Tuesday, May 23, 2006


So the past week has been crazy busy. Last week I was in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia for three days visiting a cousin and aunt that I haven't seen since I was 11 or so. And while I had a really good time, I have never been so glad to return to lower elevations in my entire life. For those of us on the East Coast, these are some very large hills. And I don't do hills. When I was a kid (before they had interstates in West Virginia) I can remember traveling there and laying in the back seat, barely conscious, traversing the switchbacks up and down the mountain and just wanting it to be over. As an adult, traveling the modern interstate system, going down 9% grades with runaway truck ramps all over the place, WITH A SPEED LIMIT OF 70 MPH!!!!! I just wanted to get back to nice, flat, Lacanster County. Seriously, 70 mph? And that's uphill.......downhill, it's like 90 mph. I drive like an old person and it was not a good time.

Plus they have bears in West Virginia. And I got to see several, sorta too close. I used to be the type of person that thought it would be cool to live somewhere where you had bears coming into your yard. Well, when I actually saw a bear with two cubs near an area where we would be walking, I suddenly didn't think it was so cool and was actually pretty scared. We visited the Monogohela National Forest and went to Cranberry Glades, a large bog system within the forest. As we were driving to the parking area, a mother bear and two cubs ran out of the woods and stopped in the road. I wasn't fast enough to get a picture before they ran back in. We parked and walked through the bog area on a boardwalk. Not even 20 feet onto the boardwalk, I noticed a very large pile of ummm...bear crap on the boardwalk. Actually there was bear crap everywhere. And I noticed that all the skunk cabbage had been chewed to the ground. How strange. Nothing eats skunk cabbage I thought. Nothing except (I later read) RAVENOUS BEARS just emerging from hibernation. So we walked quickly through Cranberry Glade which was actually lovely and deserved longer than we spent, but what with the potential for bear attack and all, we rushed. Here are a few pictures I managed to snap while hustling through and listening for bears.....


Anonymous Liz said...

Sounds like a great visit to a beautiful part of the country, but I hear you on the switchbacks and stuff. I can't handle the Chesapeake Bay/Bridge. All that bridge, out in the middle of nowhere, periodically going under ground? No thanks.

I hear there's a bear around here, but have only seen bear scat once. Thank god.

Hey, I finally got my kitchen views up!

9:54 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

We go through the bay bridge tunnel twice a year and I hold my breath for the tunnels. Espeically when the last thing you see before you go down is a massive tanker crossing over the tunnel. What if somebody accidentally flipped the 'anchor release' switch? I'm glad we don't have bears here. Thankfully we are surrounded by wide open fields and could see them coming. I am now decidely anti-bear.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

Looks like you had a nice trip. Good photos, too.
I have never seen a live bear, hope to before I leave Maine.

We have driven through WV, but not in years. I forgot about those run off ramps!

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Judith said...

The mean elevation of where I grew up was 200 ft. I am always conscious of hills/mountains when I travel. I have what I call, "Edge-itis"--I had this when my cousin whipped me around in her jeep on St. John, BVI and last summer when I visited Oregon. The world isn't flat, is it? As for switchbacks & speed...no fun for me either! The bears seem sad to me these days--ravenous enough to eat skunk cabbage. I like seeing the photos! Sounds like you had quite an adventure. I bet it was pretty.

12:17 PM  

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