Random (but not really)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley State Park

This is a ridiculously easy hike, but it’s also one of my favorites, because it is always beautiful.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Blackwater River Trail
Distance: 0.8 miles
Elevation: 3243-3331 feet

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Written by Michelle at 2:00 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, May 21, 2018

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Despite off and on again rain, we went to Coopers Rock on Saturday, and we had a surprising amount of sun, making it a beautiful hike.

We made it to my favorite place.

It was good.

Location: Coopers Rock
Trails: Rhododendron, Mont Chateau, Ridge Trails
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation: 148-2092 feet (804 ft gain)

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Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Hiking WV: Snake Hill WMA

As much as I love the Morgantown Farmers Market, I *hate* their winter market hours. 11 AM on a Saturday means we can EITHER go to the market OR go somewhere and go hiking.

Despite the beautiful weather, we went to the Farmers Market, so we needed a close place to hike on Saturday, so we ended up at Snake Hill WMA (Wildlife Management Area). There are multiple logging / gas / access roads and multiple trails off them. The trails are unmarked and not blazed, but they had enough use to be pretty obvious.

The trail we set out to hike–the Canyon Rim trail–has four overlooks: Table Rock, Lake View, Middle View, and River View. For trails and overlooks that are not maintained, three of the four had excellent views. We also only came across one other group of hikers, which for a beautiful Saturday afternoon, was nice. (At Coopers Rock on nice days there are a constant stream of people; it’s nice people are visiting the forest, but not nice for relative solitude.)

Location: Snake Hill WMA
Trails: Canyon Rim, Cheat View, Little Hoop, Big Dipper, Northside Trails
Distance: 3.8 miles
Elevation: 1715-2342 feet (698 feet elevation rise)

Facing west towards Cheat Lake (Lake View overlook)

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Facing east towards Cheat River, Raven Rock is on the left (River View overlook)

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Coopers Rock Overlook. I swear I’ve never noticed that giant rock down and to the right.

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In Snake Hill WMA there is a small cemetery, with three gravestones, and one rock that might be a marker. All three males (ages 4, 17, 19) died in 1860, two in July and one in October.

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Written by Michelle at 3:43 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Morgantown,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley SP – Bald Knob

Our third hike on Friday was also at Canaan Valley State Park, but on the ski area part of the park.

This trail was NOT created by or for hikers. It’s labeled a cross-country ski trail, but is not maintained as such. If you want the view at bald knob, I recommend taking the lift up to the top of the mountain, then hiking across to Bald Knob.

The problem are the portions of the trail that are for skiing down. Hiking up or down such a trail isn’t that fun (Michael got blisters, due the steep grade for a longer distance).

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Bald Knob Mountain Trail
Distance: 4.6 miles (out and back)
Elevation: 3572-4336 feet (1000 feet gain)
Parts of the trail: 14% and 16% grades (or steeper)

But the view is lovely.

Here you are looking down into Canaan Valley.

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No switchbacks here. Straight down you go.

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The surprise was this:

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Here you can look down the OTHER side of the mountain. It was kinda cool, although I cropped out the ugliness of where they took out all the trees. It’s not yet a mowed lawn, it’s just a clear-cut clearing. Which is not so attractive.

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Someone (ie:me) forgot to turn on the GPS until we were part way up the mountain, so here’s the trip down, minus the leg up to the peak.

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls

After dinner on Friday, we wanted an easy hike to stretch our legs out, so we did Lindy Point.

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Written by Michelle at 4:29 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley SP

Michael has use-or-lose-leave, so we spent a long weekend in the Canaan area doing lots of hiking.

In the morning we hiked two trails: Blackwater River trail and the Middle Ridge trail. I have pictures from the one and data from the other.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Middle Ridge Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles (loop)
Elevation: 3331-3558 (483 feet gain)
Temperature: 66-74

The Middle Ridge Trail doesn’t have many scenic vistas, but it does go through several different kinds of areas, and goes by a bog–it’s dry right now, so I didn’t find anything picturesque about the bog, but on the plus side, our feet stayed dry.

I do love the Blackwater River Trail

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Here is the elevation graph for the Middle Ridge Trail.

Written by Michelle at 3:47 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Hiking WV: Cacapon State Park

The weather recently has been all over the place, but Saturday was beautiful, so we took the opportunity to go to Cacapon. (I was also hoping that there might be blooming flowers at Berkeley Springs.)

For all the rain we’ve had, the trails we hiked were weirdly dry–because they were so steep.

Location: Cacapon State Park
Trails: Ziler, Ziler Loop Trails
Distance: 5.5 miles
Elevation: 961-2273 feet (1800 feet gain)
Temperature: 58-67 F

0.6 mile of Ziler trail was 22.6% grade
Entire Ziler trail was 1.3 miles @ 17.6% grade with 1242 feet ascent

For all the elevation gain, there aren’t any decent scenic overlooks or views–the woods are thick and there what rock outcroppings there are don’t go above the treeline.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a view, it just means there isn’t a photographable view.

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At some point we’re going take the trail to Prospect Rock. But this trip we apparently wanted to torture ourselves with the Ziler trail.

Cacapon hike

Written by Michelle at 8:55 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, February 11, 2018

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.

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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.

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Ice sandwich!

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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.

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As well as Elekala Falls.

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

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

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See! Gorgeous!

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

Sunday, February 4, 2018

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.

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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.

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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.)

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Pretty!

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We also went down to Elakala Falls.

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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.

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

But it was well worth it.

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

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We also went to Canaan Valley SP.

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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

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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.

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

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

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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  

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  
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