Random (but not really)

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  

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  

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  

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, 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  
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