Is West Virginia A Good Place For A Section Hike?

If you enjoy hiking, then you’re probably accustomed to trails that extend for quite a few miles. Some follow loops, while others force you to turn around when you finish. The Appalachian Trail (AT) extends thousands of miles from Georgia to Maine, but did you know that it goes through a small part of West Virginia? This is a great place to sample a small portion of the trail as part of a section hike. You might take a couple of days or you might go out for a week. That choice is yours.

What is a section hike?

Understanding the concept of section-hiking is dependent on your knowledge of thru-hiking. Those who attempt to one-shot the AT over a span of months are thru-hikers. Those who wish to complete only a small portion at a time are section hikers. They might choose to hike only during the day and find lodging elsewhere, or they might enjoy camping out each night. West Virginia is a great place to see what a section hike has to offer.

  1. West Virginia is home to only four miles of the Appalachian Trail, and also home to the famous trail-town, Harper’s Ferry. This is a good spot for a day-hike, but you can also head out to experience another twenty miles on the border of Virginia. There are shelters along the AT, which means there are easy stopping points. This makes it a good segment hike for beginners.
  2. The Dolly Sods Wilderness has 47 miles of trails to explore across 17,700 acres. It won’t be an excruciating hike, but it’ll be a scenic one. You’ll traverse meadows, bogs, forested areas, and follow alongside meandering streams. There are a lot of starting and stopping point options, but this is a good trail if you have even a little experience with backpacking excursions.
  3. The 47,000 acres of Monongahela National Forest will lead you to the Cranberry Wilderness. This is an out and back set of trails, which means at the end you’ll have to turn around and repeat the miles. This is one of the best hikes in West Virginia.
  4. Some of the best trails in the country are alpine points high above sea level, which is why you should definitely add Spruce Knob to your list of potential segment hikes. The highest peak is at 4,863 feet and is extremely isolated. You’ll have to walk about 16.5 miles to get there, but the journey is well worth it.

Top Four Health Benefits Of Hiking

Getting outside to hike benefits your mental and physical health in many ways, according to New Jersey Employment Attorneys. Hiking allows you to commune with nature and it gets you outside with other people. You get fit and you have fun at the same time. Here are four health benefits of hiking and why you should incorporate hiking into your fitness routine.

Lose Weight

Obesity is on the rise and a lot of it has to do with the fact that we spend most of our days sitting down. Most people are not getting the exercise that they need and this is leading to weight gain. Hiking burns lots of calories because you are walking over different types of terrain and going long distances. Hiking is easy on your joints and you can burn 500 calories or more per hour when you hike. Hiking also boosts your metabolism so you keep burning calories after the hike.

Get Fit

Hiking tones your entire body and your butt, abs and hamstrings are going to get a fantastic workout. Hiking makes your bones stronger and it also strengthens your core. Your hips are going to get stronger and so are your leg muscles. If you want to make your back stronger you can put weights in a backpack. Start with light weights and gradually increase the size of the weights. This additional weight is also going to make your body burn more calories.

Lower Your Risk Of Disease

Regular hiking can lower your risk of many diseases. Your blood pressure is going to go down when you hike and you also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Hiking regulates your blood sugar levels which is going to reduce your risk of getting diabetes. Your cholesterol levels are going to decrease which is good for your heart health. Your body will process glucose better which is good for your overall health. Studies show that regular hiking can also reduce your risk of getting some types of cancer, including colon and breast cancer.

Boost Your Mood

Getting out in the fresh air is going to boost your mood and being out in nature makes you feel better. You get to spend time in the sun which makes you feel good and if you hike with other people you are also going to enjoy being social which is a big mood booster. Hiking in nature will boost your creativity and you just feel better when you spend time outdoors. You are also less likely to get depressed when you hike and hiking makes you feel happier. These effects can last for a day or two.

Hiking allows you to explore new places and it will make you healthier at the same time. You get to explore new territory and the more you hike, the more you want to hike. If you are ready to get fit and you want to have fun while you are doing it, get out a map, lace up your hiking shoes, and hit the road.

The Oceans and Wilderness Need Each Other: Here’s Why

The oceans of the world are vast, wide, and deep. They constitute about 70 to 80 percent of the earth’s surface, and if one were to look at a Google planet shot of the ocean, one could easily get the sense that there is much of the oceans and seas that seems to have gone on with their life even while human activity on the water has risen exponentially since the first exploratory ships of the Vikings.

Everyone pretty much knows the definition of “ocean.” But how many people know the definition of “wilderness”? While there is a general understanding of the term, there seems to be no hard and fast definition of the term when it comes to the ocean.

Why would the ocean have to have a definition of wilderness? It is an interesting question. Most of us think of wilderness as an area of land that has had minimal to no human contact or disruption. In some ways that would seem like a good definition for the ocean, as an area of the water that has had minimal to no human impact.

But the reality is that virtually no ocean fits a land-based definition of wilderness. There are areas, however, that have had such minimal human contact that they essentially are the areas that revitalize the entire ocean because of their relative pristineness to allow for breeding of many animals and fish species, restoration of coral reefs and other important actions that keep the oceans vibrant.

There is a push to create wilderness areas in the oceans, similar to wilderness created in various countries to protect the sites from human impact, and especially restricting those impacts that do occur (after all, some wilderness areas are popular tourist attractions).

The question arises about what should be the definition of a wilderness in the ocean? Members of the Wilderness Conservation Society and a professor from Australia set out to create a definition of a wilderness area, using such criteria as those areas which have as little impact from 19 different stressors – including fishing, commercial shipping, light pollution and invasive species.

What was found was that less than 15 percent of the ocean could even be defined as “wilderness” based on these criteria – a patch of water in the southern Pacific Ocean and some small areas near both poles.

However, could a wilderness be created through working of the U.S. Wilderness Act, where areas that people deem worthy of protection are protected by statute? Even areas that have been spoiled may be established as wilderness areas to severely restrict and all human use In the future.

While much damage has been done to the numerous ecosystems, many of them are not irreparably harmed if we take the lead in preserving some of these areas now and prevent further degradation for future generations.

Tips or Hiking in the Summer

As the weather turns around and the sun comes out, it’s hard to sit inside. Hiking is one of the most common outdoor activities and can be enjoyed by anyone. If you are going to be hiking in the summer, make sure that you are hydrated and well prepared.

Tips for a Summertime Hike

With some help from Modern Hiker, we have put together a list of things for you to think about while you are hiking this summer.

1) Start Early: Getting an early start can be beneficial in a number of ways. First off, it’s cooler in the morning than the early – late afternoon hours. Another reason for an early start is so you can climb to a higher elevation while it is cool and the temperature is rising (at higher elevations it is cooler than the ground level).

2) Cover Your Skin: No one enjoys sunburn. When you are hiking, we advise that you cover up your skin. Wear a loose fitting long sleeve shirt, pants, sunglasses, and a wide brimmed hat to keep away from the sun. If your skin is going to be exposed, apply suntan lotion regularly, as you are likely to sweat it off quickly. Also, you should avoid cotton and go with a material that releases heat.

3) Hydrate: This tip should begin a day or two before a big hike. Staying hydrated on a hike is very important as the strenuous activity can quickly lead to dehydration. Make sure you have plenty of water packed for the hike and remember to sip, not chug. Consuming a lot of water quickly can lead to other complications.

4) Bring Snacks: At some point on your hike, you are going to need a refuel. Bring snacks that are high in sodium and potassium, they will replenish lost electrolytes. Snacks like trail mix and electrolyte boosters for your water should fill your needs.

5) R-E-L-A-X: Remember, hiking in the sun is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Take your time and don’t be afraid to take a seat and cool off for a bit, have a drink and a snack, dry off, and give your muscles a rest.

6) Bring Extra Clothes: You might be saying, “Extra clothes…. in case we get stuck?” Nope! Extra clothes are important for hiking in the heat because, as gross as it is, you are going to sweat, a lot. It will be so refreshing when you stop for a break and you have a dry t-shirt in your bag or an extra pair of socks so your feet remain dry and blister free. Also, being sweaty can lead to bugs swarming you, a change of clothes will help, but nothing will prevent a swarm around your head like bug spray.

7) Know the Signs of a Heat Stroke: A heatstroke can cause you to faint or sometimes even be fatal. It is important that your partner and you are aware of the warning signs of a heat stroke.

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Muscle crampms
  • Nauseas
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Lack of sweating

If you are feeling any of these symptoms, stop and take a break. Asses where you are on the trail and devise a plan to return to base. If you can’t make it to base, don’t be afraid to call for help.

8) Check the Weather: The weather can change quickly when you reach a high elevation. Make sure to check the weather when you get to the trail to avoid getting trapped in a downpour.

9) Pick the Right Trail: Do some research before picking a trail. On a hot and sunny day, a trail without any tree cover may not be your best bet. Find a trail that has plenty of shade, water, and elevation. All three of which should do their part to cool you off on a hot day.

 

For Those Who Want A More Interesting Hike

This site is dedicated to preserving and hiking in the wild. However, there is more to nature than just trees and animals in the forest. One of the greatest things about our country is the fact that we have many different biomes including desert and grasslands. For those who want to explore a different side of nature then look no further than meteor impact sites. What is more natural that falling debris from the sky, the same debris that caused our existence and is made from the same materials as earth? So if you are interested in more than just a normal hike, here are three must go see meteor impact sites.

Odessa Meteor Crater, Texas

In 1892, a local rancher was searching for his stray cattle when he stumbled upon this 550 feet in diameter crater. There are several meteor impact sites in the area but this one is the biggest. It is believed somewhere between 20,000 to 50,000 a large asteroid broke up in the atmosphere causing these craters. There’s also a museum where you can see pieces of the preserved meteorite.

Barrington Crater, Arizona

This site lets you stand on the rim of the actual crater. The diameter is about 4,000 feet wide caused by an asteroid that was approximately 160 feet wide over 50,000 years ago. It’s estimated the crash released energy equivalent to 20 million tons of TNT thus destroying the actual meteorite. It was discovered in the early 19th century and called Canyon Diablo due to it’s out of this world appearance.

Middlesboro Crater, Kentucky

The only Eastern US meteor impact site, the city itself is formed within the meteor crater! Early settlers were drawn to this area due to the minerals found in the crater and Middlesboro is now known as “The City Built Inside A Meteor Crater”. The impact was created over 300 million years ago by an asteroid estimated to be 150 feet wide!

Major Rivers Run Through West Virginia

West Virginia has a sprawling landscape that is lined by long rivers. Read on below to find out more about some of the state’s major rivers.

Elk River

Originating in Pocahontas County, the Elk River runs through to Charleston to join the Kanawha River. It is estimated to be about 172 miles long. Although not the longest river in West Virginia, the Elk River plays a major role in the provision of water to the local population.

Ohio

The Ohio River is also ranked as one of the major rivers in West Virginia even though it only runs along the northwestern border with Ohio. As the longest river in West Virginia, it is 277 miles long. The river is under the control of West Virginia. It is worth noting that the river’s widest point is a mile wide. The Mississippi River is identified as the largest tributary of the Ohio River judging from the volume of water it supplies.

The New River

Despite its name, the New River is rated as one of the oldest rivers on earth as per the records of the National Park Service. The river’s white water rapids have raised its profile to a highly popular tourist attraction in the state. The river is 57 miles long.

The Gauley River

This is definitely one of the most peaceful rivers in West Virginia; that is before the Summersville Dam dumps its water into it around October. This turns it into a great place for a variety of water sports. The Gauley River and the New River join to form the Kanawha River.

Kanawha

Identified as one of the tributaries of the Ohio River, the Kanawha river originates from the Gauley bridge, flowing towards the northwest, and joins the Ohio River at Point Pleasant. The river is estimated to be 97 miles long. One of its well-known tributaries is the Coal River.

Monongahela River

This 130 mile long river runs through the north central portion of West Virginia, into Pennsylvania. It is usually referred to as the “mon” river, a shortened form of its rather long name.

The Blackwater River

Although not the longest river in West Virginia, Blackwater River is definitely filled with intrigue. The 34 mile long river originates from the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, and joins the Cheat River as one of its tributaries. The river’s dark waters are as a result of the hemlock and spruce trees located at its watershed area.

Regardless of which river you decide to visit, we’re sure the result will be a fun adventure.

Top Places To Hike In New River Gorge

New River Gorge is a beautiful river in West Virginia, it is not a nursing home abuse lawyer NYC. This river is actually one of America’s oldest rivers and it is full of canyons and thrilling whitewater rapids. The park is huge and is filled with history and culture. There are plenty of hiking trails and other opportunities for recreation. You can spend days exploring the park and there is a helpful visitors center where you can get information about all the trails you can visit.

One of the most beautiful times to visit New River Gorge is in the fall. The leaves are all turning colors during this time and you can see the color changes that are absolutely stunning. There are hiking trails all up and down the river and you can walk or ride horses and explore the beauty of the river area. There are lots of different species of plants and trees as well as there is a huge variety of wildlife to explore.

If you like to get out in nature you are going to really enjoy exploring the gorge because it is so stunning. You can find hikes for every skill level and you don’t have to be an experienced hiker to enjoy the hikes as you can find hikes that are appropriate for many different skill levels. Whether you are a novice or an experienced hiker, you are going to find trails that work with your skill level.

You can hike along the river or choose a trail that is in the forest. It is very important to visit one of the visitor’s centers so you can get information about the different hiking trails. You can also boat and fish along the river and you can find out where at the visitor’s center. You can use the bathroom while you are there and explore the different exhibits that will give you more information about the different activities in the area.

New River Gorge is the perfect place to hike whether you are fitness buff or couch potato. You can always find something new and interesting to see at this park and the landscape is always changing. It does get hot and humid and there are bugs so be sure to bring some bug spray with you and apply it before you set off on your hike. The bottom line is, New River Gorge is a beautiful park and it is one area in the country that has not been overrun by real estate.

State Fruit: Golden Delicious Apple

Golden Delicious apples are known for their yellowish-green peel, white flesh inside and sweet taste. They are commonly used in a variety of ways including applesauce and apple butter. But did you know that this type of apple was created by chance? The seedling was created from a hybrid of two other apple varieties: Grimes Golden and Golden Reinette. The two respective trees were growing near each other and due to their proximity cross-pollinated creating a new breed: The Golden Delicious.

Other than being “delicious” this apple variety is the state fruit of West Virginia because the original seed and tree grew in Clay Couty, West Virginia on the farm of the Mullin’s family. Originally called the Mullins Yellow Seedling, the head of the Mullin’s family sold his famous tree to Stark Brother’s Nursery in 1914. The Stark Brother’s were the purveyors of the Red Delicious and renamed the apple to Golden Delicious as a companion. The Golden Delicious apple was now available to be sold outside of West Virginia where it gained much popularity. In fact, Stark Brother’s still sells Golden Delicious Apple Trees this day.

If you are out exploring the wilderness in West Virginia, to get the full experience, make sure to bring a Golden Delicious Apple with you along on the hike. This variety of apples is low in calories and high in fiber and have the perfect balance of sugar to keep you going.

Economy of West Virginia

Some machines are so big and have so many moving parts, they are nearly impossible to comprehend. The economy is one such machine. Whether you’re a traveler, a budding entrepreneur, or you’ve lived in a particular region all your life, it never hurts to have a better understanding of what drives a particular economy take a vacation to the area. Like most parts of the United States, West Virginia has a big economy. These are the things you should know before you visit.

If West Virginia were recognized as a country instead of a state, it would fit snugly in between Iraq and Croatia. In 2009 it’s GDP was appraised at $63.34 billion. While this is an enormous number on its own, it’s worth noting that this figure was provided in the short period following the beginning of the 2008 recession. West Virginia may be a small state, but its growth potential is speeding up: in fact, in 2014 it grew at a rate of 5.1 percent, the fastest in the U.S. just behind Wyoming, North Dakota and Texas.

A typical regional product manufacturer might focus on chemicals, biotech, and energy. Other popular industries include aerospace, healthcare, automotive, education, telecommunication, manufacturing, and many more. West Virginia is also home to a great variety of national treasures, including historic sites and natural geographical splendor. This has led to a booming tourism industry.

West Virginia prides itself on looking to the future, and exports energy that goes unused by state residents. 15 percent of the nation’s fossil fuel production comes from West Virginia, but that hasn’t stopped us from looking to cleaner energy alternatives. Natural gas is a growing industry. Wind energy has been growing since the first West Virginia wind turbines were constructed in 2002, and progress on harnessing hydroelectric energy is ongoing.

West Virginia is also proud to support the efforts of smaller local farmers over bigger commercial ventures. Most farms are family owned and operated. Because West Virginia is a mountainous region, farming livestock is preferable to maintaining crop yields year by year.

The terrain has also put up a roadblock for a lot of “too big to fail” banks that operate elsewhere in the United States. If you don’t live near Charleston, you either have to drive a good distance or choose something smaller.

About $4.27 billion of West Virginia’s economy is peeled away by tourism, which helps employ 44,400 of the state’s roughly 1.8 million people. The state has a lot to offer no matter what travelers are searching for, and the tourism industry continues to grow.

Geology of West Virginia

The United States of America is known for its vast and dynamic variety of eye-catching landscapes especially those on Long Island. This is because the country is about 2,680 miles running east to west and 1,583 miles north to south. That’s a lot of land with a lot of geological history, but you can find a surprising amount of variety in just a single state. So what does the geology of West Virginia have to offer? Well, probably more than you think. Let’s start with a little history to show you how West Virginia came to be.

Nearly a billion years ago, the North American continent was one of several that slammed into one another to form a vast supercontinent called Rodina. This was the period of time during which the foundation of West Virginia’s crust formed. These collisions of such land masses caused a great deal of heat and pressure, which melted rock that was already there. Some of this material rocketed to the surface to form mountains, while some were thrust downward into the mantle of Earth. Mountains erode slowly over millions of years, exposing the rock that was once pushed upward. A great deal of granite, gneiss, and igneous rocks are abundant in the Blue Ridge Mountains today. It all began that long ago.

Once the continents that formed Rodina began to split apart again, a layer of basalt was deposited because of volcanic activity. We call this the Catoctin Formation. Around 600 million years ago, this formation lay on top of the mountains and valleys that had been created earlier.

That we can learn so much about a single rock formation is one of the appeals of geology. The tectonic activity helps shuffle nutrients and minerals necessary for life to flourish, as it soon would. Far atop the Catoctin formation is a sedimentary layer of marine deposits and small stones. These formed about 500 million years ago as a small sea swallowed what is today the entire state of West Virginia. Some of these rocks can still be found in deeper wells. Before the state finally rose above sea level just over 300 million years ago, the small layer of water left the Greenbrier Formation–limestone.  

Even after the sea was gone, West Virginia had transformed into a massive swamp. During this period, massive deposits of sandstone and shale resulted. The Appalachian Mountains begin to form around 250 million years ago, and in fact, most of the land within the state’s borders was slowly thrust skyward. As usual, when you have mountains you’re left with a period of erosion.

Unfortunately, the Mesozoic Era that ran from 225 to 66 million years ago didn’t leave any sedimentary rocks in West Virginia. This layer is where most dinosaur fossils are found around the world, but none were preserved here. There was volcanic activity in the areas surrounding the state, and up until only 100,000 years ago, glaciers covered the area. When they melted, lakes and rivers formed.