February 28, 2005

The Ski Trip which involved no skiing

--Shawn's snapshots - 25 of the hikes & 23 of the NRAO--

For the record, I will stop trashing West Virginia as the place I got shot at 3 years ago. I mean, really, in some places (and states) you should just steer very clear of private property.

Thursday the plan was dreamt up and Friday we were in the car on the way to Marlinton, WV, a little town near Snowshoe. We had the board, the ski gear, and the dog, and our destination was a pet-friendly B&B which was AWESOME. We crashed on our midnight arrival and woke up to an eggs, bacon, oranges & english muffin breakfast. We watched the light snow coming down and slowly drank our coffee and thought, 'Let's go hiking instead'.

First we walked around town to see the railroad depot/visitor info center, the new coffee shop/bicycle store (owned by a professional mountain biker and her husband) with a little smiling coffee bean outside, the weird junk stores, the opera house/town hall, and the river running through town with the requisite broken stove sitting at its banks.

Then to the car. The Monongahela National Forest is a gorgeous place and practically empty in the winter - we had the twisty roads and trails mostly to ourselves. We hiked to the Falls of Hill Creek (3 waterfalls) and watched Kundera eat snow, rub in the snow, and go nuts. Then we made fresh tracks around all of Summit Lake and got stared at by the ice fisherman. We drove through more of the snowy forest and up and down and around the mountains on the Highland Scenic Highway, and ended up in an overloaded antique store in Lewisburg.

Then home for a shower, then to a NASCAR/biker bar for dinner (the only restaurant in town where you could get a beer - can someone PLEASE tell me what the weird WV drinking laws are??!), and then the crowning event of the evening, hanging out below the stars in the B&B's outdoor hot tub. Ahhhhhhhhhhh......

Next morning, same thing - pancakes, sausage, toast, and time to enjoy the coffee. At this point the innkeepers had totally warmed up to us - our dog seemed well-behaved and we weren't just there to sleep when we weren't skiing. We wanted to see the sights, and we had shared our stories the night before. So the guy gave us suggestions, told us some of the trials of taking over the B&B last April, and even stopped our car as we were heading out to tell us he found our empty Sam Adams White Ale 6-pack and next time we came, he would let us try his homebrews. ROCK!

So we drove through the just-as-gorgeous Seneca State Forest to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, whose team happened to be the first to pick up a signal from Titan. Took the free tour and watched the guide pour liquid nitrogen all over the floor. Saw insane steel structures and a groundhog.

More driving, then a quick hike up to see the lone crazy rock climber on Seneca Rocks. It appeared that you had to ford the river to even get on the trail to the rocks...next to the memorial plaque for someone who died falling off of them.

We made it home and the dog passed out, and we passed out. It was so much fun. Maybe we'll ski/snowboard on our next hiking trip.

Posted by zippy at February 28, 2005 12:34 PM