I need to thank Brian for inspiring this trip, when he pointed out that West Virginia is only like 4 hours away!! Sometimes I get stuck in the central Florida mindset of thinking that if something is in another state, it’s way too far to drive to for the weekend, but here in North Carolina that is not the case!! Look at this 2013/Life Goal accomplishment:
West Virginia surprised me. I did not have high hopes, mainly because its wikipedia page reads like an obituary, and I’ve seen at least 3 horror movies set there. Surprise! West Virginia was beautiful and everyone was really nice! I guess that could have just been the part we were in. We spent the weekend at Pipestem State Park, which has 2 hotels, a golf course, and a bunch of other sporty things besides its many hiking trails.
It was kind of drizzly both days we were there, with some patches of sun, but that just meant it didn’t get too hot. The best thing about Pipestem was definitely the aerial tram that takes you to one of their lodges/restaurants down inside the gorge!
It was cool to be able to see the forest and hills from a different viewpoint, and to not have to hike all that way. The bucket cars did rock a lot more than I would have liked, especially at the beginning. Steven laughed at me for clinging to the pole in a death grip the whole way:
It was really peaceful and quiet at the bottom! Except for some guys fishing and starting off on a canoe journey:
The park also had a “nature center” with different kinds of bird nests and a lazy snake in an aquarium. Also, this educational display:
Everyone we met was really friendly. You couldn’t pass by someone in the hall of the lodge without them wishing you “Good Morning”, and I had a strange amount of longer conversations with cashiers, waiters, and park rangers who I’m more used to just exchanging a few words with. Probably most surprising was the way everyone, even the older people, reacted positively to my hair. I’m used to a lot of people just giving me strange looks, and sometimes being obviously disapproving. The closest I came to that was an older woman staring at me from across the room, but then she came over and started talking about what a beautiful day it was and “Look at that hair–that’s just amazing” so it turned out alright.
Probably the best part was just sitting on the porch of the lodge reading and enjoying the beautiful views of the clouds coming up over the mountains:
I hope the rest of the states I have to visit to complete my map go just as well!