So I realize that I haven’t posted since September. While we’ve been busy, and have had a couple of decent-sized projects (the new floor being the biggest change), we’ve also just been doing a lot of puttering and chillaxing, and it’s been great.
We’ll see how many posts I get around to writing, but I thought I would start by covering some fun little trips we made back in October.
The first was just a random Saturday that we had free. We got new tires on the Element and wanted to give it a spin, so we trekked down to Mountwood Park, which is off U.S. 50 between Parkersburg and Clarksburg. It’s actually not that long of a drive to get down there, now that it’s four lanes almost the entire way. Mountwood is a pretty decent-sized park, and we spent the day just hiking around and exploring. I think we’ll go back again in the spring, as there were plenty of trails left to try.
The park is well known for its mountain biking trails, but I thought they looked a little terrifying!!!
The colors were just starting to change over, and the weather was perfect.
The trails are pretty well marked. We printed a map before we left, which I definitely recommend as there are trails everywhere, and the visitors’ center wasn’t open when we were there.
There’s a nice-sized pond/lake there as well. We’re actually buying my grandparents’ canoe this spring, and this is one of the places we were thinking about going. (Yes, the canoe could definitely lead to a lot more exciting adventures!)
Part of the park included ruins of a homestead that had belonged to a really rich guy who founded an entire town that used to be down in the valley before the whole place burned down (long story). We ate lunch and explored the foundations, and also saw a copperhead snake. Good times, good times.
Afterwards, we took the Element for a spin on some random back-country West Virginian roads. While it was, at times, difficult to tell whether we were actually on a road or someone’s driveway, we still had a great time. The Element may not be extremely comfortable (especially in the backseat), but that little thing will go basically anywhere you point it, especially with all-terrain tires. It’s like a puppy, all bouncy and eager to please. I freaking love that thing.
All in all, an exceptionally fun day. I definitely think we’ll hit up Mountwood and the surrounding area again this spring.
Later in the month, we went back to West Virginia for an overnighter to celebrate my birthday. The birthday part was that Tom let us stay in a room at Canaan Valley Lodge instead of making me camp!!! 😀
We had been wanting to return to Dolly Sods ever since we went hiking there with my brother and his wife a few summers ago (ah, memories). A second trip there convinced me that this is the wettest place on God’s green earth. But beautiful. Definitely beautiful.
It’s a lot farther to get to Dolly Sods than it is down to Mountwood, which was part of the reason we were going overnight. The drive there was bright, sunny, and lovely.
See those dark storm clouds gathering? They’re right over Dolly Sods, of course.
We parked on the west side of the park this time, in hopes of catching a semi-dry trail up along the northwest edge of the park. The strategy did work – the trail itself was pretty dry, and we didn’t hit the incredibly boggy bit in the middle. I honestly wouldn’t have minded getting my feet wet… except it was barely above freezing there! Yes, we had been in t-shirts on the drive out, and were bundled up in all kinds of layers up at Dolly Sods.
It was actually snowing on our way back!!
After the hike, I was pretty excited about the fact that I wasn’t going to be sleeping in a tent. I realize that I’m not a “real” outdoor person with that kind of attitude, but that is A-OK with me. We had a super comfy bed in a toasty-warm room, plus a pool, hot tub, and a buffet. I was pretty content with my life choices, and definitely recommend the lodge there at Canaan Valley, as it is super nice.
The next day, after a lazy morning, we headed a little further east to hike up Seneca Rocks. It was a nice hike, but you are no longer allowed out across the ridge itself, so basically you just climb up a mountainside to an overlook platform, and it isn’t terribly exciting. Pleasant, but not thrilling.
All in all, it was a super nice weekend, and a great way to spend my birthday celebration. We actually have some more maps and books for West Virginia, and are planning to spend some more time exploring there this year.