West Virginia: Alum Creek Cave

The weekend before last, Chelsea and I went away for a kid-free weekend trip. Going away in early February has become something of a tradition for us – we have gone away between January 15th and February 15th without the kids in four of the last five years.

Chelsea rented a cabin for us just outside the college town of Elkins, West Virginia, which was about a six-hour drive from home. I took vacation days on Friday and Monday so we could enjoy a proper long weekend. We got down there late Friday evening – took a while to get out – and had a great dinner along the way at Lost River Brewing Company, an ambitious little brewpub along the two-lane highway out in the wilderness. It was a good omen for the rest of the trip.

Saturday morning, we woke up and went into town for brunch and a little shopping. One of the shopkeepers recommended a hiking trail to us, so we spent a quietly rainy afternoon in Audra State Park, about 10 miles (16 km) west of Elkins. The main attraction at Audra is the Alum Creek Cave hiking trail, which takes you over and then through a beautiful cave that overlooks the brilliant blue creek.




We stopped mid-hike for a snack break underneath an outcropping, which sheltered us from the steady rain.


The water in the creek really looked like it was piped in from the Caribbean Sea:


We have no idea why it looked like that – maybe some minerals in the water.

Soon enough we reached the cave, which had a wonderful boardwalk tracing through:




This was actually the only cave we would get to see in West Virginia – all of the underground caves are closed right now in an effort to protect the hibernating bats from a fungal infection that is devastating the bat population on the East Coast.

Tomorrow: A mystery contraption.

Winter moon

I was out driving the other night, just running errands, when this scene stopped me in my tracks:


Just lovely. Thank goodness I was in an empty parking lot. If I’d been on the road I would have caused an accident.

Happy weekend!

Sleeping in disguise

Maria borrowed my camera the other night, and caught a couple of very funny pictures of Anna, who had fallen asleep with disguise glasses on her face:




Who was that mustachioed girl?

Waiting for the bus

Sometimes, when I go walking in the morning, I end up running into the kids at their bus stop. They are in various stages of being awake:





Anna is the clear early riser of the group:


They hop on the bus, I skip my way home, and we all go on to our days.


It’s a nice treat when it works out.