Monday, June 19, 2017

West Virginia and the North Bend Rail Trail

As you might have noticed from the last post, I was able to manage a visit to the Hopewell Nat'l Historical Park's Pre-Columbian mound site, which was breathtaking, as well as a detour to the Hocking Hills State Park area where I spent a happy day and a half hiking for the scenery(!)  A moment's twinge of something like guilt for my 'indulgence' in tourism was short lived as I remembered that, after all, 'paying respect to land and cultures' is a primary motivating reason for this walk.

A few days later I had a lovely visit in Athens, a very interesting island of progressivism (sort of like Yellow Springs), in the midst of increasingly conservative Ohio.  Now I am getting acquainted with the many different faces of West Virginia, an eye-opening and sometimes sobering experience.  A proud tradition of hospitality holds sway, and people generally fend off compensatory gestures, offering to share whatever they have, which, in some cases, is heartbreakingly little.  Trail (road) angels come in all economic conditions.

The North Bend Rail Trail runs roughly parallel to Route 50 between Parkersburg and Clarksburg. I walked 50 of the 72 mile stretch which was unpaved and, while fairly level, was sometimes challenging on the uneven grassy or gravel surfaces, which require a good deal more pulling (of my cart) than is usual on paved surfaces. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful stretch punctuated by cool, dark tunnels.  I kept my headlamp handy!

As has been the case all along, I've enjoyed innumerable blessings on a near daily basis.  But one incident has to be noted.  The other day was my b-day, and I had been planning on camping that night. But weather looked ominous, so I decided to seek out some cover.  In the town of Salem I was delivered to the home of an elderly couple, Suzie and Joe Davis, who keep a tiny apartment off of their garage, just for trekkers and transients!  And I heard some interesting stories about a few of their guests. Well, if that weren't enough this devoutly religious couple provided dinner, breakfast, and upon learning that it was my bday, husband Joe went right out to the Dairy Queen and came back with a bday cake.  I was overwhelmed...

Destination for a scorchingly hot day?

New state!

Great old hotel in downtown Parkersburg, WV - the Blennerhassett

Welcome to the North Bend Rail Trail

Cairo, WV

This trail has lots of tunnels - flashlights necessary!

PS - I got interviewed by a reporter with an Athens, OH newspaper.  Lots of inaccuracies, but here's the link, for anyone who wants to have a look. You'd probably have to copy/paste the whole line, as it won't work as a direct link... sorry.

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