Monday, May 27, 2013

West Virginia Weekend at Watoga State Park

Time sure flies when you're having fun, and we sure have!  In fact, it's hard to believe that I haven't posted in several months.  Needless to say, I have lots to catch up on...but for now, I'll do a quick post about a short, fun-filled, family vacation we took over Memorial Day weekend.  

Last summer, my sister Karin, my friend Caroline and I biked the Greenbrier bike path in West Virginia.  We rode 160 miles round trip and wound up camping at Watoga State Park in Seebert, WV along the way.  We absolutely loved the park--it was gorgeous--and I vowed that I'd come back the following year with Bob and the kids.  That's exactly what we did, except we "splurged" a bit and rented a cute 2 bedroom cabin across from a babbling brook.  We used this as our base of operations as we hiked and biked all over the place. 

Watoga State Park is WV's largest state park with over 10,000 acres.  It has a small lake, 30+ miles of hiking trails (as well as access to the 330 mile Allegheny Trail) and the Greenbrier River along with the adjacent 80 mile Greenbrier River Trail runs through it.  Needless to say, it's an outdoorsman's paradise.

The first morning, we opted to go on a 6-7 mile hike in the mountains.  Along the way, we spotted a young bear which was very cool.  It was the kids first experience seeing a bear in the wild.

Connor served as our navigator,

 while Mikaela served as the photographer for part of the hike.

After a quick lunch, we were off on a family bike ride.

We hit the Greenbrier River Trail and rode for a little over 12 miles.

The Greenbrier River Trail is gorgeous.  It's verdant green with lush foliage and there are mountains every which way you look.  Of course the Greenbrier River runs next to the trail and it's extremely picturesque.  


The following morning Bob and I awoke early and went for different 6+ mile hike in the mountains while the kids slept in--after all, they're at the age where they no longer enjoy getting up at 7:00 a.m. if they can help it.  We brought Shasta with us (while Zeke was back home in a kennel--more on Zeke later :-)).

When we got back to the cabin, the kids were dressed and ready to go on our 22 mile bike ride to Marlinton, WV.  We were going there to eat lunch at the Dirtbean Cafe--a cute cafe & bikeshop combo with terrific, healthy food.

The weather was absolutely perfect and the miles passed quickly.  We stopped along the way to wade in the river, have stone skipping contests and of course, to enjoy the scenery.

After the bike ride, we went back to the cabin.  The kids read while Bob and I went for a shorter (3-4 mile) hike in the woods.  We came back, cooked dinner, made a roaring fire in the fireplace, ate s'mores, played cards and read before turning in for the night.

This morning, we managed to squeeze in one more quick hike before we had to check out. All in all, it was a fantastic family, get-away weekend.  There is no cell reception, wi-fi or any other distraction at Watoga--just plenty of time to be outdoors and to talk, laugh, relax and play games together.  Needless to say, I can hardly wait to visit again!

I sure do love adventuring with my family!

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