Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I was sitting by the door reading my book today (the only place to just sit) and when the wind would gust snowflakes came in through the crack between the door and the door frame.
hmmmm...so much for the one plus of the room! :) *
*The rooms aren't that bad - they are definitly dated, and worn, and small and not reflective of a "resort", but they are definitly what one would expect at a West Virginia State Park - even the snow blowing in through a closed door is very West Virginia!
Here's the view from my room this morning:
The lodge is built "motel" style with each room having a door to the outside. This is very poor design on a day like today. You can't go anywhere in the lodge without going outside. Also the rest of the lodge is very poorly designed. There are no common areas where one can go to read or hang out and see outside. The main dining room does offer a view, however they were closed for lunch today in prep for the big New Years Eve bash tonight.
The picture above was taken at the same place where I took the sunset picture last night. It looked this way most of the day. It would clear up a bit as the snow showers moved through, but just as quickly it would look like this again. The building on the left is the ice skating pavilion - it's basically a pole barn.
Just beyond where I took the picture is a trail head - I'd looked at a trail map and saw that there were a number of shortish trails in this area and decided the plan for today was to explore all these trails, after all there's no such thing as bad weather, only insufficient gear right? I had all that one needed for winter hiking - pink Helly Hansen polypropylene long underwear, mismatched REI synthetic long underwear, fleece pants, fleece vest, fleece jacket, gore-tex outer wear, synthetic sock lines, synthetic sock and gore-tex lined boots, polypropylene glove liners, thick fleece lined waterproof ski gloves - I was more than prepared!
I hiked out the Deer Run Trail and came back the Abe Run Trail - it took about 2 hours and when I got back I was wiped - my cheeks were windburned, I was hot (I'd even had to unzip a few layers to cool off), and hungry. I figured I'd walked at least 4 miles. Turns out it was only maybe 3 - I think the snow/cold adds a mile! :) The wind was bearable in the woods - I hardly felt it, however once I got out in the open the wind was brutal!
Here are few pictures from my walk.....
I think the mountain in the distance, the one on the right, is where the ski area is. Apparently there were folks skiing today - the shuttle bus was going and there were people walking around in ski boots - I can't imagine! In this picture you can also see the road - there were lots of cars going in and out - the road was covered with packed snow.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I left this morning about 10 am - it was a stunning day, mild temps, not a cloud in the sky! Before I left I double checked the weather forecast - the rest of the week was slated to be clear and mildish (highs in the upper 30s/40s) both at home and in Canaan Valley.
I headed out 66 to 81 and on to Rt 55 - a nice road mostly - 2 lane but in places 4 - passing through mountains and small towns in WV. Canaan Valley's website directed me to take Rt 55 west to Harmon, WV and then go north on 32. I'd looked at the map and saw that there was another road - 72 it appeared, although the section I wanted to go on wasn't numbered - that seemed to cut off a significant chunk of the road and passed through the Dolly Sods Wilderness area - I have read a lot about this area, it's a BIG backpacker destination and I have heard that it's magnificent. I wasn't sure why that wasn't the preferred route, but I thought I'd check it out.
The turn off to the road through Dolly Sods was just past "Smoke Hole Cabins" - you know you are West Virginia! Turns out Smoke Hole Cabins is "the" tourist attraction of the area - more signs for it than South of the Border!
I quickly see why this road isn't the preferred route, and why it's not numbered on my map.....it's not WV 72 the whole way, part of the road is actually:
That would be "Forest Road 19". Unpaved. Rocky. Narrow. Hairpin turns. No guardrail. And it came complete with dire warnings:
We all know that the beginning of an adventure includes turning off the paved road so off I went! It was sunny and mild and there was no sign of snow whatsoever! Since I was "car hiking" I opened the sun roof and put the windows down - it was a bit chilly, temps in the high 30s, but I cranked the heater up!
This is the road - I was actually heading down at this point.
The scenery on the road did not disappoint! There were some spectacular views! I didn't capture as many as I would have liked - driving required my full attention and I was anxious about stopping and encountering another car, also I has no idea how long this little excursion was going to take and I didn't want to end up trying to find the resort in the dark.
After the FR ended the road improved....well by WV standards. It was paved and had a guardrail.
About 3:00 I headed out from Blackwater Falls and back up 32 toward Canaan Valley. I stopped at the Canaan Valley Wildlife refuge to get a map of more little trails I could walk tomorrow, and found one that was just a 1/4 mile so explored it.....
I then went over to the ski area. I found a little bar & grill and had a ridiculously over priced chicken sandwich and read my book until it was time for tubing!
On the left of the picture you can see the tow rope - you get your tube and it had a "leash" on it with a ring, the tow operator hooks your ring on to a little bar and you sit down on the tube (lazy river style) and ride up the hill. At the top they have carved out a little hill so the tube slides right down off the tow rope and you get to go for a little ride. You then pick your run - there are 4 and each have their own personality - and lay down on your tube and go flying head first down the hill. That's right, head first. The guy in charge said! I can't believe that it's safer that way! You go fast. Really really really fast.
When you get going really fast you slam into the mat at a very high rate of speed, such as the person in the picture below.....(he's on the right, the tube is upside down...). This does not feel good.
On my 2nd run down the hill I went careening into the mat and after that quickly learned how to better control my tube. If I drug my feet I went a little slower. If I slid off the tub just as it was going up the run away ramp I slowed down a bit. If I raised my head up on my elbows it was even better. I'm not sure this is an entirely "adult" sport. The ironic thing is that it's all about weight - the heavier you are the faster you go. I was actively trying to avoid slamming into the mat, yet there were a number of lightweight kids who would have done anything to get that far, they just weren't heavy enough. There were a number of guys who were slamming in every time, on purpose - they were all entirely too old for that and I bet they won't be able to move in the morning!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Write 6 random things about yourself.
Tag 6-ish people at the end of your post.
Let each person know he/she has been tagged.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Six random things about me:
1. I have decided that I need to learn to crochet. I mostly know how to crochet, but I have taught myself so I don't really know how. My great-grandmother used to crochet afgans and as much as no one I know needs a crocheted afgan, I'd like to make some! I love cross stitching, but it's getting old and it's time for something new!
2. I'm almost done with my Educational Specialist degree (it's basically a master's degree, but I already have a master's degree so they made up this new category for folks like me....supposedly it's a "terminal" degree, but I think that's just because it's going to kill me trying to get it!). I have just one more class left - human development. I took my comps back in Nov, but I recently found out that I did not pass one of the questions (which was especially shocking because I have gotten As on everything so far - every assignment, every class, everything so this was a huge shock!), I can re-take just that question in the Spring, but I'm not happy about it. I just want to be done and move on to something new.
3. I'm taking a winter getaway over New Years. I'm just going out to Canaan Valley Resort in West Virginia, and it's only 2 nights, but I'm really looking forward to it! I took grad classes all summer and I think I had about 4 days of actual summer vacation - I need to get away! I'm looking forward to being able to play and not have classes or school or other responsibilities hanging over my head! They have skiing, snowtubing, snowshoeing, ice skating, hiking, all sorts of fun stuff!
4. I'm quite grumpy with the Grinchy superintendent of my school system, he's making us go to school tomorrow (12/22) AND Tuesday (12/23). Every other school system in the area got out on Friday and has 2 full weeks for break. We only get a week and a half. And we go 1 day longer in June than other districts. WTF? I was hoping for snow, however we had freezing rain LAST night all of which promptly melted before the temps plunge to 15 tonight. What a waste. Oh and there's more freezing rain predicted. For Tuesday night. Then rain all day Wed. Wed when I have to drive down 95 to get to Williamsburg. grrrrrr.......
5. My favorite state (and I have been to 38!) is Alaska. I went there last summer with my parents and fell head over heels in love. I want to go back. When I was there I rented a motorhome and I loved having my own space with me all the time! As much as there are other things I'd like to see, I'd love to spend every summer in Alaska from now on!
6. I just got brand new flannel sheets! About 7 maybe 8 years ago I bought a set of LL Bean flannel sheets. I used them constantly in the winter, I'd take them off the bed, wash them and put them back on, for about 6 months out of the year. Last year I noticed that they were going threabare, I could see through the flat sheet in places! At least 7 years of constant use if pretty good I think (especially because I'd gone through a number of sets of "regular sheets" in that time period!). I also wore holes in 2 pair of LLBean fleece socks - I probably had those closer to 10 years though. Last week my package of "warm fuzzy" arrived! I'm heading up right now to crawl into my cozy warm flannel lined bed! :)
Who to tag.....hmmmmm.....I guess if you are reading this and you have a blog and you want to write 6 random things about you, go for it! :)