Random (but not really)

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.

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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.

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And then leaves piled up in the stream.

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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  

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  

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  

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  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls & Canaan Valley SPs

Most of our hiking was with small people this weekend, so they were short, easy hikes.

We did do one hike for ourselves–I’ve wanted for awhile to scramble down to the falls that are visible across the gorge from Pendleton Point. So, we did.

The Canaan Valley SP hike is one I highly recommend for small people. It’s short, it’s relatively flat, and it’s gorgeous.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Blackwater River Trail
Distance: 0.9 miles
Elevation: 3252-3337 feet

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Here’s the hike we did for me.

Location: Blackwater Falls
Trail: Elekala Falls and off trail
Distance: 0.9 miles
Elevation: 3031-3219 feet

Here are the main falls, the ones directly below the lodge.

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The next set of falls:

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Next falls down:

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Hey look! Pendleton Point!

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And finally the section of falls visible from Pendleton Point:

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The scramble wasn’t awful, but the rhododendron is thick, which always makes things difficult.

I wouldn’t mind going down when it was a little drier, just so I could explore a little more. (This is me: I refuse to clamber along falls when there is a fast flow of water. Because I’m not a complete idiot.)

Written by Michelle at 6:27 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Yesterday kept threatening thunderstorms all day, so no hiking. So today we went down to the Mont Chateau trail. The creek was running really high.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Rock City, Ridge, Mont Chateau, Rhododendron Trails
Distance: 4.3 miles
Elevation: 1497-2107 feet (724 feet gain)
Temperature: 68-72 F

This is where I usually build my rock piles. As you can see, everything previous was washed away.

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Much deeper water than normal. Plus MUCH colder.

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Water was cascading down both sides of the split. Not fast enough to be dangerous, but fast enough for me to be extra careful.

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Nature left this, perhaps in compensation for knocking down all my rock piles.

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Written by Michelle at 7:08 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Because Michael had to go into work yesterday, we didn’t get out to the woods until late, so we took the Iron Furnace trail, which is rocky but much less steep, down to the Mont Chateau Trail, and then played around in the creek for awhile.

Because what’s the point of being an adult if you can’t play in the creek?

Location: Coopers Rock
Trails: Iron Furnace, Mont Chateau Trails
Distance: 3.4 miles
Elevation: 1517-1946 feet (810 feet gain)
Temperature: 79-78 F

Last week’s storm knocked down my rocks, so I stacked up more.

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I would have stayed longer if I wasn’t worried about stumbling on my way out in the dark.

Written by Michelle at 1:42 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls

Since we were already in the area, we decided to stop by Blackwater Falls and see what the heavy rainfall was producing.

It produced a lot of water going over the falls and down the river.

We didn’t hike any full trails, just wandered out to spots that I knew would be pretty.

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Written by Michelle at 8:59 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley

I really like the Blackwater Trail at Cannan Valley SP. It’s a very short trail, with almost no elevation gain, but it goes through three different kinds of landscape–the prettiest of which is beside the winding Blackwater River. If you’re looking for a trail to take small kids, this is the one you want.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Blackwater Trail
Distance: 1.0 miles
Elevation: 3213-3275 feet

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Written by Michelle at 8:52 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hiking WV: North Bend State Park

Every other place I’ve been, a trail named “Nature Trail” is about a quarter of a mile long, extremely flat (if not paved) and frequently has interpretive signs.

This was not your average nature trail.

Location: North Bend State Park
Trail: Nature Trail
Distance: 4.3 miles
Elevation: 708-1183 feet (875 feet total ascent)
Temperature: 79-85 F

I’m not saying this was anything like last week’s trail with a 24% grade. Just that this was a 4 mile trail that had significant elevation gain (although with switchbacks, not straight up!). This trail went through the entire park, which means that most of it was quiet and peaceful, except for the bits that went through the campground, near the swimming pool, and along the picnic area. Those parts were loud and populated. But for a loop it was an easy price to pay.

At the top of the trail, we saw the remains of a very old fence.

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These original state park trail signs are getting rarer. I particularly like the descriptiveness of this one.

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Found an old cemetery.

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Very old, since these were the only grave markers we could find.

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We also took a brief stroll on the North Bend Rail trail.

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These little spaces were built every few feet into the tunnel. For someone to escape into if they were caught in a tunnel when the train came through.

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Written by Michelle at 8:58 pm      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hiking WV: Holly River State Park

I’ll be honest. This is the first time in years that I seriously considered not completing our planned hike, because I didn’t think I could finish. The hike up the mountain was that steep. Luckily, Michael checked and saw we were almost to the top, so we persevered. I’m glad we finished what we had planned, but I’m sorry to say the Overlook was NOT worth the hike up the mountain.

Location: Holly River State Park
Trail: Potato Knob Trail (partial)
Distance: 5.4 miles
Elevation: 1855-2677 feet (822 foot gain)
Percent Grade for Steepest Part: 24.1 % for 0.4 miles

First, the hike up the mountain. It was 24.1 % for 0.4 miles. Part of the reason I almost gave up was because we’d only hiked a third of a mile when I stopped to rest. I thought the mountain portion of the hike was about a mile, and if we were less than halfway there was no way I wanted to continue. Luckily, Michael looked at his map app, and realized we were close to the top of the mountain.

Note that there are almost no switch backs, it was just straight up, over fallen trees and rocky ground.

Here is the elevation graph of the hike.

As I said, the overlook was not impressive. Here we are at the overlook.

Very Disappointing Overlook. (Look! Trees!)

Here is what you were actually seeing from the overlook.

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(Michael likes to point at random things when posed in front of signs)

The lower portion of the trail was gorgeous, which made up for the lack of an overlook. However, it is not anything you can manage if there has been a recent heavy rain, as it runs right beside the creek, occasionally stepping into the empty creek bed.

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But as for that hike along (and in) the Holly River, it was gorgeous. I took about a zillion pictures, half of which I put up on Flickr. I’m only going to put a few pictures here.

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So here are my thoughts: if you want to hike the Potato Knob trail at Holly River. Hike the lower portion to the road, but prepared to get your feet wet. If you want to see the overlook, hike to it from the Ridge Road trail, which is a much easier grade. The hike up the mountain? Leave that for masochists and people I don’t like.

Written by Michelle at 9:07 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hiking WV: Lost River State Park

The forecast was for rain throughout most of the state, but I found that the Eastern panhandle was just supposed to be overcast, so off to the Eastern Panhandle we went! Since we visit Berkeley Springs/Cacapon relatively frequently, we decided to go back to Lost River State Park, since that is one of the first state parks we traveled to.

Location: Lost River State Park
Trails: White Oak, Millers Rock Trails
Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation: 2956-1940 feet (1016 feet)
Average Grade: 6% (lower portion of the trail to first shelter ~11% grade)
Temperature: 72-75 F

Here is a panorama shot from Cranny Crow overlook. It’s a beautiful view, looking over into VA and WV.

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FUTURE SNACKS!

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Switchbacks! You can see two portions of the trail below.

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It was a gorgeous view.

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Map of the hike.

Elevation Graph

Written by Michelle at 8:10 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Traveling WV: Watters Smith State Park

We stopped at Watters Smith State Park on our way home, on the off chance that just this once the museum would be open.

It wasn’t.

They are, however, repairing and reconstructing the oldest and most damaged of the wood structures, which is fascinating.

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Written by Michelle at 9:00 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Cedar Creek State Park

FINALLY! A Saturday without rain! And we even had some SUN! So we headed south, west of I79 where the weather looked most promising, and although the ground was soggy, the park hasn’t been hiked much this spring, so it wasn’t muddy. Which after a winter hiking Coopers Rock, was a very pleasant surprise.

Because there were so few people, we saw lots of wildlife and heard even more birds.

Location: Cedar Creek State Park
Trails: Park View, Fishermen’s Trails
Distance: 2.2 miles
Elevation: 731-1256 feet (525)
Temperature: 58-64 F

Seriously, this is the trail along the ridge line. You can just see the blazes in the distance.

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Scarlet Tanager

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(ahem) Turtles

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We also saw a baby snake AND Michael didn’t scream! (It was moving to fast for me to get a picture.)

Vending machine. Note it takes only quarters. Maybe from the 60s or 70s?

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Written by Michelle at 8:48 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock State Forest

Friday afternoon was gorgeous, so we of course went out to Coopers Rock.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Unofficial, Clay Run, Mont Chateau, Rhododendron, Ridge, Rock City, Eagle Trails
Distance: 5.6 miles
Elevation: 1517-2256 feet (739 ft change)
Temperature: 74-71 F

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Happy Friday!

Map of the hike

Written by Michelle at 8:55 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  
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