Thursday, June 1, 2017

In the land of Canaan

 by Kathleen

But in this case, it's pronounced kuh nayn'... Canaan Valley in West Virginia.
We had a lovely weekend, very early in the spring, with a bunch of friends who have celebrated one couple's co-ed bachelor/bachelorette  party yearly for the last 20 years. It's full of beautiful country, big group canoe trips, with singing and music at the end of the day. I don't canoe, but I do like a walk in the woods...

The entrance (or exit, depending on your direction) was lovely... moody and dark.

The well marked path occasionally led to boardwalks over sunny marshes,

before plunging back into the snow filled deep woods.

Green was just staring to pop out in the form of tiny buds on the trees, what looked like irises, and a fair amount of skunk cabbage.

There were fallen trees whose root systems made a sheltered place for aquatic life to wake up into the new year.

And whose bark offered a delicious lunch to insects, who offered a delicious lunch to the birds.

I didn't see much wildlife, although there were deer tracks throughout, and I heard several birds including an owl. It was beautiful, but alternated between snowy cold and melty mud... and I hadn't planned for the walk, so I was wearing the wrong kind of shoes.
But next time I'm bringing hiking shoes and exploring more!

The night we arrived it was snowing like crazy, but we settled in to the rented cabin with our friends, had a good, belly warming supper, lit a foot warming fire, had an everything warming drink, and some heart warming music.
I sang while I knit... multi tasking at its best!

And the next morning we had visitors...
In spite of all the signs warning people not to feed the wildlife, these deer had minimal fear of humans. They knew where the hand outs came from. Silly things... they're lucky they live in a no hunting park and wildlife reserve. They won't be so lucky if they ever go further afield.

The second day the group went canoeing (again) and I hiked (again). But this time my walk was on well trod paths. We went to Seneca Rocks.
Seneca rocks is a fascinating geologic formation. It's a slice of a highly compacted rock angled straight up at 90 degrees, and then eroded to make a kind of "razorback" ridge. Though there is a well maintained path leading to an observation deck on the left (as you look at this photo) side, the top edge is accessible only to climbers. It is a very popular spot for rock climbers, and there were multiple groups ascending and descending while I was there.

Same photo angle, slightly closer, much bigger. There's people up there right now...
I didn't walk to the observation deck. It was a beautiful day and there were way too many people heading there for my taste. I went around to the right, on a wider path (I think it was a vehicle accessible road), which followed a tumbling stream, and got me close to a couple of ascent starting points. I did not ascend.
Then I spent a lovely hour in their visitor center learning all about the history of the area, and the specific geology, flora, and fauna of the rocks.
Another great meal with friends, some wonderful music, some adequate knitting, and we called it a night. It was a short, but soul feeding weekend. I hope I can do it again next year.