So, Summer is OFFICIALLY here!! LOL
It was awfully hot yesterday.....hazy and muggy. But I was lucky enough to get to fulfill a dream I've had for over 10 years!! I got to go to the MOUNTAINS!!!!!
I've wanted to go up there for years and I've had people promise to take me, but until yesterday I was repeatedly disappointed. When I first got a glimpse of the hazy, blue mountains in the distance I actually cried. (How silly is that?? But it reminds me of HOME so much that I was almost paralyzed with joy!)
We tried to do as much as we could for a day trip, and believe me I think we did very well!
First off, after the crying jag that is, we stopped at Bowden Fish Hatchery. There were so many trout in every size you could imagine!! I know it doesn't sound like something most people would enjoy, but I LOVED it!!
It's not that easy to get pictures under those conditions using my little old camera, but I don't think I did too bad.
The GOLDEN TROUT are my favorite! The are sooooo beautiful (for fish) and they don't seem as shy as the Rainbow or Brook trout!
It was so much fun to watch these fish. I know that sounds weird, but it was relaxing and invigorating at the same time. The little ones, especially the Goldens, were jumping out of the water and acting, well like children! LOL Some of the little Rainbows would actually skim across the water, it almost looked like someone skipping a stone across the surface of the water. I loved it, I could go back every day and I don't believe I'd get tired of it.
Next we went to Seneca Rock. It was getting hotter by then and it was still so hazy. But I got to look at the Rocks through the binoculars and I did get a few pictures (although they aren't the best, but you can see the outline of the rocks.)
I didn't know that the U.S. Army used the rocks to train some of our soldiers! If it had been me, I would still be locked up in a stockade somewhere....there is NO WAY you could get me to climb those rocks!
While we were at Seneca Rocks, we walked down to the river. There hasn't been much rain in good old West Virginia this year, so the water was low. We walked a little ways down stream and I got some pretty pictures. We also seen some native Brook Trout in a deeper hole of water, but I didn't get a picture of them.
A view of the walk bridge that shows how low the water is this year.
While at Seneca Rocks discovery center, we decided to visit the Sites Homestead and Heritage Garden. Unfortunately they weren't open, but we walked around the area, looking at the gardens and even looking through the windows of the house. It was cool! I want to go back so that we can go through the house because if it's anything like what we were able to see it will be awesome!
The Sites Homestead was built in 1839 by James Sites. It was a typical of the homes built by German Settlers in the North Fork Valley. As the family prospered the house grew, expanding to a two-story frame building in sometime in the 1860's or 70's. Four generations of the Sites family called this house their home. It was abandoned around 1950 and used to store hay. In 1968 the Forest Service bought the property. By the early 1980's the house had been vandalized and was falling to ruin, the decision was made to demolish the structure. But the community and family members rallied around a proposal to restore the old home. It was rehabilitated and opened to the public in 1991.
Anyway.....once we left Seneca Rocks, we decided to go to Smoke Hole Caverns. Believe me, the cool damp air in the caverns was a wonderful break from the hot, humid weather. I got some good pictures!
The entrance to the caverns. Boy could you ever feel the cool air coming out of there!!
We enjoyed the caverns, it takes 45 minutes to take the tour, it's 2/3 of a mile underground. It was nice and cool in there, and it felt really hot when we got out of the cavern into the blazing sun!
HISTORY LESSON: (from http://theintermountain.com/page/content.detail/id/504979.html)
"Smoke Hole Caverns formed more than 200 million years ago being carved out by an underground stream. It served as a place for the Seneca Indians to cure meat in the early days, which is how the caverns got its name. Passing settlers frequently saw the smoke billowing out of the top of the mountain, giving rise to the name of Smoke Hole. During the Civil War, the caverns served as a shelter for Union or Confederate soldiers. It gave weary soldiers a protected resting stop and a perfect place to store ammunition. While the cave was being prepared for commercial use during the 1930s, an old ammunition chest was discovered. Moonshiners hid their stills in the cavern’s darkness during the Prohibition era, and one that was abandoned prior to the arrival by Revenue Agents still greets visitors at the entrance to the cavern tour today. The caverns opened to commercial visitors in May 1942."
After the caverns we decided to go to Blackstone Falls. It was a wonderful sight to see all of that water drop 57 feet to the pool underneath! Although the water level is low, it was still a sight!
My last view of the falls.
After leaving Blackwater we had one more stop to make. Just outside of Thomas, WV, on 219 about 5 miles out, just where you cross the top of Backbone Mountain, sits huge wind turbines. These turbines produce electricity for the surrounding area. There are some people that have a problem with them, but once we had stopped and got out, walking around for a better view and hearing the sound they make, I realized that this is one of the smarter things West Virginia has done. No black coal smoke, no polluted streams.....just some windmills (I believe that there are 9 or 10 of them) sitting on the ridge turning gently in the breeze and sounding like the wind.
Anyway...that's just my outlook.
Here's a few pictures of the wind turbines.
A view of most of the wind turbines.
Here are a few random pictures to give you an idea of how hazy it was all day and to show you some of the beauty of West Virginia.
All in all it was the MOST amazing day in my recent memory!! I'll never forget my first trip to the mountains of West Virginia!!
Well y'all, I'm out of here!!
Have a wonderful week!!