Friday, January 20, 2017

Wet, Wild, and Wonderful West Virginia: The Annual Getaway

We spent last weekend with a bunch of friends in a cabin (and, by cabin, I mean a house that sleeps 16) in the Canaan Valley in West Virginia. This is the fifth year we've done this in some form and it continues to be a weekend that I look forward to all year. We eat and drink  too much, yell at each other while playing board games, and play outside. What could be better?

This year, the weather did not cooperate. The hope is always for enough snow to go snowshoeing or skiing. Most years, we've had at least a little snow. Not this year. Worse, not only was there no snow, the initial forecast was for 40 degrees and raining all weekend. We did wind up catching a cloudy, but dry break on Sunday, but overall, it was pretty much a washout.

After hanging out and eating most of the day on Saturday, I finally needed to get out for a walk. The great thing about where we stay is that you can walk out the door onto miles of hiking trails without having to drive anywhere. We walked out into Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge in the rain to see what we could find. Since it was raining, I used Michael's waterproof camera, which is a point and shoot. It is a great little camera, but it has a few limitations, particularly in low light conditions.
 All of the creeks were out of their banks, including this one.
 A little bit of club moss.
 Walking up the hill, away from the large creek.
We had to do a short bushwhack to make a loop back to our cabin. It turned out to be the most interesting part of the walk. This cairn was randomly along the way on our walk through the woods.
 A creek on the bushwhack portion of our walk.
The lake outside our cabin. This was pretty much what things looked like the entire weekend.

On Sunday, we walked up into Dolly Sods. It wasn't raining, which was good, but it was a bit colder, especially on the plateau. That being said, for January in Dolly Sods? It was positively balmy. It was also stunningly beautiful, because of the fog and frost, not in spite of it. I used my camera on Sunday.
 Frosty moss on the way up to the plateau.
 Hoar frost on blueberry shrubs up on the plateau.
Michael standing on a wet, muddy trail in the fog. There was so much water up there and, in a normal year, it would have all been frozen.
Hiking in the fog.
Frozen Mountain Laurel branches.
 Wet, muddy walking.
 The rocks on the Rocky Ridge Trail. This is one of my favorite sections of Dolly Sods.
 Hoar frost on cedar trees.
Hiking out through blueberry bushes.

It was a great weekend, in spite of the weather.

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