October 13, 2004

Wonderful weekend


This past weekend, we took advantage of Darla's banker's hours. I took Monday off so that we could enjoy a long weekend, thanks to ol' Chris Columbus.

Since we've been married, we have made a tradition of celebrating our October engagement in Pisgah National Forest with an October camping trip. This year we took off to West Virginia. We couldn't have asked for a better weekend to go.

The Lord gave us clear blue skies, nice temperatures, and peak autumnal color. It was perfect for exploring Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Green Bank facility, and the Greenbrier River Trail while camping at Watoga State Park.

I'd been to Cass a couple times when I was a wee little tyke, but Darla had never been. And she's sister to a huge railroad fan. While there, we enjoyed the trains and the aspects of the old logging town that remind me of the western ghost towns I like to explore. I also nabbed a geocache in the town.

The NRAO was a new experience for both of us. I'm not sure I believe all the "science" they're involved in... They use satellite dish-looking antenna to pick up sound waves from space. Using computers, they turn those waves into images of stars and other celestial bodies. And SETI uses them to look for extra-terrestrial life. But because of the interference that modern electronics introduce, the entire valley is a cellular dead zone. (Gas-powered cars aren't even allowed near the telescopes. Their spark plugs cause "static" that interferes with the telescopes. All the vehicles there are ancient diesels.) That lack of cell coverage made for a true get-away for us.

The Greenbrier River Trail was a new rail-trail to us. It's an award-winning, 75-mile trail along the old Chesapeake & Ohio railroad. We biked over 12 miles (6+ miles in and back out) along the river. It was beautiful. In our trip, we encountered only two other people. We rode from a train station in the little burg of Clover Lick to a 555-foot tunnel that curves through a mountain before the trail crosses the Greenbriar on a curved bridge.

Posted by JRC at October 13, 2004 06:03 PM | TrackBack