World Travel Wednesday: Kanawha State Forest

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Our drive home from Indiana was really long, so as usual we decided to stop for a hike on the way to break it up and stretch. We chose Kanawha State Forest in Charleston, West Virginia, because it was about halfway and was supposed to be close to the interstate. It is only seven miles from I-64, but they are seven of the most twisty-turny, convoluted miles you’ve ever seen, and it probably took at least 20-30 minutes to get all the way there. The route involves several turns on very narrow roads through a residential area, but it is well marked with signage.

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Swamp was leery of the place from the start because he read somewhere that it was very crowded in the summer (people = bad). And as we drove into the park, we passed a lot of what looked like families gathered for picnics or family reunions or something, eating potluck under the long shelters, fishing in a seemingly stagnant pond. We just kept driving until we didn’t see people anymore.

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The trails were not very well marked, and of course it was a Sunday and we didn’t have a park map. As Swamp would say, “Eh, who needs a map?” AHEM. This, from the person who was airlifted out of the wilderness twice. So, we just picked one randomly not knowing if it was long or short, hard or easy. It was not terribly long, but it was also not very easy. It was basically a series of switchbacks straight up the mountain. I couldn’t make it the whole way up. I probably went about three quarters of the way, and then I told Swamp to run to the top and see if there was some awesome overlook or something that I shouldn’t miss. I stood and caught my breath while he ran to the top and ran back to me. “Nah,” he said, bouncing towards me, hopping from rock to rock. “Nothing spectacular. Just the top. No view or anything.”

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So we went back down. As the world’s least athletic person, I was pretty happy with making it even that far on that trail. I love hiking and being out in nature, but I normally prefer hikes of easy-to-moderate difficulty, where I can enjoy the scenery and take some pictures, instead of fighting for breath, unable to focus on the beauty around me. I was able to take some pictures on the lower part of the trail both ways, but not on that ridiculous switchback part, so what you see below doesn’t reflect that. I promise — it was hard!

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If there is a creek/stream/drop of water anywhere around, I will take a picture of it.

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Swamp is checking out some massive hemlocks and commenting on how they are bigger than any he has on his property.

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This is right about where it started to get bad. Although you can’t tell from this picture.

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What is it about trees that is so comforting?

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This is a good example of what Swamp does in the woods. Zoom! Swish! Blur! Incidentally, this is his favorite picture of himself from the entire trip.

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2 Comments

  1. July 22, 2009 at 6:32 am

    As you know, I adore trees, too.

    And that is an awesome picture of Swamp (the last one).

  2. Jessica said,

    July 22, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    It’s a pretty cool snap! Oh, and sign me up for tree lovers anonymous. 😉


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