Today’s trail-work was concentrated on the Pine Run Cabin Area Trails. Two of the classic cabins are open in the winter months. Consequently, I have noticed that the robust folks who rent these cabins, at this time of year, are often hikers.
Pine Run Hiker Advantages
Subsequently, those staying in this area have access to a great number of trails without having to drive anywhere. Pine Run, Honeymoon, and TM Cheek trails all have trail-heads in the Pine Run Cabin Area. These trails also junction with trails that lead towards the Beaver Creek area, TM Cheek Overlook and the trails around Watoga Lake.
So today we cleaned up the Allegheny Trail to Honeymoon Trail. Meanwhile, after traipsing through the cabin area, continued clearing the Recreation and Laurel Trails. There are several trees down on these sections of trail. They will be cut with a chainsaw in the near future.
I find winter hiking to be enjoyable and possessing a beauty of its own. The lack of canopy opens up views that are hidden in the warmer months. As well, fewer people are on the trails so there is a greater sense of solitude.
Beauty of Solid Water
Plus, when water transitions from liquid to solid, the keen eye spots unique and ephemeral sculptures that may very well be seen by “your eyes only.” Something created just for you ! And you can’t beat that.
Join us for a spooky good time as we celebrate Halloween in the Campground October 26 & 27, 2018 in Watoga’s Riverside Campground. This is your chance to decorate your campsite and become the winner of our Halloween in the Campground Decorating Contest. Even more, everyone can take part in the trick-or-treat! Even those not staying in the campground are encouraged to participate in all activities including the trick or trunk or treat! Therefore, mMake sure you stop by campsite 15 on Saturday and see local residents Dustin and Devan Simmons, as they demonstrate how to make apple butter. You will also have a chance to help if you choose. There will also be samples for you to take home while they last.
Friday October 26
6PM Movie in the Campground: Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin
Bring a lawn chair or something else to sit on and join us at the Riverside Campground as we watch the family friendly movie “Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin.”
7 PM Movie in the Campground: Ghostbusters
Meet us for our second movie of the evening, as we watch the classic movie “Ghostbusters” on our inflatable screen. Be sure to bring something to sit on. Snacks will be provided.
9 PM Glow Walk
What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a Night Hike. We will hike to the light of glow sticks! Bring you glow sticks and join us by the check in station to help us light up the sky as we walk around the campground. Be sure to wear closed to shoes.
Saturday October 27
11 AM Campfire Cookery
Join us for some fun and fellowship at Riverside Campground behind the check-in station. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on as we cook up some goodies in a Dutch oven over a campfire. All ages are welcome. Samples of the pumpkin cobbler available!
2PM Pumpkin Carving and Decorating
Bring a pumpkin, have some fun with art and decorate your pumpkin with paint or by carving. We will provide carving tools and paint. Parents/guardians are asked to assist children in any way possible as they need. Pumpkins can then be taken back to be used for the evening activities.
5PM Halloween Costume Contest
Open to youth up to age 14, our Costume Contest will begin at the Gorup Campsite at the lower lot of Riverside. Prizes will be given to the best costumes as determined by our judges.
6PM Trick or Trunk or Treat
This activity is open to anyone young at heart who would like to participate whether camping, staying in a cabin or local to the area. If you are planning to hand out candy, please arrive at Riverside Campground between 4:30 and 5:30 pm. Once there, you will be given instructions as to where to park. We look forward to everyone partipating!
7:30 PM Ghost Stories, Spooky Tales, and S’mores
What would Halloween be without being able to hear some spooky ghost stories? Bring a lawn chair, a blanket, or something else to sit on. Come join us by the fire ring in the campground to listen to some ghost stories told by story tellers Cully McCurdy and Bugs Stover. Afterwards we will have the makings for s’mores!
It’s a great day of Music in the Park at the picnic shelter at Watoga State Park. The The Watoga Foundation supports this event and encourages you to enjoy listening to the following musicial artists at the picnic shelter in Watoga State Park
11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
Trevor Hammons – Bluegrass Pocahontas County native Trevor Hammons has made a name for himself in West Virginia, Virginia, and surrounding states. Trevor was also part of a band, “Mud Hole OUT of Control,” for 6 years. Having won many awards for his ability to play banjo, Trevor has some roots in bluegrass music that run deep. Accordingly, he released a CD with his former band in 2016, and has performed on various stages. Trevor can play with the best. He was born with an “old soul” that you definitely do not want to miss listening to.
12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Amy Andrews – Country Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, Amy Andrews is a wildly talented, charming, and award-winning artist known for brilliant performances, stunning vocals, unassuming charm on stage, and traveling the continent to perform gigs with her dog in tow.
In the last year alone, Amy has gone solo, received national press, chatted with the good folks of National Public Radio, and completed an international tour, sharing stages and opening for artists from Gregory Alan Isakov, Rose Cousins, Stu Larsen, Joseph Arthur, Glen Phillips and Toad the Wet Sprocket, Levi Lowrey and Clay Cook (of Zac Brown Band and John Mayer), and more.
This tree-hugging, ever-traveling, modern day torch-singer and songwriter is one you need to hear live!
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Rush Run Philharmonic – Americana An eclectic group of musicians occupying the hills and hollers of southern West Virginia, Rush Run Philharmonic plays music rich with harmonies. The band created their name based from the words“Rush Run,” a creek in West Virginia; and “Philharmonic,”a French word meaning the love of music and harmonies. Combining acoustic guitars, bass and vocals, the band interprets songs from artists such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Woody Guthrie, and many more. Rush Run weaves a harmonious musical trail through songs we all love.
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Phoenix Rising – Southern Rock Composed of mixed musicians who have played in various bands previously, they are rising from the ashes of those bands to bring one of the best in classic and southern rock in Pocahontas County. Having performed on various stages, Phoenix Rising can get the crowds going, and give you a performance you won’t forget.
Join the Watoga Foundation and the Watoga State Park staff for a great day of Music in the Park!
Watoga Trail Report June 28, 2018 Update. It felt wonderful to get back out Watoga’s trails. This morning ended a month- long convalescence from rib fractures sustained on the Bear Pen Loop. My dog Bongo felt it would be a good idea to go right back out on the same trail. Sort of a “get back in the saddle” suggestion. And, as usual, he was spot on. We cleaned all but 2 trees that will require another visit with rope and pulleys.
First Chanterelle of the Season!
Whilst working the Bear Pen Loop I found my first Chanterelle of the season up on the North Boundary Trail, and as a bonus came upon this trio of Quilted Russulas just a few yards on down the trail. Both of these species of mushrooms are about as flavorful a wild treat as one can find here in the Appalachians.
These delicacies are destined for a dish called a Spanish Tortilla, which has nothing to do with the flat corn Mexican tortilla associated with tacos. Instead, the Spanish tortilla is an egg, potato, cheese and mushroom dish cooked in a cast iron skillet. Don’t forget the wine Laura and Margot.
Yesterday in another part of the park Mark Mengele was transporting a work crew consisting of David Elliott, Ken Hiser and his friend Matt out the Ann Bailey Trail in Mark’s restored Dodge Power Wagon (sorry no pictures yet, hint, hint) to the Workman Cabin.
They spent the morning hours weed-eating the area around the cabin, and removing the large tree that had fallen across Rock Run in front of the cabin. David remarked that they “left a tidy mountain homestead for visiting hikers to enjoy”.
And that reminds me; we need to get down at the other end of Rock Run and clean up those nasty stinging nettles. Pity the poor hiker that heads up Jesse’s Cove with shorts on.
Finally, I ran into Mac Gray this morning on the entrance road involved in a worthy project: He is photographing all of Watoga’s cabins, inside and out. He is always thinking about something called “posterity”.
Well that’s the news from Lake Wobeg…., Whoops, I mean Watoga State Park.
Watoga State Park Foundation Inc News June 2, 2018. following the bi-monthly Watoga State Park Foundation Inc. board meeting held at 10 am on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at the Watoga State Park offices 4848 Watoga Park Rd, Marlinton, WV 24954.
After the usual minutes and reports, the board re-elected the current slate of officers for a new three year term.
President: John Goodwin Vice-President: Kenneth Springer Treasurer: Mac Gray Secretary: Maureen Conley
Wayne T Pollard of Beaver Creek Rd, just outside the Park became the Foundation’s newest member. Wayne retired from First Energy and values the park for preservation of the natural world for future generations.
Park visitors rented more cabins in May with 87 more rental nights than May, 2017.
The Workman Cabin, a historic structure located at the head of the Rock Run Watershed and close to the Old Growth Area manifests 2 important critical repair needs. A hole in the roof, caused by a fallen tree limb, needs repaired. And the bottom courses of logs need replaced and foundation needs shoring up. Additionally, the Foundation and Park are currently working with a grant, and this work needs to happen as soon as possible.
Additional Park Improvements
Watoga Superintendent Jody Spencer announced upcoming West Virginia Department of Highways (WVDOH) activity in and around Watoga. The Ann Bailey Road from the parking area out to the Ann Bailey lookout will be improved by WVDOH, as will the Laurel Run Rd from the end of Beaver Creek Rd to the Laurel Run Primitive Campground and Kennison Run Trailhead.
Upcoming improvements will also be made to the swimming pool and Riverside Campground. The cabin improvement project is nearing completion. All CCC era cabins are receiving renovations and improvements to increase their comfort and desirability.
The US Forest Service is funding restroom construction along the Allegheny Trail near the old air strip and Beaver Creek Campground. A wifi hotspot will be activated at the Beaver Creek check in station soon.
Naturalist Chris Bartley has a busy summer scheduled for Watoga. Look for another blog post about Naturalist activities.
Gail Hyre from Watoga Art in the Park visited the meeting to discuss this year’s program. The 2nd annual Watoga Art in the Park is to be held Sept 1 & 2, 2018 at Watoga State Park. https://watogaartinthepark.com/
New trail signs have come in and volunteer help would be welcomed to install the new trail signs.
“I finally got some spare time and the weather cooperated. So I spent Friday and most of Saturday doing some trail maintenance and cleanup projects in and around Watoga. Started out Friday morning clearing fallen trees from the landing strip at Beaver Creek. Then moved onto the Allegheny Trail. I removed fallen fallen trees on the mile and a half stretch of trail parallel to Chicken House Run Road.
Yesterday I was at Laurel Run campground. A couple of pine trees had fallen on campsite #9 sometime over the winter. I removed them and moved the slash out of the away of the campsite. After that went up I went up Kennison Run trail from the campground a mile with lopper’s cutting out saplings and undergrowth along the trail. Some of the creek crossings were a little tough to manage from recent heavy rains. A lot of debris had washed down and stream banks had eroded. Trail’s that follow creeks I guess have an ever changing landscape. There wasn’t any fallen trees to deal with as far as I got before deciding to turning back as a thunderstorm approached in the distance.
The blazes on both the Allegheny and Kennison Run Trails are in fair condition. Bboth could stand to be refreshed in a few locations. Fortunately both are yellow so I’ll add this to my list of things to do. I’ve never painted blazes of yellow circle’s on trees in the past. It’s been always 2 x 6 rectangles. Might take some practice. But maybe you can teach and old dog new tricks.”
Mark Mengele is continuing efforts to conduct a bird survey of the Rock Run watershed at Watoga State Park, also known as the Old Growth Area. The plan is to get experienced birders out there at various times of the year, and over the next couple of weeks they will be surveying breeding birds.
While the birds are breeding the plants and trees of Watoga are pursuing their single-minded agenda of reproduction. Fertility and distribution are a top priority for plant life at this time of the year. With that in mind today’s photographs take a close look at several prominent blooms with an unabashed look at their reproductive parts.
The ephemeral mountain laurel bloom so petite and beautiful looks like a hand painted porcelain miniature.
The flower of the blackberry offers promises of a seasonal flavor to grace our morning cereal, or in dishes with names like cobbler, pie, strudel, tart and turnover
The bloom of the tulip poplar is usually viewed high up in the tree, but this time brought down by wind and rain for a closer look.
Hiking allows us the opportunity to stop and take in the finer details of nature. There is not a better way to “be in the moment” than a hike in the woods.
Watoga State Park is offering Naturalist Activities throughout the 2018 Memorial Day Weekend. Join us!
Friday May 25, 2018
3 PM History Hike
Watoga has a long rich history even from the time before its official opening as a Park 80 years ago. Join Park Naturalist Christopher Bartley near Park Headquarters building for a 1.5 mile walk around the lake. Please wear closed toe shoes and bring along something to drink.
7 PM What’s Bugging You
Have you seen an insect that you never saw or one you did not know what it was? Meet us at the Nature Center located near the swimming pool park lot as we explore the insects we have around us. Afterward, we will look at our surroundings and see what tiny creatures we can find.
9 PM Float Your Boat
Cap the evening off with a peaceful and relaxing evening on the lake as we learn about nocturnal animals, park history, star gazing, and anything else you would like to talk about. You can choose to take a paddleboat out, or bring you own watercraft. Sign up and purchase a ticket in the main office for $5 per boat.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
1 PM Watoga Wildlife: Birds
Join Naturalist Chris Bartley at the Nature Center, located beside the Activities Building near the swimming pool parking lot and learn about our feathered friends that can be found in the area. You can also hear the different sounds that each bird makes and see if you can identify what each bird is. Kids can also make a fun craft.
3 PM Nest in Peace
Want to be able to attract song birds to the own backyard? Meet Naturalist Chris Barley by the Nature Center located near the Activities Building and Swimming Pool parking lot to build a bird house. Each kit is $10 and all materials are provided.
7 PM Campfire Cookery
Join Watoga staff for an evening of fun and fellowship at the Riverside Campground behind the check-in station. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on as we cook up some dessert in a Dutch over over a campfire. All ages are welcome and will be able to sample the banana bread we make.
9 PM Stories and S’mores
Wind down from the day and enjoy your time sitting around the campfire ring at Riverside Campground behind the check-in station. We will have marshmallows to roast and all the fixings to make s’mores. Campfire stories are encouraged as long as they are family friendly and appropriate.
Sunday May 27, 2018
11 AM Worship Service
Meet us at the Amphitheatre located behind the Activities Building near the Swimming Pool parking lot for a non-denominational worship service. In the event of rain we will relocate inside the Activities Building.
1 PM Watoga Wildlife: Salamanders
Join us at the Nature Center located beside the Activities Building near the swimming pool parking lot and learn about these snake-like amphibians with legs. Afterward, we will take a small walk to look for and identify the salamanders found in the area.
3 PM Tie Dye T-Shirts
Have some fun with art and make a keepsake to take home to remind you of your time here with a Watoga State Park Tie Dye T-Shirt. Please sign up in the main office and bring your ticket with you to the Activities Building. Cost of shirt will be $8 or $10 depending on size. Shirt sizes from Youth Small to Adult 3XL
7PM Family Movie Night
Join Park staff for a family fun evening at the Picnic Shelter area as we watch a family friendly movie on our inflatable movie screen. Be sure to bring a lawn chair or something to sit on. Popcorn will be provided.
9PM Owl Prowl
Meet Park staff at the Picnic Shelter area as we go on a short walk looking and listening for owls. We will be using different calls for each of the different species of owls in the area to entice these birds of prey to come in. Be sure to wear closed toe shoes.
For the last 21 years visitors to Watoga State Park have driven by Jack Horner’s Corner as they make their way through the village of Seebert, the gateway to the park and a major trailhead on the Greenbrier River Trail. Longtime visitors have observed the steady growth of the building and parking areas; the old building removed, decks added for dining with a view of the river and bike path. Horner’s Corner is strikingly colorful with stacks of kayaks, floatation devices and bicycles.
Stewart and Chrissie are at the helm of this growth, anticipating the needs of the community and the thousands of visitors who stop by every season, which for Horner’s corner is sometime in April until November. This large, well designed building houses a pizza and sub parlor, a huge array of souvenirs touting Watoga State Park and the Greenbrier River Trail as well as basic groceries and drinks.
Kayak Rental and more…
You can stop in to rent a kayak for a river trip on the Greenbrier River and arrange a shuttle. The same service is offered for those wishing to ride a bike on the 80 mile Greenbrier River Trail.
Their ice cream cones have become legendary; I have never been in there in the summer months without a queue waiting for a cool treat. One chap who wanted to remain anonymous told me he cannot go past the place without getting an ice cream cone. OK you have twisted my arm; it is Mac Gray. Mac lives just a few doors down so that amounts to a heck of a lot of ice cream. Sorry Mac, I am terrible at keeping my sources confidential.
Consider the trails currently existing in Watoga State Park. Some of these are assumed from existing pioneer trails. And those early but historical trails may have been appropriated from trails trod by the ancients. We now call them Native Americans. After all, the terrain forces us to take the path of least resistance. So it is reasonable to assume that there is a certain logic to the path one takes to get from one place to another. Trails were important to ancient people for hunting, trade, socializing and annual migrations.
So I was not surprised when I found an arrowhead on Monongaseneka Trail recently. Finding an arrowhead is a singularly profound experience. Consider the last human to touch it was an Indian who lived and hunted in these mountains hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. So, what can we infer about this person by the artifact that he left behind?
Details of the Found Arrowhead
We may be able to determine an approximation of the age of the point by the material it is made of and its design. This point is a stemmed point referring to the square elongation at its base. The color and quality of the flint suggest it may have come from flint found in the Lewisburg area. And finally the design indicates it may be Archaic, a group of Native Americans who lived in settlements in our area in the period from 9000 BC to 4500 BC. An archaeologist or a collector may have more accurate information. But it is probably not a tool that belonged to historic native groups, such as Shawnee.
Is it truly an arrowhead ? Was it attached to an arrow shaft and shot from a bow? Probably not. Only a small percentage of flint points were used on arrows. Furthermore, it was not until about 1400 years ago when the bow and arrow found its way to the western hemisphere.
Flint points were manufactured for a variety of uses including scrapers, knives, bow drills for making fires and drilling holes, and for spears. This point may have been a spear point, meaning it is attached to a wooden shaft and cast using a spear thrower called an atlatl.
This fine point is on display at the Watoga Nature Center. It is a reminder of the people of many purposes, languages and customs who traversed these same mountain trails that we do to this very day.
It goes without saying that the removal of any historic or prehistoric artifact in any West Virginia State Park is unlawful and deprives the public of its cultural value.
Here is a listing of Watoga Events 2018. Fun for your and your family!
Watoga will host their second annual geocache weekend, with over 25 geocaches currently hidden, and at least 20 more hidden throughout the park. Many will have a first to find prize, and all will be available on the geocaching website. If you would like to input coordinates manually into a GPS, we will have those available in the main office. Come enjoy your time at the park exploring, hiking along the trails, and having fun geocaching. Call the park today at (304) 799-4087 to rent a cabin for the weekend to find all the geocaches hidden, and see what Watoga has to offer!
Kid’s Fishing Derby
Calling all anglers 13 and younger! Watoga will be hosting their annual Kid’s Fishing Derby again this year. The fishing derby will begin at 10:00am, with registration starting at 9:30am at the swimming pool parking lot, which is walking distance from where the derby will be held. Fishing derby will conclude at 1:00pm with awards and certificates being distributed shortly after. For more information, please contact the park at (304) 799-4087.
National Trails Day
Come and enjoy any of our 40+ miles of hiking trails available in the park. On this day, we will lead a hike to the Ann Bailey watchtower. This guided hike will begin at 9:00 am meeting at the Ann Bailey trailhead. Please plan to bring water, a packed lunch/snacks, and wear closed-toed shoes. For additional information and to make reservations, be sure to call the park main office.
Watoga State Park is pleased to welcome back the Three Rivers Avian Center to the Recreation Building. There will be a presentation beginning at 7:00pm with live birds of prey, including owls, hawks, and eagles. Join us for an evening event that will be fun for all ages. Be sure to reserve your cabin today for this event!
Back to School Bash and Pool Party
As we get closer to the end of summer, it’s time to have one last bit of fun in the sun before school starts. Come join us by the pool as we soak in the rays from 1:00pm – 6:00pm Music, games, food and drinks, and giveaway prizes are just some of the fun in store. For more information and to make cabin or campground reservations, please contact the park at (304) 799-4087.
Watoga Mountain Trail Challenge Races
With two different races, the Mountain Trails Challenge is a great way to see the trails at Watoga. The races consist of a challenging 5K and a Half Marathon. The 5K is a great introduction to trail running. The Half Marathon is a great challenge for even the most avid runner. Both races will begin at 8:30am, and will leave from the Beaver Creek Campground check-in station. This event is sponsored by the Watoga State Park Foundation. For more information, and to see a map of the race course, please visit the official website www.watogafoundation.org/race. Call the park office today to make your reservations for your cabin or campsite!
Disk Golf Tournament
Grab your Frisbees and head over to the first Disc Golf Tournament being held at the park. Our nine hole course is nestled in the woods, and is sure to challenge any team. Registration will begin at 9:00am, with the tournament beginning at 10:00am. For more information, please contact the park at (304) 799-4087
Watoga will once again host their Art in the Park Festival weekend. This weekend will feature lots of arts and crafts from juried artists. From live demonstrations, music, art for sale, food, and an area for the kids, there is something for everyone! The event will be held at the Picnic Shelter area. For more information about the event, please visit the official Facebook page. Call today to reserve your cabin for this fantastic event at (304) 799-4087.