Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to MAY!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful IRISES from our yard. Meet "Goodnight Kiss"

Monday, October 26, 2015

West Virginia Trip with Good Friends 10/19-23/2015

Four Special Friends along the Highland Scenic Highway 150
George and I had a fantastic trip last week with good friends,  Neal and Patti from Indiana.  This is about the 6th trip we have taken together over the past several years.  The four of us have so much in common and always have a good time when we are together.  This year was no exception.....

George and I have been to West Virginia several times ---and suggested this trip this year because we wanted to see the Autumn Colors in West Virginia since we had never been there in Fall;  AND also because we wanted to take them on one of our favorite rides,  a ride UP UP UP the mountain on an old steam train at Cass,  WV (from Cass to Bald Knob)...  Always a JOY for me/us!

All of us took lots and lots of pictures all week long---so I'll just show a few of my favorite places with you today.  Be sure to click on the pictures for enlargements.

Honeycomb Rocks off of the Highland Scenic Highway 150;  Don't you think those rocks look a little like a honeycomb????  Neat, huh.

The Trail to Honeycomb Rocks:  The Fall Colors in this area were SO pretty and I loved hiking along this trail.   To me,  there's just nothing better than hiking through the rustling leaves in Autumn.... I love the colors AND I love the 'smells' of Fall... SO NEAT!

This is Grandview,  part of the New River Gorge National River area.  This was one of the first places we visited ---and all of us were disappointed that there weren't many Fall Colors all around the mountains.  BUT--we did see Autumn Colors many other places we visited. 

You knew that George and I would just HAVE to take Neal and Patti to visit some waterfalls while there!!!!   This was the day we did the most hiking (first at Grandview and then to see these 3 beautiful waterfalls)....  This waterfall is Lower Falls of Hills Creek.  We all enjoyed all of the steps down into that canyon, and then back UP.  Needless to say, I finished the day with over 18,000 steps on my FITBIT!!!!!! I was VERY TIRED that night.

This is Beartown State Park ---and it's definitely a place that one needs to visit in order to grasp the beauty.  Pictures just don't show the real beauty there. Someone had built a wonderful boardwalk throughout the area ---and from that boardwalk,  we saw some amazing rock formations, boulders,  ferns, moss and more... This turned out to be one of my favorite places --and George and I had NEVER been here...

We took two loop hikes at the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center.  This was another favorite for me since again, I got to hike through the rustling leaves of Fall.  SO SPECIAL.  This picture was taken at the Stamping Creek Overlook along that trail.  The trees were gorgeous in this area.

We had some extra time one day so we checked out another beautiful state park,  Watoga State Park.  Here we are taking pictures of the Fall Colors and reflections at Lake Watoga. 

Neal took this picture of George and me at the T. M. Cheek Memorial Overlook at Watoga State Park.   Again--as you can see,  the colors there were awesome.

Cass Scenic Railroad:  Here's my FAVORITE part of the week (no surprise if you know me well)... I loved the ride WAY UP the mountain to Bald Knob from Cass, and back down,  on an old steam train...George and I have taken this ride 3 different times --but this was the first trip in Autumn.   LOVED it.....  (My Dad worked for the railroad --and as a child,  I got to ride on occasion in one of those engines.  Such fantastic memories.)

A View from the Train!!!!!   Going up that mountain on the train and also our time at Bald Knob gave us many opportunities to check out the views...Since the colors were so pretty and since we had a very clear and beautiful day,  we were able to get some great photos.

Finally,  on our way home (taking the back roads through West VA),  we just had to stop and take some pictures of this beautiful Covered Bridge... This bridge's name is the Indian Creek Covered Bridge.  Isn't it pretty?

AND --along that same road while on the way home,  we saw a little cemetery named BALLARD CEMETERY.   Of course,  we just had to stop and check it out.  I took pictures and also made some notes about some of the Ballards in that cemetery.  My mother was a Ballard and I have done quite a bit of Genealogy work on the Ballard side of my family.  However,  I'm not sure if any of my direct line of Ballards moved to West Virginia.   I didn't recognize any of the names --but will definitely do some research...
Well---that is just a tiny bit of all of the wonderful things we did last week with our friends.  It was a tremendous trip--and I highly recommend a trip to West Virginia during ANY season... We love it there --and I'm sure we will go back again --and again.

Have a wonderful week.