Almost Heaven?

Almost Heaven. West Virginia’s recreational moniker. Is it though? The time for change was present so I went on a mission was to find a new playground to explore. And I succeeded. I had never explored West Virginia before, in my mind it never had the appeal of Maine, The Whites, The Smokies or the Blue Ridge. The mind plays tricks on us all the time regarding what is there and what is not. Perceptions develop, influences creating half truths emerge and you are left to wonder why would one ever want to experience something negative. The thing is perceptions are like assumptions, often miscalculated, bordering on pure fiction. I am here to confirm that West Virginia is as gorgeous as those ads say it is.

West Virginia is also home to three dark sky parks in the US, apparently, as I was informed by a local pro, it is also one of the cloudier places in the country. Plan away, but understand that part of your journey may come with a some disappointment. The clouds come out of nowhere! Mini Mountains… That was one of the main draws for me to this area. Five days spent, no night sky for me. The treasure trove of day trips commence.

I chose Watoga State Park as my base of operations, situated nicely in the middle of two other locations I had on the hit list. NO cell service, NO internet, NO TV. Sounds almost like heaven to me. Arrived early in the evening, checked in and went out for some provisions for the cabin before it got dark. Let’s emphasize before dark. The roads were of the windy, hairpin bends, up and down if you do not know them tread lightly variety.

I had a loose itinerary for the trip and the first stop was out to Cranberry Glades for an easy stroll through a field and down to a wildlife viewing area. After a day in the car it was a great way to loosen up the legs before the fun began. I did not do this daisy any justice but I thought it was cool just standing there in a field of yellow.

Got to the viewing area and immediately had memories of going on walks with my dad and uncle for there in front of me was beaver town. Been a while since I have seen one but I thought it was pretty developed from the ones I remember. They were yapping quite a bit so I hung out for a little while waiting for one to show itself but no luck. It started to rain so I headed back to the car.

I headed down the road a bit to Falls of Hills Creek. The trail here is less than a mile, easy right? The 380 steps to the bottom were slippery but it was going back up that was fun. They are spread out decent so it is not really that bad if you take a couple of breaks. (Gasping for air). The first fall was visible, but contained too many obstructions to photograph. The next two were perfect.

Middle Falls
Lower Falls

Very cool first day , managed to take in a lot of scenery. Cruised the Highland Scenic Highway, had clouds, rain and more clouds so I had relegated myself to no night skies this trip. When I got back to the cabin I had this dude waiting for me. It hung out every day during my stay which leads me to think I am on it’s chosen property.

Thank for stopping by, Day two coming soon!


Published by Phil Shepherd

Capturing my interpretation of this world and its inhabitants... I am a Headshot and Portrait Photographer and supporter of Live, Local Music. This offering is dedicated mainly to Mom Nature and the travels I indulge in with her.

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