Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beartown Adventure

Today was a rare day. Robin and I went on a trip!  It was only a day trip (well, actually a six-hour trip, start to finish), but a trip nonetheless. And we went together, just the two of us...for fun! No visiting involved, or shopping, or appointments, just an outing together. We haven't done that in a very long time.

We left around 8:00 this morning (to say Robin is a morning person is an understatement!) to make the 70-mile drive to our destination.

 We traveled west to Monterey, then on to Frost and Marlinton, both in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. From Marlinton we headed south, past Pearl Buck's birthplace

and past Droop Mountain Battlefield,

both places we'd like to visit. But today's agenda held room for only one stop: Beartown!

Back in the fall of 2006, I accompanied the fifth grade from our elementary school on a field trip to Beartown. I was captivated by the wonder of it and have been trying to get Robin to go with me ever since. We finally  made it today, and I think he was duly impressed!

If you're not careful, you'll miss the turn-off. It's right in front of this little log church.

The one-lane road winds around for a mile and a half through privately-owned land, past houses and fields, and in and out of the woods.

At the end of the road is Beartown. You won't see much, just a very small parking area, a couple of picnic tables, and some rustic restrooms nestled among the trees. The sign says it's a "natural area." They're not kidding!!

There is a very cool water fountain, though. It's obviously connected to a well. It has a hand pump with some kind of nifty mechanism that keeps the water flowing through the drinking spout for a minute or two.

If it weren't for a sign or two, you would never know Beartown is there, and you would miss one of the wonders of God's creation. It's tucked away in a secluded spot, where most of the world will leave it alone. The folks who make their way here are always glad they did.

So, just what is Beartown, you might ask? It's a place where the earth has opened up it's soul, so we can see the struggles that went on there and how they've healed with the passage of time. In fact, the struggles are still going on, but so slowly we wouldn't notice much in our short lifetimes. Beartown is colossal rocks, trees both ancient and young, moss and ferns and silence, deep crevasses and hidey-holes of all sizes. It's primeval and serene and, well, almost holy.

To make this amazing place accessible for the average human, a sturdy and remarkable boardwalk has been constructed. Visitors simply follow the walk to take in all that Beartown has to offer. My photos don't do it justice, and I can't put all of them here, but maybe these will show you some of the wonders of this special place.

These are just a few of the couple hundred photos I took. I'd like to show you more, but there are just too many for this space.'ll have to go and see Beartown for yourself. It's a sweet natural wonder you don't want to miss!

After our adventure, we stopped for lunch on the way home. We tried to eat here...

but they were closed on Sundays. A nice lady walking down the street told us about a place called Dorrie's in Marlinton, so we headed there.

It turned out to be a nice, clean hometown restaurant, filled with diners on a lovely Sunday. The food and service were good, but the best part, for me at least, was this photo of Dorrie's mother on the wall.

Isn't she lovely? After finishing our lunch, we headed "back east" to Highland County, where the dogs were happy to see us. We hate to go off and leave them penned up, but we needed today, and it was very good indeed.