Monday, August 29, 2011

Storm Chasers (chased by)

As most know,the east coast was hit by hurricane Irene over the weekend. The forecast for West Virginia was supposed to be perfect, so we hooked up Anna and headed West. In all honesty, we had already planned on going out with Anna for the weekend. This was the last weekend before Halle starts kindergarten, and we wanted to get one last trip in. Our destination? Seneca Rocks. Irene, however decided to push a little further inland than the weather guys thought it would and we had a lot of clouds and a little drizzle to contend with. Seneca Rocks looked like a Japanese print from our campground across the street.

Right up yonder holler is the tallest mountain in West Virginia. We thought, why not go and check it out? What we forgot to take into account was that the cloud ceiling was about 3400 feet. Spruce Knob is way higher than that. Are my knuckles white? The 30 feet of visibility was comforting since the left side of the road dropped straight down into the trees and there were no guard rails.

So at the top, we were way up in the clouds. There is no way around getting wet in this situation. What to do, but go for a stroll.

The path through the woods was an absolutely lovely walk.

This fire newt didn't seem to mind the weather. He was out for a stroll, making the best of it. too.

The view from the observation tower was truly wonderful. I could see my house even better here than on top of Mount Evans a few weeks back.

Dropping out of the clouds brought us back into fairer weather.

By the next morning the cloudy skies and drizzle had gone north and we went about seeing the sites. Seneca Rocks is a very popular rock climbing destination. We hiked it instead of climbing it with ropes. There are many cool hikes in this area. Up the road in yonder opposite direction is one of our countries best kept secrets - Dolly Sods. Dolly Sods is a wilderness area and offers some spectacular hikes. We did not make it there this trip, but hope to go with the girls in the near future. Even further up yonder way is Harpers Ferry. We wanted to visit it on the way back home.

Honestly, the day could not have been more perfect. The weather was cool with low humidity and the crowds were sparse due to the hurricane that had just gone through.

Many years ago I worked for a historic restoration company. One of my projects, while there, was fabricating the windows and exterior mill work for this building you see here. I was very proud to see it looked so good after all these years. How would it not? I built them exactly as the originals were, from wood of the same era. During one of the numerous flood the water was past those third story windows.

Most people know Harpers Ferry because of John Brown and his armed insurrection. There is a reproduction of the building that it took place in. Oddly, historic buildings were often taken apart and put on exhibit. More than once they were "lost" between exhibitions. This same fate fell upon Lincoln's boyhood home.

Walking the old streets is a cool step back in history. Harpers Ferry was a major player in the American Industrial Revolution. Many successive floods and a civil war, followed by more floods ended that era. The population today is half what it was before the Civil War.

For architecture geeks, there is a great deal to admire.

Railroad geeks will find the town interesting also. After Harpers Ferry we headed off to find a campground. Right next door to Harpers Ferry is a gigantic KOA. We pulled in and did an immediate U turn right back out of the place. Camping like sardines is not my bag. Next we headed to our 'go to; state park, Greenbrier, just west of Fredrick, MD. Unfortunately the gate was locked tight. All Maryland state parks were closed due to 'storm clean up.' We saw no evidence of storm damage that needed clean up. Instead we moved on to a private campground literally 15 minutes from our house. Good Sam's was very good to us. Though the campground was full with seasonal people(in HUGE fifth wheels that never move) we were given a nice site almost all to ourselves.

There was a good deal of 'storm clean up' that needed to be taken care of at Ramblin Pines, and to make up for the closed pool, we got free mini golf. Halle is a natural, even if her stance, poise, grip, and swing are all wrong. Ava is an ace hitting par at every hole.

Beth, well, like her Dad, takes the golfing very serious.

Hey, give me back my ball!!! I want to play another round.

Even though, not a perfect weekend, it was perfect to me. With Ava turning thirteen I feel my trips with her are reaching their limit quickly. I will take every one I can get, even if the weather is not perfect and if things do not go as planned. I hope we can squeeze a few more weekends in before the year comes to an end. Halle starts kindergarten tomorrow, so as far as we are concerned the summer is over for us.


Nicki said...

It's lovely to walk in the fog. Glad you guys weren't near the storm.

Sugarfoot said...

Good to hear Irene couldn't pull one over on you.

The fire newt! AKA, a red eft, I had one in a terrarium as a pet for three years. Loved that little creature. I'm glad to see we haven't ruined this world to the point that they have left us.