Thursday, May 5, 2011

West Virginia: Wild and Wonderful part 2

the overlook at coopers rock

 Well, once again it was time to head to West Virginia, duty called. My little sis needed a ride home from college. So I headed out about 4 am on Tuesday morning. I was headed for Coopers Rock State Park, which is on the way to West Virginia Wesleyan college where my sister was waiting. I only had about 2 hours sleep so I decided to stop at a rest stop and sleep for about an hour. I quickly found out that I stopped 1 exit from the park. The regret subsided shortly after I began running. Last time I ran here I brought my phone to take pictures, I decided to leave it this time due to the fact that last time photography slowed my run down considerably, equalling less distance covered and less of the park enjoyed. This is a decision that I would and still do, and may always regret not bringing it.

Cheat River
         I arrived at the parking lot so tired it felt like my face was swollen and like I just got punched. So I did what any respectable trail runner would do,  got dressed, filled my fuel belt and headed onto the XC ski trail. My plan was to head to Clay Furnace and link up to Scotts Run to create a loop and see where that gets me. I was feeling very stiff and sluggish, but i pressed on. Once I got onto the Clay Furnace trail this feeling went away. At this point I am kicking fast on this 2 mile down hill. The trail had nice flow while being rocky and technical(maybe that is where I preform better on rocky and technical, probably because I learned how to run trails in Little ROCK). Now for the camera regret, here I am kicking hard and fast with extreme concentration I was hitting 7 to 7:21 minute miles, then BOOM, my brain kicked in with a thought, STOP, Quickly following with JUMP UP AND BACK. I abruptly did so and figured out why my brain put me in this stressful contortion. What I found in front of me was a sun bather, not a nude human being stretched out on the trail, more of the dangerous venomous type of sun bather. Respectfully I backed up slowly to drink in what was placed in front of me. I was faced with a beautiful four and a half foot timber rattlesnake. Luckily the snake allowed me to get closer and have a look. I have never seen a rattlesnake up close in the wild. Needless to say I was very excited, promptly followed by a sad feeling. Of course I did not bring my phone, then oh sh%*, what if.... I don't want to think about that 2 mile uphill hike back to the car with a rattlesnake bite. Thankfully this was not the case. After a 15 or 20 minute stand off he let me by, but not without letting me know that he was still there and he is the boss. He slithered up 2 feet off the trail and turned around to face me in a slightly defensive position.

      The rest of the run was more alert than normal but awesome. I had no specific direction in which I was traveling, I went for the steepest trails, they usually bring you to the best parts of a park. I descended down to Cheat Lake, then climbed back up and then farther about 1500 feet over 2 1/2 miles. I ended up making a lollipop with a big loop on the end of the stick. Included in the run were; overlooks, small waterfalls, lakes, grueling climbs, fast flowing downhills, rattlesnakes, and vibrant green foliage, All in two and a half hours. What a day! After aiding my sick sister with moving her into a storage unit I rewarded my self with some good brews from Mountain State Brewing Company, Magic Hat, and Rogue and I pared that with what Allburgars restaurant called the sunny side up burger.

On our way home we stopped back at the park to take pictures at the overlook so I hope you enjoy the pics.

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