Parsons, WV

Almost heaven is right.

If heaven was heavily laden with racism flags. And no, I don’t wanna hear about your ‘heritage’. If you’re flying a Confederate flag, I know what your heritage is.

But other than the Confederate rags and Trump flags, West Virginia is a panty droppingly beautiful place.

I never dropped panties. That isn’t my style. But I did get down to the bare minimum to swim in a West Virginia waterfall post trail run one Saturday. The waterfall may have been gushing poison mine water. Because West Virginia is a whole bunch of old mines and currently active mines and also possibly some actual land mines? But so far I’m still alive.

Yes, as in actual live munitions. Strewn about the landscape of West Virginia. Ok, so mostly up in the Dolly Sods Wildernessmess.

Dolly Sods wasn’t all left over people killing bombs. It was also bomb views. And also a whole lotta mud and nasty trail. We spent 6 hours on a Sunday hiking 15 miles to and from Lion’s Head Knob. And by ‘hiking’ I mean mud-slogging. It was a long day.

Lucky for us, the town of Davis was placed conveniently between our campground and Dolly Sods. More convenient was that Davis hosts an ice cream shop. Most conveniently, was that the ice cream shop was open, fully masked up, and practicing COVID-19 style social distancing protocols. We stopped for ice cream on multiple weekends. Because, well, we hiked every weekend we were in the area. And two of the hikes had us driving past the open, masked up, socially distanced, very tasty ice cream shop.

Being that the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to be, we continued to participate in activities we consider safe for us – and for others. Who knows what the hell we’ve picked up – and who the hell we might give it to. So, that mostly left hiking. And running. And chilling outside with Lucy.

We did a lot of hiking and trail running during our 22 days in West Virginia. Along with traipsing through the mud at Dolly Sods, we hiked up to the highest point in West Virginia.

And then we got ice cream.

We trail ran through the Otter Creek Wilderness, which was a surprise of a lovely trail. It was also only 15 minutes away from our campground. Which meant a quick drive without as much potential for car sickness as normal drives to a hike. But, also meant we didn’t pass the Davis ice cream shop.

So, less barf, less ice cream.

Did I mention that West Virginia roads are insane?

West Virginia roads are insane.

And beautiful.

But also insane.

Weekend after weekend we still chose to drive them in order to transport ourselves to new versions of West Virginia epicness in the form of trails.

We found ourselves in Thomas, WV one Saturday afternoon, running along the Black Water Canyon Trail. It was smooth and lovely. And its where we found the aforementioned Douglas Waterfall (of possible poison water). After a 10 miler on the Black Water Canyon Trail, followed by swimming in Douglas Falls, we popped into the town of Thomas for a masked up visit to grab a coffee from the local coffee shop. Thomas was adorable – but very closed. Which was fine. There is a virus going on.

We also did things that weren’t hiking or trail running.

Like regular running. From our campground. On the Allegheny Highlands Trail. Which was only a hop-skip-jog through the small town of Parsons, WV where we parked Dyna for the almost-a-month.

The Allegheny Highlands Trails was nice. Much of the portions we ran were paved. In one direction you ran past the Kingsford charcoal factory, which was weirdly neat. Also, had no idea that Henry Ford started Kingsford charcoal. That guy was making some serious moves in the early nineteen hundreds.

The Allegheny Highlands Trail also happened to run past McDonald’s. We do not, as almost a rule, do McDonald’s. COVID-19, however, has had us bending and breaking many of our self-imposed ‘rules’. And suddenly, McDonald’s became a weekly trip. It’s open. And it’s got a drive thru. And it’s not home cooked frozen vegetable or freezer pizza. Actually, it’s totally McFlurries and DAMN those things are GOOD. Why was I actively choosing to live without McFlurries? What the bejesus?

So, yeah. McDonalds.

Parsons also featured a small grocery store. Which was fully stocked with toilet paper! And not just any toilet paper… Dyna APPROVED toilet paper! Scott: The shit ticket of choice when living in a mobile house with a very poop pyramid prone fecal holding tank. The store didn’t feature much else that we typically desire (vegetarian proteins, fresh fruit). But by glory they had toilet paper!

Other than a conveniently located post office and a pizza shop that offered take-out, there wasn’t much else going on in Parson’s while we were in the area.

We set-up house at Five River Campground.

It’s a very friendly place, but the neighbors’ house features a dog that like to croon all night long, every single night of the week. And by croon, I completely mean bark their damned dog heads off. I vote for cats. Cats don’t bark all night every night so that you can’t sleep unless you wear ear plugs and employ a sound machine. And while I love the sound of rain, it does get old listening to the same drip-drops sound every night on repeat so that you can maybe not be woken up by rude ass dogs.

Speaking of cats… Lucy really enjoyed Five River Campground. She roamed about near Dyna most days, wandering a bit too far and getting stuck behind a black-out fence one morning. We found her, and I crawled through some poison oak to retrieve her sorry cat butt. And now I have poison oak on my leg. But I also have my cat back – the cat who does not bark – so it’s cool.

Lucy took up ‘running’ while at Five River. And by running, I mean she has decided to ambulate everywhere in a hopping, wiggling, belly swaying back and forth fashion. It’s really great.

It wasn’t really great when we got neighbors in the site next to us one weekend. Mostly because we had been spoiled and had at least 3 spots of space between ourselves and any other guests for nearly our entire stay prior to the RV neighbor arrival. But also not great because holy heck Five Rivers packs em’ in for being a grass bottomed campground.

But, that’s life when you don’t own your own land. You gotta deal with the barking dogs and the too close new weekend only neighbors.

We rolled out of West Virginia, headed to Maryland, on winding, hilly roads. Dyna isn’t made for these West Virginia roads, but she managed. She’s good like that.

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