Thursday, May 20, 2010

DAYS 3/4 – In Search of “enLIGHTenment”

Our move from Watoga State Park in West Virginia across the mountains to Douthat State Park was made with the hope of finding sunshine. We left Watoga under light mist as the heavier rains had subsided allowing the Greenbrier River to begin dropping its water level along the banks. “Milli”, our Garmin Nuvi 260, took us back through Marlinton for one final “look see” and across West Va. 39 into Virginia. The two lane mountain road traversed the Allegheny Mountains and Back Creek Mountain taking us through Warm Springs. The trip to Douthat was short in distance but long in time relative to distance travelled. This was due to the many turns and switchbacks we experienced. I recall thinking that on one specific turn on the Virginia side of the mountain, I could probably reach out and wipe clean the rear lights on the trailer from my driver’s seat in the truck!

Arrival in Douthat…

Our arrival in Douthat was under gray skies with heavy clouds but, fortunately, no falling precipitation. This was a nice break from the almost constant rain we’ve experienced since Sunday. The Park is situated around a beautiful lake. Hiking and mountain biking trails abound. The main road that runs through the park is narrow with no shoulders so I am not sure what to expect on my road bike.

Lake Douthat view from Blue Heron Trail 

(A 3 mile hike around the lake abounds with beautiful images)

View toward Douthat Lake dam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Even under grey skies, a beautiful mountain lake!)

We enjoyed a nice and easy hike around the lake and back to our site at Beaverdam Campground. This particular campground, one of 3 in the park, was only partially full of campers on a Tuesday evening. Just as we were ending our walk, the clouds apparently reached their capacity to hold water and it began to rain again.

After a quick trip into neighboring Clifton Forge, Va. and a Krogers store for supplies, we grilled a couple of steaks and began our viewing of DVD’s rented at Krogers. All of the rain has certainly provided the opportunity to catch up on some movies.

The first visit of an extremely happy Whip-poor-will awakened us around 4:00 a.m. We shared his joy for the first 10 minutes of lyrical song. 38.74 minutes later, we were less than enthralled with his visit. Eventually, our fine feathered friend moved on to other sites and we drifted off to sleep again.

The sun continues to hide…

Day 4 was indistinguishable from Day 3 weather wise. We continued under rainy looking skies but again no falling precip to start the day. The overnight rain had ended about the time of the arrival of the Whip-poor-will. After breakfast of bagels and bananas, we headed back to Clifton Forge to turn in DVD’s and discover aspects of the local town. We were also in search of internet and cell phone connectivity.

Once out of the park, Verizon service became available and we spent 45 minutes in a Hardee’s parking lot as I posted blog entries and downloaded email. Navigator Kathy was able to connect with sisters and father.

Clifton Forge is a railroad town and its history is abundantly clear in the local architecture. The houses, built on the sides of the mountain, overlook multiple train lines running to the east of town. We spotted a couple of coffee houses and I saw two cyclists in town. The dreary weather has apparently run the cyclists of the area to ground.

As evening fell, some holes in the cloud cover opened up and we could see glimmers of blue sky. The lack of rain also allowed us to enjoy our first campfire of the trip.

The Navigator enjoys our first campfire!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(The Navigator warms up by the evening fire!)

Zeke recording thoughts of the day...

(Zeke the Scribe considering the day’s events)

Day 4 Ends Quietly…

After enjoying a fine meal of grilled chicken and baked potatoes, we napped and watched yet two more movies, (Brothers and Men Who Stared at Goats). Along with these two flicks, we’ve now watched Blind Side, Nine, The Proposal, and Couples Retreat. I told you it has been raining A LOT! Were I a movie critic, I’d list them as follows in descending order of excellence.

So, Day 4 ends with hopes for improving weather. A decision will need to be made in the morning as to whether to continue the search for “enLIGHTenment” or to hold where we are. We already know that the campground is fully reserved beginning Friday so, at the very latest, Friday will be a travel day.

Until later,

-Zeke

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