Thursday, July 31, 2008

Land of Canaan...

Went on the yearly pilgrimage to the high country of West Virginia for the Parsons Family Reunion. Crossed many rivers along the way and stopped to linger by the Cheat River in Holly Meadows, where the Parsons family settled centuries ago.

Most of the action was in Canaan Valley and the nation's 500th National Wildlife Refuge, where my 96 year old Aunt Virginia and cousin Sharon still reside. It's been the site of the reunion for decades. The reunion has always been a study in eating disorders, although the quality of the food has improved radically with the generational shift. No more multiple versions of meatloaf, fried chicken and baked beans. Those days are gone, thankfully.

We hiked some wonderful wilderness areas along the Blackwater River, which is one of the headwater tribs to the Monongahela River (via the Cheat). Canaan Valley is the largest alpine valley east of the Rockies.

Returned home to a muddy Delaware River that also spiked up several feet while we were away. August is the time for some local paddling and relaxation before an insanely busy September and October, where nearly every weekend will be consumed by various river-related activities including two courses I am developing and will be teaching for the Musconetcong Watershed Association and Delaware River Greenway Partnership. More to follow on that.