Random (but not really)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Traveling WV: Blackwater Falls & Canaan Valley

This weekend we did some hiking, but that was just a means to and end–to enjoy how beautiful Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley were.

Blackwater Falls







Canaan Valley




Written by Michelle at 4:58 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Sunday, October 9, 2016

New Hiking Pages

I’ve finally gotten enough done on my Hiking WV pages, that I’ve made links to the site.

The State Parks section is pretty much done and will (hopefully) be updated. The National Parks section has yet to be started. (NOTE: The Coopers Rock pages is totally not done. We’ve hiked all the official trails, so I have a fair amount of data to parse.)

The pages have a single picture (when available) of that site, a link to my Flickr album (if there is one), a link to the state park website (if there is one), and the trails hiked as well as distances, elevations, and GPS maps (if there were any).

Please let me know what you think, and what recommendations you have for making it more usable.

Should there be a menu listing all the parks? Are there other categories that would be useful? Should I have a link to the official trail map for that park or is the map to park site sufficient?

The hiking trails are sometimes listed individually, sometimes as a group, depending upon how they were hiked. Does this make a difference to anyone?

I know I need a region map, because I don’t know of anyone who is aware of all those region designations, but the map I found isn’t very high quality.

Written by Michelle at 3:13 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,West Virginia  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Voting My Conscience

There are a lot of posts going around FB about how it is essentially immoral to vote for a third party candidate.

Mind you, most of those articles are directed towards the presidential election, but still the statements are broad and sweeping.

And I do understand these statements, for I’ve given friends a hard time for voting for Ralph Nader over Al Gore, and giving us W (something for which WV continues to suffer, as the recession hit us later and harder than the rest of the country, and never mind the lives lost in Iraq).

And so I understand these statements, for this presidential election is terrifying.

But still, it is their right to vote for whom they please, and to vote their conscience. And at least they’re voting, which is something many many people can’t be bothered to do. Which makes even less sense to me. Because when we vote in November, the presidential ticket is just one of the contests, many of which will have as much if not more influence on our day-to-day lives. (1) (2)

Which brings me the article that started off this rant.

The governor’s race in WV.

Billionaire Gubernatorial Candidate Owes $15 Million in Taxes and Fines

His mining companies owe $15 million in six states, including property and minerals taxes, state coal severance and withholding taxes, and federal income, excise and unemployment taxes, as well as mine safety penalties, according to county, state and federal records.

In the past 16 months, while fines and taxes went unpaid, Justice personally contributed nearly $2.9 million in interest-free loans and in-kind contributions to his gubernatorial campaign, according to state campaign finance reports.

I cannot in good conscience vote for either major party candidate.

I simply cannot. I don’t believe that either candidate truly has the good of West Virginians and the future of our state in mind. Not only do their words show a willful ignorance of what the future is going to hold, their past actions show that they haven’t held the good of the state and it’s people as most important.

Say what you will about the late Senator Byrd, but that man did everything–absolutely everything–to help the state. To make our lives better and give us a future. Not by putting his name on every building in the state, but by recognizing that without things other states take for granted, like roads that are capable of handling commercial truck traffic, we had no future.

We cannot base our future upon non-renewable resources.

We simply cannot.

We have so much to offer here, so much beauty and recreation and and so many marvels–marvels and beauty that will be destroyed if we refuse to acknowledge that our future does not and cannot lie with extractive industries.

A politician that refuses to acknowledge that truth cannot have the good of the state in mind, and cannot care about our future generations and what we are leaving them.

And that is why I won’t be voting for either of the major party candidates for governor. Because I love this state, and it doesn’t seem like the candidates even care.


(1) Every time we sit in horrible traffic on the Mileground, we’re sitting there because a decade ago people refused to approve the levy to widen the road. That’s hours and hours of time lost in the intervening years, as the situation got worse, and will be even more difficult and time-consuming and miserable to remedy now.

(2) And then there are the city-wide debates over land use and farming and keeping livestock within city limits. These are issues we are going to deal with the results of going forward for years. Should you have the right to grow your own food? Should you be forced to live next to a chicken coop that is both noisy and poorly cleaned? These decisions will affect our quality of life going forward, and whether you refuse to vote or not, you still have to live with the consequences.

Written by Michelle at 7:01 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Politics,West Virginia  

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Books of September

And it’s barely October!

I read 14 books this month, which puts me at 133 books for the year, which means I’ve read more books by October than I read in all of 2008, 2010, and 2011.

For what that’s worth.

Which isn’t much.

The best books were the Owen Archer series by Candace Robb (I believe this historical mystery series is completed),
Blood of the Earth
the new start of a new series by Faith Hunter set in Jane Yellowrock’s world, and the second Rivers of London comic series, Rivers of London: Night Witch by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan, Luis Guerrero. Plus I enjoyed Thor Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder. That was fun, even if there was a crap of subtext I totally missed.

Mystery, Historical

Owen Archer
The King’s Bishop (1996) Candace Robb (8/10)
The Riddle of St. Leonard’s (1997) Candace Robb (8/10)
A Gift of Sanctuary (1998) Candace Robb (7.5/10)
A Spy for the Redeemer (2002) Candace Robb (8/10)
The Cross-Legged Knight (2006) Candace Robb (8/10)
The Guilt of Innocents (2006) Candace Robb (8.5/10)
A Vigil of Spies (2008) Candace Robb (8/10)
Charles Lennox
The Fleet Street Murders (2009) Charles Finch (6/10)
The September Society (2008) Charles Finch (6/10)

Fantasy, Supernatural

Blood of the Earth
(2016) Faith Hunter (8/10)

Graphic Novel

Rivers of London: Night Witch (2016) by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan, Luis Guerrero (9/10)
Thor Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder (2015) Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman (8/10)
Hellboy in Mexico (2016) Mike Mignola, Richard Corben, Mick Mahon, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba
She-Hulk Volume 2: Disorderly Conduct (2015) Charles Soule and Javier Pulido (6/10)

You might find this hard to believe, but I actually read four paper books this month!

They were all comics, but still! Paper!

And only two re-reads in September. Mostly because I was busy devouring the Owen Archer series.

Genre-wise, it was predominantly mysteries this month, plus the comics.

Fantasy : 2
Mystery : 9
Comic : 4

As far as authors go, men were almost even this month, but female authors are still way ahead for the year. (And will likely stay ahead, since the series I just started, I discovered was written under a male pseudonym.)

Male : 6
Female : 8

And that’s this month’s reading wrap-up!

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday Flower Pr0n

Today needed something relaxingly active, so we took a trip to the WV Botanic Garden







Happy Fall!

Written by Michelle at 2:21 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Morgantown,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Cranberry Backcountry

We’d discussed hiking in the Cranberry Wilderness, but I’d wanted to visit the Nature Center, since it closes mid-October. To get to the trails we’d considered, we’d have had to either back-track to Richwood, or take the Highland Scenic Highway all the way around the wilderness, so we instead decided to walk on the forest road past the boardwalk and see where that took us.

We took the North Fork trail up to the Kennison Mountain trail and then turned around and came back down.

Location: Cranberry Backcountry
Trail: North Fork Trail
Distance: 5.0 miles
Elevation: 3380-4113 feet (Average 5.6% grade)

There were a couple of steepish sections, but mostly it was a (relatively) gradual uphill hike (gradual for WV mind you).





The lower portion of the trail meandered across several creeks, most of which were flowing from the previous night’s rain.

It was really really pretty.


If you’re looking to hike in more solitude than you’ll find in busier parks and forests (like our local forest, Coopers Rock) then I cannot recommend highly enough visiting the Cranberry Wilderness.

Written by Michelle at 10:02 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Cranberry Glades

Cranberry Glades Botanical area is a short boardwalk that allows you to see a variety of plants, some of which are found only in this area.

Location: Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
Trail: Cranberry Glades Boardwalk
Distance: 0.6 mile
Elevation: 3383-3419 feet

Unlike the Falls of Hills Creek, the boardwalk here is flat and handicapped accessible.


Pitcher plant


The start of the boardwalk is is along the open area, but it quicly turns into the bog, where the vegetation is more closed in, and you cross Yew creek multiple times. (This is cause for multiple repetitions of “Yew again!” because we are horrible people.)



Written by Michelle at 9:43 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Falls of Hills Creek

Location: Falls of Hills Creek
Trail: Falls Trail
Distance: 1.1 miles
Elevation: 3235-3519 feet (9.1% grade)

Don’t walk this trail unless you like stairs. Lots of them. We got 31 flights of stairs coming back up from the lower falls. And if it’s at all wet, be cautious, because the boardwalk is slippery.


The Lower Falls


The Middle Falls


This is the first time we visited at (near) midday, where all the falls had some sunlight.

Written by Michelle at 9:29 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

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