Although the day was gray and misty, holiday crowds were out in force at America’s newest national park. Chris picked us up and we made the hour drive southeast to the Canyon Rim Visitors Center near Fayetteville where we managed to squeeze through the crowds for a look at the New River Gorge Bridge.
We had time for a short hike along the Endless Wall Trail. The Wall rises above the New River and is a popular spot for climbers. Since we were walking along the top of it and not inclined to get too close to the edge, we couldn’t fully appreciate the sheer drop off that gives the trail its name.
Another day of clouds and drizzle sent us to downtown Charleston to explore West Virginia’s capital city. After a leisurely cup of coffee in a downtown coffee/bookstore, we wandered along a walkway that follows the Kanawha (Ka-naw) River, which flows through the city.
Charleston’s present state capitol took eight years to complete, with work beginning in 1924. The 23-karat gold leaf dome soars 293 feet, making it the tallest of any state capitol dome in the United States. The capitol is open to the public and the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming. After a quick security check, we were handed a lengthy history of the capitol and urged to “make ourselves at home.”
The governor’s mansion is also located on the Capitol Complex grounds, perched on a grassy rise with a view of the river below. Not quite as welcoming, it sat behind locked gates, so we had to be content to peer through the fence.
That's how we feel about the weather we've had during our stay here in Morgantown. I was a little intimidated by the never ending landscape of bare trees surrounding us. Chris explained that the fall color had come and gone quickly last month, so I was prepared for winter weather. Instead, we've enjoyed beautiful sunny skies, with today being the best day of all.
Monday Chris took us to Coopers Rock State Park where we hiked out to an amazing spot overlooking the Cheat River below.
We visited Valley Falls State Park, located along the Tygart River. Yellow dots on the trees led us on a hike up to an outcropping of rocks, then back down to the river.
Our stay in West Virginia has been great, but the weather forecast is promising that the Polar Express is on the way. Bitter cold is expected within a few days, so it's time to say goodbye to the kids and head home to our milder climate.
A trip east was long overdue for us. What a treat to pack in our roomy carry on suitcases rather than a 30 litre backpack! We landed in Pittsburgh last Friday and drove south to Morgantown, West Virginia where our son Chris lives with his girlfriend Gail. This is a big college football town, so we strategically planned our visit to coincide with a Mountaineers away game.
Dinner at Black Bear included live music provided by an acoustical guitarist. Reg got to see the statue of his longtime hero, and I found a tree dressed to keep warm this winter.
Chris set us up with a room at The Lakeview Resort, a golf and events center where he works, and assured us that all would be quiet this time of year…however, the joint was hopping Friday night when we arrived. It seems that ” The Men of Las Vegas” we're putting on a show for 600+ screaming women (of all ages), decked out in heels and sequins and (probably) armed with fists full of dollar bills. Fortunately, not much kept us awake after traveling through Portland, Chicago and Pittsburgh airports on our journey.
We've had a great stay at The Lakeview Resort. Next time I might have trouble keeping Reg off the golf course.