This past weekend I adventured into close and distant lands.
Saturday after noon saw me at Passage Creek in George Washington National Forest with our incredible rock-climbing husky, Leia. She did well and seemed to relish the opportunity to be out in the wild, until her paws were so wet it was difficult for her to be stable on the many, many rocks.
The sweet thing about this area is that it's less than ten minutes from my house. Before I know it, I am surrounded by nature at it's best out here--mountains, rocks, gorges, streams and trees--and the cares of the world fall into nothingness. Heading out to GW gave me a lot of peace this weekend. I see this becoming a ritual, a regular part of my weekends. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries stocks the creek with Trout, as with many other inland Virginia waters, and is an angler's paridise.
I am really pleased with how familiar I am becoming with our area. It's starting to feel like home. Just this week I learned that our road continues to loop around down to the Shenandoah River where it meets the same Passage Creek mentioned above and heads back out to the main road. I had initially thought this area was private property, because like every tree is posted, but alas, it is not. There is also a local gunsmith on the road, whose services may come in handy if the SHTF really, really bad.
On Sunday, we took a jaunt after Mass in Winchester to Berkeley Springs. It was a fun ride, and while the town is scenic and the State Park in the middle of town is really cool and has a great feel to it, the rest of the experience in terms of the town was a bit of a let down. Berkeley Springs is an odd mix of New Agers and WV rednecks who cater to the D.C. elite class who travel there for a spa experience. It's just bizarre.
The finale to this whole experience came just as we were leaving. We were parked in front of the New Age store, Portals, and this dude was out there meditating and carrying on a conversation with another seeker on the sidewalk. He was sitting inside a copper atom. Yes, an atom. Picture copper tubing in the shape of helixes welded together and this hilariously goofy bearded guy sitting on an undersized black pillow, with a blissful smile on his face. My wife made the mistake of looking at him too long while walking by to check out a shop before we left, and he responded, "You can sit down, if you like." LOL. This was so great. She was laughing, and politely responded, "No thank you" while I continued to put the kiddos in the car. I don't think I will ever think of Berkeley Springs in the same way again.
After we left, and continued to laugh about our friend in the atom, I decided to take the scenic route back home, which was the best idea I had all day. We took 127 (from 522) to 50, and then 29 South down to 55 and then back East over to Strasburg. West Virginia gets a lot of flack for being hill-billy, but the drive was incredibly breathtaking, some of the most beautiful country I've seen in a long, long time. 127 takes you up into the mountains, through hollers and river glades punctuated by old stone farm houses and stunning vistas. The trek down 29 follows North River through a scenic valley for miles. It is nearly entirely unpopulated except for farm houses here and there, and you just keep going.
Finally, you meet up with Lost River, another anglers' paradise, situated at the base of tall, winding mountains. The effect is just boss. Before we entered Wardensville, I got out at the summit of one mountain to snap a few photos, which will be forthcoming, and you just feel powerful out there with both feet on the ground.
Just as we crossed the state line in VA, Clare spotted a water bottle filling operation at a natural spring at the top of the mountains. We doubled back and this hilarious older Asian couple were filling at least 30 5-gallon jugs at the spring. They were happy to help me fill our water bottles and were entirely amused when I bowed and said thank you in Chinese. They thought that was cool and let me know they were Korean.
We got back home and there was still plenty of light on this perfect Spring day. Through the trees at the rear of our property the tall sillouhette of Signal Knob and Fort Valley can be clearly seen with the sun setting over them. It is such a blessing to be living out here. Thank you God for that grace. We all were outside walking around and just enjoying the beautiful cool weather. I can't imagine any other life than this one, as it is so satisfying to be our here in nature's glen.
So that's about it for now. Another week begins tomorrow. If it goes as fast as last week did, it will be Saturday before you know it.
Thanks for reading. Peace out, yo's.