mSo often we go away on a fabulous trip. We see amazing views and experience amazing things! We come home and we MIGHT look at the pictures that we took on our phones. We may look at the files on our computer once in a blue moon. But that is not the way life should be. We should be living with our memories and preserving our memories for our every day use!
What am I talking about? I'm talking about taking pictures from our vacation and exploration experiences and turning them into wall art! We recently went to the New River Gorge in West Virginia for a week of vacation time. We hiked, we explored and we had a great time. One of the places that we went to was the Babcock State Park and specifically the Glade Creek Grist Mill. It was absolutely gorgeous and I knew that I wanted to stop keeping my pictures, at least of this building hidden away in files on my computer. Instead, I wanted this on my wall as art! I wanted to preserve my memories so that I could relive them over and over.
How to Preserve Memories as Art
I didn't know how I wanted to preserve my memories as art for my wall. I just knew that I wanted to hang these memories on the wall for us to relive the experience and beauty day in and day out. I started to research online. I was very interested (and still am) in printing on glass but ultimately decided that I wanted a very large print for behind my couch. That narrowed my choices for how I could have my work printed and displayed. I chose to have my picture printed on Canvas. I began to research companies and settled on Canvas Pop (this is an unsolicited and unpaid review).
The Process to Preserve my Memories on Canvas
The process to preserve my memories on canvas was quite easy once I chose the printing company that would be doing the work. Canvas Pop had a really good rating so I decided to try them out. Wow! Am I ever glad that I did! I started the process on a Saturday night. I uploaded my picture and clicked a few buttons to make some selections and before I knew it, my order was complete. Even better, it had automatically given me a nice discount (first time user or something!) The original price for the largest size canvas was right around $200 but with that discount, I paid $121! (including shipping) Not bad at all!
I immediately received an email advising me of my order. This was an expected email but still nice to receive nonetheless! On Sunday afternoon I received my next email from this company. They had received my digital file and they had created a mock up of how my print was going to look. I had to review the mock up and approve it. I was leery about the process, thinking it was going to be long and drawn out and difficult. But once again, this company made it simple. I opened the email, clicked the link and looked at the mock up. Approval was as simple as hitting a button that said "I approve." EASY!
I knew that it was now time to actually wait for my canvas to be printed. I was expecting the next step to take a while. But no! By Tuesday I had an email saying that my print was ready and was being shipped and they advised me of my tracking number! I was NOT expecting service that soon!
By Thursday, 5 days after placing the order I had my canvas print! It looks amazing! It was everything I expected and then some!
My memory is preserved
Every time I walk through the living room I see the picture! I smile when I think about the day that we stood together looking at the building. I ponder and recall the sounds of nature as we hiked and spent time in the woods in that state park. I remember the good times we had! There is nothing like a well preserved memory and printing my memory on Canvas was the perfect way to do it!!
In June of 2020, we visited the area near Summersville, West Virginia and Fayetteville, West Virginia to see the New River Gorge Bridge. The three days in the area were not enough, we saw a lot of the sites, but there were so many more places to explore. I had lists of places that I wanted to see but we ran out of time. The Carnifex Ferry Battlefield was one of those places. In less than four months, we were back to see some of what we missed on our first visit.
The civil war battle in 1861 that took place near the Carnifex Ferry was a mystery to me. I had never heard of this battle and I wanted to learn more. Nestled in the Appalachian hills of West Virginia, this battleground is often overlooked as people chose to visit the larger more well known Civil War historical locations. However, this battlefield is a great historical stop for the person that is in the area enjoying the kayaking, hiking and gorgeous mountain top views that the New River and Gauley River areas offer.
The West Virginia State Park: Carnifex Ferry Battlefield
The Carnifex Ferry Battlefield is a small State Park near Summersville, West Virginia. The area draws tourists who vacation on the Summersville Reservoir, boat the Gauley and nearby New Rivers, come to see the mighty New River Gorge Bridge or visit the multiple parks (national and state) in this area. An area that is a playground for the nature lover and outdoorsman.
The grounds of this park have been preserved in memory of a civil war battle that took place in September of 1861. To fully understand the battle however, we need to back track a few days in time before the battle.
The Battle of Carnifex Ferry
In August of 1861, a contingent of the Confederate Army encamped in the area near the Carnifex Ferry Battlefield. The roughly 1,800 men settled onto the land near the Patterson Farmhouse. In early September, the union army arrived with nearly 7,000 troops. In the afternoon of September 10th, the Union army advanced upon the heavily entrenched confederate army. Both sides fought valiantly and it was the Union army that retreated at the end of the day.
When the union general was pushed back he must have realized his error. You see, he had only advanced a small portion of his available men to attack this confederate camp. When he retreated, he knew it was only for the night and that in the morning that he would be attacking with his full force of me.
Riding high on his troops ability to push back the Union army on the first day of fighting, the confederate general knew that he was seriously outnumbered. He assessed the risks and the benefits and that night in the cover of darkness he withdrew his troops and retreated.
The Union army claimed victory for this battle. They held the ground that they had fought for and the Confederate Army had retreated. However, the Confederate Army did not see it that way. They claimed that they rightfully held the victory due to the fact that they sustained far fewer casualties and absolutely no fatalities during this battle. A claim that could not be made by the Union Army.
Near the Patterson House on the Carnifex Ferry Battlefield is a single grave. This grave is a stark reminders that risk of being a troop in the Civil War was not confined to times of battle. Sickness in the encampments was a very real problem and this grave is testament to that. On September 7th, only three days before the battle a young soldier died of sickness within that encampment. Granville Blevins had been in the army for less than 3 months when he passed away. His brother and friends gave him a proper burial on the Patterson land. While many men died of sickness while encamped here, this is the only known gravesite.
Other activities at the Carnifex Ferry Battlefield
This state park also offers a few other neat tidbits of interest. The Carnifex Ferry Battlefield can boast of a fabulous overlook that gives visitors a breathtaking view of the river far below. This battlefield offers a 2 mile trail that circles that battlefield and will take a visitor near all points of interest within the battlefield. The multiple picnic shelters and the softball field round out the variety of activities that this park offers.
A trip to the Gauley River and the New River would not be complete without at least a quick stop to see the hallowed ground of this battlefield. During the summer months, the gift shop and museum is open for visitors (weekends and holidays). If you enjoy watching reenactments, you can visit in early September during an even numbered year and take in the thunder of guns as this battle for control of the valley takes place. During our visit we split our day at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield with a trip to the Babcock State Park to see the gorgeous Glade Creek Grist mill! Thanks for the great visit West Virginia State Parks!
At the top of a small side trail off the Appalachian Trail in the state of Maryland sits the Pogo Campsite. This primitive camp site seems rather unimposing and quiet. The beauty of the area is fantastic and the Black Rock and Annapolis Overlooks are only a short walk away on the trail. But this area is bursting with historical significance. The Black Rock Hotel once stood at the site of the Pogo Campground.
Thurston Griggs Trail
The name of the trail that winds up the side of the mountain to intersect with the Appalachian Trail is named the Thurston Griggs Trail. This trail was once named the Bagtown Road and it took visitors up to the Black Rock Hotel. Over the years, the trail was adjusted and moved to preserve the land and now bears no resemblance to what we could consider to be a road. In the 1980's there was a thrust by various people to work to preserve our trails. Many people fought for the conservation and protection of the trails. Thurston Griggs was one of these crusaders for the trails. During his retirement years, he spent much time working to preserve the Appalachian Trail and other trails in the Mid-Atlantic area. Bagtown road was one of the trails that Thurston worked to preserve. When Thurston Griggs was 86 years old, they renamed this trail to honor his work. Thus, we now have The Thurston Griggs Trail. Thurston Griggs was active in the trail community until shortly before his death at at 95 in 2011.
The Pogo Campsite sites at the top of the Thurston Griggs trail. A small spring near the top of the Thurston Griggs tail makes this campsite a desirable stop for hikers. The campsite is a primitive style campsite with a an older privy and multiple fire circles scattered around the area. A new privy is being built.
The Pogo campsite is built near /on the site of the old Black Rock Hotel. The campsite was named after a young man who passed away in 1974. Walter "Pogo" Rheinheimer grew up on the Appalachian Trail. His parents were active members of the PATC (Potomac Appalachian Trail Club). In 1974, as a young adult, Pogo cheated death. He and a friend set out for a cross country adventure on their bikes, attempting to travel from coast to coast. On the first day they were sideswiped and suffered serious injuries. Once healed, Pogo accepted an invitation to go canoeing on the nearby Potomac River. This time his luck was not with him. He passed away. His parents wanted to memorialize their son and approached the PATC. The Black Rock Hotel Campsite was renamed the Pogo Campsite.
The Black Rock Hotel
The Black Rock Hotel, also known as the Black Rock House was originally built in the 1870's. Even though the hotel was not easily accessible, it quickly became a popular destination for people that wanted to escape the heat of the city. Sadly, the hotel burned down in 1880. Within in a short period of time, the owner lost his wife and child to illness. Depressed and disheartened, he moved to New York where he experienced great financial prosperity. The fresh mountain air near Black Rock kept calling his name and in 1907 he rebuilt the Black Rock Hotel.
The newly rebuilt never regained it's former popularity. The accessibility of the hotel came into play as more and more people chose to visit the nearby Pen Mar park, travelling by train to access the mountain top resort.
The memories that are recounted about the Black Rock Hotel are pleasant. Memories include sitting on the porch and looking at the town far below, visiting during the Fourth of July and reading the Declaration of Independence and drinking liquor distilled from Washington County Rye.
The second Black Rock Hotel burned in 1920. The walls stood high up in the mountains for many years. It became a popular spot for people to visit and explore. As late as the 1960's and 1970's people recount experiences at the Black Rock Hotel and talk about the walls still standing. But by the turn of the new century, the walls had been reduced to rubble and the foundation overtaken by nature.
I would have loved to live in that time frame to travel up the Bagtown Road to visit the Black Rock Hotel/Black Rock House. The resort high in the mountains would have been the perfect retreat from daily life. But that era is over. Instead, I will enjoy my hikes up the Thurston Griggs trail and my walks through the Pogo Campsite.
Photo Credits: http://fess2.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-search-for-black-rock-hotel.html and https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/lifestyle/wolfsville-serenity-in-the-hills/article_93620fce-04f0-5404-87ea-8364c92cb874.html
Babcock State Park resides in the Appalachian Mountains near the New River Gorge. This state park is a multi faceted park with a variety of opportunities for fun. However, the main attraction at this state park is the Glade Creek Grist Mill.
Glade Creek Grist Mill
The Glade Creek Grist mill is frequently touted as one of the most picturesque locations in West Virginia. Many go as far as to say that it is the most commonly photographed spot in the state. I can attest to it's beauty and how photogenic this building really is.
The History of the Glade Creek Grist Mill
The Glade Creek Grist Mill may look old, but this building is relatively new with the construction being completed in 1976. What makes this mill look old and vintage? This mill was built from the parts of three other West Virginia Mills.
The actual building structure is from the remains of the Stoney Creek Grist mill. That mill dated back to the 1890's and was located in Campbelltown, which is in Pocahontas County.
The overshot waterwheel is from the Spring Run Grist Mill that was located near Petersburg, WV. The waterwheel was the only thing that was salvageable after a fire decimated the mill that was located in Grant County.
The other inner workings for the mill came from the Onego Grist Mill that was located near Seneca Rocks in Pendleton County.
The Glade Creek Grist Mill was built near the sight of the former Coopers Mill which was destroyed in 1920. This mill is fully operational and is open on the weekends. You can even buy some cornmeal that is ground on the premises.
What else does Babcock State Park Have
Babcock State Park is not just for the Grist Mill. There is a campground and the most charming cabins that are for rent. They have multiple trails that are good for trail running, hiking and mountain biking. They even have a mountain top lake for those hot summer days.
Babcock State Park and the Glade Creek Grist Mill are definitely something that we are happy that we took the time to visit. We are already making plans to return to this state park and stay in one of the cabins and explore more of the trails that this park has to offer.
I was quite nervous about hiking the Kaymoor Miners Trail. OK, I was absolutely petrified! We had visited the area a few months earlier and we had heard fabulous things about the Kaymoor Miners Trail. It was supposed to have anything that someone could ask for. Waterfalls, gorgeous views and abandoned ruins of a coal mine, it had it all. It sounded like something we would love We had known that it was a must do hike. So on that visit, we made our way to the trail head to hike this trail. We even started down the trail anxious to see what this trail was all about. It didn't bother us that the trail was marked as strenuous. We had been on difficult trails before! We had this!
We did not have that! On that hike, we got to the waterfall and the steep rock scramble and I totally wimped out! I became frightened and worried about my balance and stability and we turned around and did not complete that hike. I regretted it almost immediately and began to try to come up with ideas to allow me to traverse that rock scramble safely. I came up with the idea to start hiking with trekking poles. Best decision ever!
Time to Hike the Kaymoor Miners Trail
I had been hiking with my trekking poles for a few months between our first visit to the New River Gorge and the Kaymoor Miners Trail and the second visit. The time had come, we were back at the New River Gorge for our vacation. It was time to put those trekking poles to use and hike the Kaymoor Miners Trail. I was so excited to experience this trail that we decided to hike this trail on our very first day of our vacation.
We started out on the trail and we were loving the trail. It was easy, deceptively so; but I knew what was ahead of me. We got to that rock scramble area and it didn't seem quite as difficult. I paused for a few seconds and then moved forward. I went carefully and slowly but it wasn't that bad and the rock scramble was relatively short.
We kept hiking and before long we were at the intersection of the Kaymoor Trail. The Kaymoor Trail in this area sits on a shelf on the side of the mountain. This is the first visible evidence of the old mine. You can see buildings and mine entrances at this level.
Kaymoor Miners Trail: Stairway
After exploring this area, we took a deep breath and headed down the stairs. The signage near the stairs makes it very clear that there are 821 steps that will take the brave person down the side of the mountain. The signs also included a brief description of what we would see at the bottom of the steps. There was no question in my mind! We were going down those stairs!
hThe stairs were tough. Going down them was surprisingly rough on my muscles. Climbing back up the steps? That was difficult also! I was breathing like a freight train!
But on my word! The beauty at the bottom of those steps is incredible! The ruins of the abandoned mine are all around you. There are traces of the lives and work that took place here evident with every step we took! It was worth every muscle ache and every gasp for breath as I climbed back up!
I was so afraid of this hike, and it turned out to be the best hike of our entire visit. Was it difficult? Absolutely! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! The Kaymoor Miners trail has it all. It's a great workout. It has fabulous scenery. It has abandoned buildings. It has amazing history. It has the peace that nature brings. This trail is top notch!
LEKI Trekking Poles8/13/2020
I recently found myself in the market for some Trekking poles and started to do my research. I had no clue what I was looking and therefore, I started this research blind. I knew nothing about trekking poles, it had just come as a bright idea that it may help my hiking abilities. I read some articles and I talked to the sales representatives at my local trail outfitter. Eventually, I decided to purchase a pair of LEKI trekking poles.
Researching Trekking Poles
I started my research online. I had only a vague idea that trekking poles would help me with a problem that I had recently developed while hiking. The problem? I had been stumbling more frequently and while hiking was occasionally unable to catch myself from falling. (I had first checked for other health issues, but everything appeared to be fine, I was just falling….a LOT!) That is where I started my research. Immediately I looked for guidance. Would trekking poles help me with my stability? The resounding answer was yes! I was ready to really start shopping! But then my eye caught some other things that Trekking poles are noted to help. Trekking poles were supposed to help with balance and stability for those suffering with arthritis in the knees! Perfect! But, the clincher for me? It also has been helpful for people who have hands that swell while hiking! Oh my word. I was totally hooked now!
There are a ton of different brands out there. I am an Amazon shopper so I immediately turned to Amazon. I found trekking poles for as low as $20! Awesome, it wasn’t going to break the bank! But then I started to look at the reviews. Hmmmm, flimsy and break after the first use. I was not impressed. I knew that I was going to be using these to help give me stability and a trekking pole that broke while I was using it was NOT going to keep me upright! In fact, that sounded downright disastrous! I went back to the research table and started to look at the top trekking poles. I was so confused and didn’t know what way to turn!
Visiting a Trail Outfitter Store
We decided to stop into our locally owned trail outfitter to check out their options for trekking poles. I was excited to see what they had in the store. I was hoping that they had something in stock! They were easy to find and we made our way right over to their selection. I immediately grabbed a pair or women’s poles. They looked snazzy. I extended them and did a few steps. Hmmm. They seemed to bow a bit with very little pressure. That didn’t seem safe to me. I grabbed a pair of LEKI poles and we extended them to the proper height. They were stiff and solid and seemed to have no bend or bow in them when I put a bit of pressure onto them.
The sales representative came over and started to talk to us about the different brands and styles of poles. They did not push one way or the other. HOWEVER, they did talk about the warranty of each product. They talked about the superior customer service of LEKI products and the ease of receiving replacement parts for anything that wears out or gets broken. LEKI is a company that specializes and manufactures two types of products, trekking poles and camp chairs. Their R&R is not spread thin, all of their attention is centered on these two products and they stand behind their products. LEKI seemed like a great company that stood behind their products! I was sold! It wasn’t until I got my trekking poles home that I read the documents to realize that these trekking poles have a lifetime warranty on defective material and product. Furthermore, warranty parts are available for up to 10 years after the product is manufactured. EVEN BETTER!
Using the Trekking Poles
We immediately took my new LEKI trekking poles to an easy trail so that I could experiment with them. Getting the motion down is actually more awkward then you would think, but after a bit it became more natural. But the real test occurred when we headed to a portion of the Appalachian Trail that is uphill and rocky.
I headed out with some apprehension due to my recent falls and right off the bat we encountered our first rocky climb up some steps that have no handholds/trees. I put those poles to use and marched right up those uneven rocky steps. The poles gave me the stability I needed and helped my arthritic knees by taking the pressure off of them. Oh my word, they work perfectly!
I used the poles with the glove type strap. I wasn’t sure if I would like a glove instead of a strap, but when my hand was in the glove, it correctly positioned my hands on the grips of the poles. The design allowed me to now have to grip the poles tightly and it helped to spread any weight or pressure in an ergonomically and efficient way. We hiked for 3 hours that first trip where I really put the poles to the test and my hands and arms felt as comfortable at the end of the hike as they did at the beginning. It was a painless learning experience!
The grips are great! We were hiking on a day when the temperatures was 95 degrees Fahrenheit with a super high humidity. I was wondering how the grips would handle a hot day. I shouldn’t have been worried. I never once had any issue where my hands felt slick. The grips worked fabulously and even after 3 hours of a sweaty hike, felt dry and new.
These poles are easy to adjust for different heights. When we started our hike, it only took me a minute or two to extend and adjust the poles to the proper position for comfort and safety. After hiking up the mountain we turned around for our descent. After just one or two steps down a steep part of the trail I stopped and quickly adjusted the height of the poles for downhill trekking. All in all, that adjustment took less than a minute. There is no long adjustment or worry. It is quick and easy. SO easy in fact that when we were done with our hike, I returned the poles to their small carrying size while I walked across the parking lot toward my car. It really is that easy and quick!
I am totally in love with these trekking poles! They will be going with me on all of my hikes. I am planning on getting some carabiner clips for my backpack so that even when I am choosing to not use them, that they are there with me. I felt myself stumble and trip once or twice during this hike but the added stability of these poles made the stumbles just that, a stumble.
Belief In Living
Travel with us as we explore!