Sunday, and Sunday the 3rd. I forgot my camera for the first two hikes, and only pulled it out once when I did remember it.

The thing about the woods in fall is that it’s beautiful, but I can’t say it’s especially photogenic.

At Coopers Rock, unless you’re hiking Ravens Rock, pretty much every trail is down hill on your way out, and then uphill on your way out.

Here you’re at the bottom of the Rhododendron trail. Mont Chateau is off to your right. Henry Clay Iron Furnace, Clay Furnace Trail, Clay Run Trail, and Advanced Ski Trail are all behind you. Several of those trails have trails branching off of them, so you can make a variety of loops.

But it’s all going to be uphill from here, unless you go down to the lake. Then it’s even more uphill upon your return, unless you have someone to drive you back from the lake up the mountain to where you left your car.

20171126_Coopers_Rock_009

Here is one of the two bridges by Henry Clay Iron furnace. This is the area where multiple streams meet to then run down to the lake. Going up most of the trails you can see the streams turn from running water to run off areas that are flowing only after a rain or when the snow melts.

But down here, there is always water.

20171126_Coopers_Rock_006

And then leaves piled up in the stream.

20171126_Coopers_Rock_007

I can spend, literally, hours wandering around these streams, building rock towers, knocking down leaf dams and moving sticks that are blocking the stream.

My excuse is that I want to keep the streams and run-off areas from backing up onto the trails, which makes them a muddy mess that is exacerbated by all the mountain bikes, but truly, I just like playing in the water.

Written by Michelle at 1:39 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

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.

20171114_Harpers_Ferry_032

20171114_Harpers_Ferry_047

20171114_Harpers_Ferry_039

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.

20171114_Harpers_Ferry_103

20171114_Harpers_Ferry_078

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.

20171114_Harpers_Ferry_026

20171114_Harpers_Ferry_009

20171114_Harpers_Ferry_003

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.

20171111_Shepherdstown_001

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

20171111_Shepherdstown_010

20171111_Shepherdstown_007

Aged 82 years and 17 days.

20171111_Shepherdstown_005

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

20171111_Shepherdstown_004

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.

20171105_Coopers_Rock_036

20171105_Coopers_Rock_081

20171105_Coopers_Rock_039

20171105_Coopers_Rock_045

20171105_Coopers_Rock_069

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.

20171102_New_River_Gorge_004

And also because of this view.

20171102_New_River_Gorge_023

Even this view:

20171102_New_River_Gorge_019

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.

20171102_New_River_Gorge_054

20171102_New_River_Gorge_076

20171102_New_River_Gorge_046

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.

20171102_New_River_Gorge_067

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.

20171021_Droop_Mountain_029

20171021_Droop_Mountain_006

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

20171021_Droop_Mountain_027

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.

20171019_Babcock_012

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

20171019_Babcock_041

Little bit of color!

20171019_Babcock_046

20171019_Babcock_032

The path to cabin 8.

20171019_Babcock_029

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.

20171015_Berkeley_Springs_015

20171015_Berkeley_Springs_068

20171015_Berkeley_Springs_084

20171015_Berkeley_Springs_087

20171015_Berkeley_Springs_033

20171015_Berkeley_Springs_057

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.

20171015_Cacapon_003

Here’s the view from Cacapon Mountain Overlook.

20171015_Cacapon_017

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.

20171007_Canaan_Valley_081

20171007_Canaan_Valley_061

20171007_Blackwater_Falls_012

20171007_Blackwater_Falls_029

20171007_Canaan_Valley_018

20171007_Canaan_Valley_050

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.

20170930_Roaring_Plains_007

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

20170930_Roaring_Plains_011

20170930_Roaring_Plains_003

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

Powered by WordPress

books main pictures cats e-mail