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West Virginia Photography

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Old August 17th 06, 09:00 PM posted to rec.photo.digital.slr-systems
Forest Wanderer
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Default West Virginia Photography

Almost Heaven Photography in West Virginia by

West Virginia is one of the most beautiful states in America for site
seeing and outdoor recreation. Throughout the state, there are many
parks and forests that you can visit within a relatively short time.
West Virginia is diverse and unique in landscapes and scenery because
of the rural areas that continue to be unpopulated and remote from
industrial society's scenery pollution. Anyone who has ever been to
West Virginia and explored the vast parks, and forests the state has to
offer realize why the state is deemed "Almost Heaven". All the way
from the New River Gorge and Bluestone area in southern West Virginia
to the Dolly Sods and Black Water Falls parks in the northern parts of
the state West Virginia has anything that the outdoor enthusiast could
ever want.

Although there are several other activities throughout the state of
West Virginia such as fishing, hunting, white water river rafting, I
enjoy just simply exploring and finding the most beautiful areas to
photograph. Exploring and Photography is what the good Lord has given
me for a new hobby once I was Born Again. You know when you turn your
life over to Him He will replace the old corrupt things of the world
with the pleasant things that are of Him. Whenever I get away and go up
to the mountains it is so relaxing to find a beautiful spot, just
relax, and read the Holy Bible. When you get away from all of the
hustle and bustle of daily life you can focus more on the presence and
love of God almighty. One day there is going to be a New Heaven and a
New Earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. There will no longer be
corruption, death or despair and depression. He has all this prepared
for those that love Him and except the precious gift of His son Jesus

In order to help those that visit this site and have the same interests
in photography, I have compiled a list of areas that are very nice to
visit and explore when you get a chance to either get away from where
you live outside of West Virginia, or if you are a resident of the
Mountain State. I am not going to provide website links but simply just
the name of the places that you can visit and a link to my favorite
photograph of the mentioned area. You can use any search engine such as
Google or others to find the official sites and maps of the areas. You
can recognize the names of these areas in the following paragraphs by
the italicized fonts.

The Monongahela National Forest stretches from the southeastern region
of West Virginia all the way to the northeastern panhandle area of the
state. The Monongahela National Forest contains several smaller
individual parks that have recreational areas, which provide activities
for everyone in your family. I highly recommend obtaining a Monongahela
National Forest map so you can see all of the individual parks and
areas of interest through the areas. We will give some details about my
favorites that the Lord has allowed me by His grace to visit in this
article however, there are so many areas to visit I could never include
them all in an article.

Cranberry Glades

Cranberry Glades Botanical

Cranberry Wilderness

The Falls of Hills Creek

Cass Scenic Railroad

Bear Town State Park

Highland Scenic Highway

Spruce Knob

Seneca Rocks

Germany Valley

Dolly Sods

Blackwater Falls

One of the most popular areas is the Cranberry Wilderness area, which
is in the lower parts of the Monongahela National Forest . Cranberry
Glades is a unique and picturesque area for hiking, camping, fishing
and photography. The glades are a type of boggy swampy forest area that
usually only exists in areas more northern than West Virginia .
Cranberry Glades Botanical Area has a very nice boardwalk that you may
walk on to preserve the bog and see the diverse plant life that is in
the swampy forest. Some of the unique types of flowers that you may
happen across are carnivorous insect eating plants that trap bugs that
inadvertently climb into the plants mouth! There is a visitor center
just outside of the road that leads to the Cranberry Glades Botanical
Area that you can stop of and visit to learn about all of the areas
wildlife and plant life that exist in the area. If you continue past
the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area you will enter into the Cranberry
Wilderness Backcountry which is a wonderful area for hiking, exploring,
camping and fishing. You should be aware that black bears, bob cats and
coyotes live in these areas so if you hike or camp throughout the area
make certain to keep your food put away because they can smell your
food for a long way. The backcountry is especially a nice area for
photographing streams and falls of the runs that come down the mountain
into the cranberry river.

Within the Cranberry Wilderness Area is another unique scenic park,
which is called The Falls of Hills Creek. This is probably one of my
most favorite areas in all of West Virginia . The Falls of Hills Creek
is an area that contains 3 distinct and beautiful waterfalls that
cascade down the mountain from the swampy bog area that is up above.
There is a wooden boardwalk and stairs that lead to all of the falls
but some are more beautiful and scenic if you actually rough it and
climb down the mountains (at your own risk of course). The first
waterfall at The Falls of Hills Creek is 25 feet high and is one of the
most beautiful. This fall is not very visible from the boardwalk but it
is very beautiful, if you can climb down to see it (again at your own
risk, this is very dangerous). Thankfully, the good Lord has allowed me
to climb down safely and get some wonderful shots of this fall from the
creek side and on a rock in the middle of the creek as well as directly
in front of the fall. Next throughout the path of The Falls of Hills
Creek is a nice viewing area of the creek and the pools of water that
have collected as the water rushes through the area. A nice little
trail and a bridge that crosses the creek provide a very comfortable
means of getting to the next waterfall. The second waterfall at The
Falls of Hills Creek is 45 feet high and is extremely beautiful. The
boardwalk and platform provides a convenient viewing area directly in
front of the waterfall and even has a little bench that you can set on
and relax. Just down the trail, a short ways is the next fall, which is
the highest waterfall in the park. This waterfall is an amazing 65 feet
high and is absolutely beautiful to see and photograph.

If you continue past The Falls of Hills Creek and the Cranberry
Wilderness Area, you will come to another wonderful place of interest.
The Highland Scenic Highway is a nice place to drive and even hike out
some trails along the way. This road is about 15 miles long and is very
scenic along each mile of the road. Several stops along the way provide
a nice picnic area and high overlook scenic views from the mountaintop.
There is very little traffic on this road and it is a nice scenic drive
through the wilderness. The Williams River and Tea Creek are also areas
along the Highland Scenic Highway that are great places to fish, camp
and hike.

Another part of the Monongahela National Forest is also famous for the
Cass Scenic Railroad, which is an old-fashioned steam locomotive that
takes you on a ride up the mountain for a trip that lasts several
hours. Plan to take a picnic lunch and bring the kids because they will
enjoy the ride. The train moves at a slow pace and allows you to openly
see and photograph the scenery as you meander up the mountain. It is
advisable for you to purchase tickets ahead of time during busy periods
of the year so you are not left behind. The little rural town of Cass
has old-fashioned logging cottages that you can stay in overnight or
through the week.

Beartown State Park is a nice area to visit as well. The pathway out to
the rocks and formations is very smooth and gradual. The winding
boardwalks and trails provide a nice area that is enjoyable for
everyone. This is definitely worth the visit if you are in the area. Do
not hesitate to take your camera and get some pictures because you are
certain to be fascinated by the scenery Beartown State Park provides.

Spruce Knob is the highest point in West Virginia and is very remote.
It is about 12 miles out a rural road, which is very beautiful and
scenic. You can see for miles up on Spruce Knob as the park service has
provided a nice lookout tower that you can climb up and take in the
mountain top view from the highest point in West Virginia . Make
certain that you take a little snack or a picnic lunch out to the area
because there are absolutely no stores or especially fast food
restaurants out there, and I am glad it is that way. The wind blows
constantly up on top of Spruce Knob as there are not any hills or trees
around to slow the wind down. The Spruce trees that are up there have
all of their branches growing on one side, which is the side that the
wind does not blow.

Just up the road from Spruce Knob is one of the most notable rock
formations in West Virginia . Seneca Rocks is very majestic and
beautiful for its grandeur and unique shape. Seneca Rock has a nice
visitor's center that you may go in and take a break from your
travels. They have several exhibits in the visitors center that teach
you about the area and the culture as well as the history of the area.
Rock climbing and repelling is one of the unique attractions that
Seneca Rocks offers because of its vertical slope. The park area
provides a nice trail that can be hiked up from the base and it
approximately 1 and miles up from the bottom of the rock formation.
There is also the creek below that offers wonderful fishing and camping
areas that provide a nice mountain wilderness experience. There are
several places to eat and stay in the area so convenience is not an
issue when visiting Seneca Rock. Seneca Caverns is also a nice place to
visit that is in the area. These caverns are very beautiful and neat to
visit and photograph. The admission is cheap and it is an easy hike
through the caverns as you are lead by the guide. Beware of the dark
though; they turn the lights out on you!

Germany Valley is a wonderful valley that can be viewed from a roadside
pull off and overlook. The valley looks like a Swedish town or area in
the Rockies somewhere. It is well worth the trip up the mountain to get
a bird's eye view of the farms and homesteads below. I like to think
of how this looked to those who were exploring this area when they
first saw the views from the mountaintop.

One of the most unique and remote areas of West Virginia is Dolly Sods.
This wonderfully diverse area of nature is a virtual paradise that
provides camping and hiking areas galore. This area is very remote and
beautiful park area that has wild flowers and berries that scour the
landscape. The views from up on the mountaintop are breathtakingly
spectacular. Dolly Sods takes a while to get out to and there is no
major road that leads to the park, but there is a nice rural route with
country homes and farms along the way that give access to the park.
Watch closely for the road that leads out there because you will miss
it if you are not careful. There are all kinds of nice areas to camp
throughout the trails at Dolly Sods as well as a designated campground.
Be careful not to get lost out the wilderness trails in Dolly Sods as
they are very remote and seldom traveled. There are sign in and sign
out sheets at the head of each trail, so make certain you sign these in
case someone has to come looking for you. The weather and clouds move
extremely fast up here and you should be prepared for anything at a
moments notice, the wind blows constantly and in my opinion is
responsible for the wonderfully fresh air. The air seems so clean up
here and is a refreshing change from the air that you breathe in
populated areas. There are wild azaleas and wild rhododendrons that are
scattered throughout the mountainsides. The smell of these flowers is
so sweet and this adds to the term that West Virginia is "Almost

The last place on our stop for this article is Blackwater Falls State
Park . This wonderful park is my favorite place I have stayed overnight
so far. This is perfect for the entire family, as there is a petting
zoo, horse back riding, swimming and other recreational activities that
provide fun and adventure for everyone. Do not get discouraged when you
first get there by just going to the main waterfalls and thinking that
there is nothing else to explore. Make certain that you travel out to
the lodge and take a hike out the Elakala trail where Elakala
waterfalls are. As far as I am concerned, the Elakala Falls are even
more beautiful than the main Blackwater falls. The Pendleton waterfalls
are very nice also and provide a challenge to when hiking down the
trail that leads to the waterfalls. Make certain that someone is with
you or at least someone knows where you are going. There are also
several trails that you can hike out which provide breathtaking views
of the Blackwater River Canyon .

Overall, the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia is very
rugged and beautiful. Make sure you are prepared to visit the area so
you can make the most out of your trip.

Old August 17th 06, 09:14 PM posted to rec.photo.digital.slr-systems
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Posts: 692
Default West Virginia Photography

"Forest Wanderer" wrote in message
Almost Heaven Photography in West Virginia by


Wonderful image. God should be very proud of you.


Matthew 19:12
"What have you got in that paper bag?
Is it a dose of Vitamin C?
Ain't got no time for Western medicine
I am Damo Suzuki" - Mark E Smith


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