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. 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.

Tourist Attractions in West Virginia

West Virginia is home to some of the greatest parks, wildlife refuges, tourist centers, and historical landmarks in the country, and any visit is sure to be breathtaking. No matter what time of year you visit, we’re sure you won’t want to leave anytime soon. Spring and summer are inviting for all the right reasons, and an autumn visit will leave you stunned at the great color and variety. Here are some of the best tourist attractions that West Virginia offers.

No visit is complete without an outdoors visit to the ironically named New River Gorge, where you’ll find a stunning river vista. It’s one of the oldest free-flowing rivers in North America. The water comes down from the Appalachian Plateau, carving out a great geographical treat appropriate for white water rafting, tubing, and kayaking. You’ll have plenty of other options as well: fish, hike, or take a zipline through the gorge. The bridge above is the longest steel span in the northern hemisphere, and the third highest in the United States.

Sometimes it feels like we have every nook and cranny of this world explored, but that’s completely inaccurate. We haven’t explored a fraction of the ocean floors, nor have we discovered even remotely close to every corner or the caverns just beneath us. The limestone bed that helped form the Seneca Caverns will surprise and delight you. You can join a guided tour if you’re brave enough to explore the slippery depths 165 feet below.

In Davis, West Virginia you’ll find Blackwater Falls, Elakala Falls, and Pendleton Falls, all of which provide unbeatable sights. In some places there are fishing, swimming, and camping options available. The Blackwater River flows through an eight mile gorge that you can hike to or look out over using the viewing platforms available for sightseers.

If you’re in the mood for unforgettable history, head on over to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. It’s located in a small community alongside the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, where you can get up to speed on the events that preceded the opening volleys of the Civil War. This is where John Brown attacked the United States arsenal soon before in 1859.

The citizens of West Virginia will welcome you with open arms, and you’ll notice that their entrepreneurial and commercial spirit is infused with southern hospitality you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re looking for a great time with great places, people, and food without the need to break the bank, then West Virginia should be your next stop!

Colleges and Universities in West Virginia

There’s a lot to consider when deciding which college or university is best for you. No matter what you might want in the perfect college, West Virginia is a great place to look. The state is home to great outdoors adventures, great destinations and landmarks, and great history–and its residents know how to have a great time while they provide a dash of southern hospitality, too. If you’re ready to bring your education to the next level while you have the time of your life, then read on to discover some of the best colleges and universities in West Virginia.

If you’re looking for a small school, then you could do no better than Alderson Broaddus University. This selective private school has only just under 1,000 undergraduates studying on a 170 acre campus and has been around since 1871. When you’re in the area, you can scout out the popular Philippi bridge, visit the Barbour County Historical Museum, or hike in the Audra State Park.

If you’d like to be part of a bigger crowd, then check out Marshall University. It has just under 10,000 undergraduates who all enjoy the city-like environment. The size helps reduce the cost substantially, and Virginia residents will pay only $7,798 in tuition without financial assistance. Catch a game at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium, explore Ritter Park, or catch a ride on the New River Train. If you’re looking for a spiritual experience, head to St. Joseph’s Church. If you’re more in the mood for the arts, then explore the venue at Keith Albee Performing Arts Center.

There are only just over 400 undergraduates at the tiny Ohio Valley University, but that just means you’ll have a small community of friends who you’ll consider family, and everyone will know everyone. If that sounds like a great fit for you, then check out this liberal arts paradise. Ohio Valley University is located near all sorts of fun outdoor activities that will keep you occupied. If you want a nice autumn treat, grab a chocolate or caramel covered candy apple at Holl’s Swiss Chocolatier. Do some shopping at the conveniently located Grand Central Mall if you’re in the mood. Go for a run in the McDonough Wildlife Refuge or walk in Jackson Park.

Even the best schools in West Virginia might have an unfortunate reputation. West Virginia University has been ranked as one of the top party schools in America because of the number of students partaking in drugs and alcohol, but that doesn’t make a dent in the other factors that make it a great choice. It scores high in academics, and was ranked with high grades for diversity, athletics, campus atmosphere, and value by Niche.

What are you waiting for? Schedule a visit to a West Virginia college or university today!

Take a look at the exciting times at WVU in this video:

Five Best Hiking Trail Views

Five Best Hiking Trail Views

No shock to anyone, the mountain state has no shortage of high peaks with incredible views. The Appalachian Mountains provide the state of West Virginia with great hiking trails with a reward at the end. That is, if you can see the view through the thick foliage of the state.

Gotowv.com, the state’s official resource site for tourists, ranked the five best views in their state.

  1. Overlook Rock Trail, Kanawha State Forest

This trail is located just on the outside of West Virginia’s largest city, Charleston. The 1.5-mile one-way route is covered in mossy rocks, thick trees, and bubbling streams. When you reach the top of the trail, the trees will open and you will see a spectacular view of the hills that surround Charleston city.

  1. Long Point Trail, New River Gorge

The Long Point Trail in Fayetteville County’s New River Gorge National River is not known for its peak; after all, it is a gorge. The 1.6-mile hike leads you to the tip of a rocky peninsula. The peninsula overlooks New River and Wolf Creek and hundred-foot sandstone cliffs the jet out in three directions. When you reach the edge, you will also see the New River Gorge Bridge. This makes for a nice twist of nature meets man made materials.

The return hike splits into dozens of mini trails. Some of these trails lead to abandoned mining towns, Fayetteville Town Park, and other little streams and waterfalls.

  1. High Knob Fire Tower, Brandywine Recreation Arena

The High Knob Fire Tower is located right on the border of West Virginia and Virginia in the George Washington National Forest. The Brandywine Recreation Area features various lakes, developed camping, and the Saw Mill Loop Trail. The recreation area also features a 3-mile 650-foot climb to the High Knob Fire Tower.

Once you reach the top of the trail, the trees will open up into a meadow. You can proceed to climb the High Knob Fire Tower. The tower will give you a 360-degree view over two state borders.

  1. Raven Rock Trail, Coopers Rock State Forest

Coopers Rock State Forest is just outside of the college town of Morgantown and features mountain biking, camping, and rock climbing on the rim of Cheat River Canyon. For the best views, take the 1.5-mile hike to the edge of the peak that overlooks Cheat Lake.

  1. Dolly Sods, Monongahela National Forest

The 17,000-acre in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is home to 50 miles of trails and it can take hikers multiple days to finish. Some of the best views in the state are hidden in this area of the vast mountain ranges of West Virginia.

Tips for Winter Hiking

Many people limit their outdoor activities in the winter to the likes of ice skating, skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding. But, as far as hiking is concerned, a lot of people are content to pack up the boots and retire the backpacks until the snow melts. However, there is still plenty of appeal to winter hiking. For one, crowds are much more sparse, making it much easier to appreciate the environment around you and feel like you’ve truly “gotten away.” And two, there’s something magical and serene about hiking on a trail after a fresh snowfall. As long as you know how to go about being safe in the colder climate, hiking in the winter can be arguably just as enjoyable as any other season.

Looking out for your safety and the safety of those with you is always a number one priority when it comes to hiking, and even moreso in the winter time. And one of the primary ways to do that is by having proper equipment. Adapting to winter conditions while hiking requires a whole new repertoire. For one, dressing appropriately is more important than ever. Layers are key, and many advise the following: a base layer to wick moisture off your body and prevent evaporative cooling, thus keeping you dry, fleece for insulation and preservation of body heat, and an outer shell that shields you from elements such as wind, rain and (since you’ll be hiking in the winter) likely snow. Remember, this isn’t a stroll down the sidewalk. A simple winter coat may not be enough during the prolonged exposure. It may be meant as a fun excursion, but the need for protecting yourself from the elements during a winter hike is still very real. It is also recommended you familiarize yourself with crampons and how to put them on, along with the more critical supplies such as a First Aid kit, compass, trail map, hiking poles, a multitool or pocket knife, and sources of both heat and light. Emergency equipment such as heavy sleeping bags or bivy sacks are certainly not the worst idea either, should you be forced to spend an unexpected night outside. Account also for some source of hydration. Becoming dehydrated even in the cold is a surprisingly common concern. Recommend packing a thermos or portable stove to heat water.

If you are starting out in the world of winter hiking, be reasonable with your limits. Even experienced summer hikers may find winter hiking to be a whole other animal. Trudging through a snow-laden path that is several miles long is not the same as walking that same path on a clear, summer morning, so be encouraged to plan for a shorter trip to acclimate yourself. It is also important to account for the shorter period of sunlight, so starting early in the morning is advisable as well. And as always, traveling in a group is much safer than traveling alone, especially if the worst should happen while you’re out. A lack of crowds does make winter hiking more appealing, but being completely alone can still be very dangerous. Even better if someone you are with is an experienced winter hiker in their own right.

Last but certainly not least, be prepared. Not just physically with your supplies and gear. Be prepared for what is to come. Check weather conditions before setting out, gain insight on the trail itself if you are able. Because of the drastic change in weather conditions between summer and winter, there are many more factors to account for. Beyond it just being colder, the threat of avalanches and whiteout conditions are real possibilities. Fortune also does not necessarily favor the bold. If conditions worsen while you are out, do not hesitate to turn around and head back to the trail head as soon as you can. The mountain and the trails will still be there even after inclement weather. There is no need to take such risks.