Wednesday, March 19, 2014

McDonough Park, Vienna, West Virginia

Map showing the trail system for the park
Last year when I went to Marietta, Ohio for a visit the end of February into the first part of March it snowed.  The day we arrived this year it was sunny and 69 degrees F; however, the following day it was freezing.   Yes, it snowed again.  I think the next time I go I will try for a warmer month and no snow! 

Happy Birthday!

This year we were able to be in Marietta for the 8th birthday of a granddaughter and that was very special.  The other set of grandparents are currently living in France for 18 months so in lieu of an in person visit we did FaceTime on the computer instead.  K who is a dear friend of Grandma M and an official great-aunt came from Connecticut.  The house was full.  We had lots of fun and managed do to several things.  The eggs in the incubator did not hatch but should be doing so just about now.  The half grown chicks confined to a tub in the basement did not make a peep and the grown chickens in the coop outside kept producing eggs every day.

One of the days we had a picnic at the McDonough Park across the river in West Virginia.  The park has picnic areas that included tables but also approximately 5 miles of hillside trails ranging from easy to moderate difficulty.  In addition to the trails the park is a wildlife refuge for birds and animals such as deer and wild turkey.  Following a picnic lunch we started out on a short hike. 

Part way up we came to a fork in the trail system.    Bob, K and I elected to take the lower route that was a little shorter distance while my son and his family took the upper trail.  I expected that the 5 kids would zoom along and beat us back to the parking lot even though it was longer.  And they did.  The trail we took soon became muddy, and changed from the easy category to moderate so it turned out to be a bit more strenuous than we had anticipated.  The woods are open with little undergrowth.  Here in the Pacific Northwest there is an enormous amount of undergrowth making it nearly impossible to just walk out into the woods without requiring a trail or a machete to blaze a new trail.  In McDonough Park it would be an easy thing to walk in the trees without a trail but that has dangers too, such as the possibility of getting lost in the woods, as everything looked similar.

I am not sure where all the silt comes from but this pond was very muddy.  There were Canada geese and ducks swimming in this pond despite the muddy appearance.

We saw these pulley remains from coal mining days but no sign of a mine opening suspecting that the mine had been sealed over for safely after it had been abandoned and the forest had been made into a park with trails.

No wonder it was muddy and seemed more difficult than it should for being the easier or shorter trail!

No flowers in bloom or even in bud yet but some of the logs had interesting fungi growing on them.

A pretty park with a funny sign; I don’t think my cat would take to walking on a leash . . .

The round trip trail we took was slightly more than one mile; the upper trail was about 1.5 miles.  We did it in tennis shoes but boots would have been nice for the muddy parts.  We heard lots of bird calls and one that I thought sounded like a whippoorwill but we did not see the birds as they were hiding in the trees.

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