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All cleaned up in the driveway. 

It won't stay clean for long, though.

 

 

Looking For WV Fall Colors

 

In Our New

Subaru Forester

 

 

 

 

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Exploring Dolly Sods WV.

The All-Wheel-Drive and high clearance made this easy. 

 

In October, we decided it was time to get a second car.  Our trusty 2013 KIA Soul is approaching 90,000 miles.  It still runs like new, but since we are now both "Retired" and will be doing more traveling, we wanted a reliable car for long trips.  After looking at about 8 or 10 different vehicles, we both fell in love with the new 2019 Subaru Forester.  It's a completely new model this year, but very similar to previous ones.  We like that it has HUGE windows for great visibility in all directions,  very roomy back seat and cargo area, Subaru's great All Wheel Drive system, almost 9 inches of ground clearance.  Of course, the fact that it is quiet, smooth, and comfortable is icing on the cake.  We have friends with over 200,000 miles on their Subarus. And, the first 3 weeks and 800 miles it has averaged 30 MPG in mixed city and mountain 2-lane driving.  We got the base model without any of the fancy stuff (no leather, no sunroof), but it is still very well equipped.  So far, so good!  Let's go look for some fall colors!

 

Contents:

 

Cooper's Rock - October 19

Cooper's Rock - October 22

Grant / Pendleton Counties - October 23

Cooper's Rock - October 30  (Best Colors!)

 

 

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Why I Get Up At 5am To Go Take Photos

 

 

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Cooper's Rock

 

OCTOBER 19

 

 

Cooper's Rock State Forest is located about 15 miles east of Morgantown. It's quite popular with locals and tourists alike.

There is a large rock that is used as the observation deck,  overlooking the Cheat River hundreds of feet below. 

 

I like to drive out while it's still dark and set up my camera and folding chair on the rock.

It is especially peaceful and incredible when I am the only one out there, watching the day come alive!

 

 

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Still dark, but the first signs of light are coming from the distance.

The fog is rolling down the valley.

 

 

 

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The main observation area, looking west towards Morgantown.

 

 

 

 

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Getting a little lighter now.  Looking towards Morgantown. 

 

 

 

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The fog is really coming in now. It's pouring over the top of the one hill in the distance.

 

 

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Sunrise - the first beams of sunlight trickle through the trees above one of the observation areas. 

Compare the colors here with the same photo a week later. (Last segment)

 

 

 

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The fog shrouds the trees on the hillside across from the observation area.

 

 

 

Cooper's Rock

 

OCTOBER 22

 

I came out again this morning since the skies were clear.

Once again, I had the rocks all to myself for several hours.

 

 

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Look closely.

The railing of the observation deck is visible at the bottom of the photo.

The stars are visible in the sky.  It was a clear (and cold!) morning. 

 

 

 

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So relaxing - sitting out here miles from anyone, watching the day come alive!

First bit of light starting to appear on the horizon.  Sunrise is still a half hour away.

 

 

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View of the walkway out to the observation area.

 

 

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Another view of the main observation area. 

 

 

 

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Just before sunrise.  Some leaves are starting to turn. 

You can see the Cheat River far below.

 

 

 

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First sunlight of the day peeking through the trees. 

 

 

 

Grant County / Pendleton County

 

OCTOBER 23

 

I drove down to Petersburg to clean up our family cemetery at the old farm. 

My grand-parents and great-grand-parents are buried there.

I took the round-about route to look for fall colors.

 

 

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The family cemetery on a hill above the old farm.

 

 

 

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After finishing at the cemetery, I circled around by South Mill Creek Road towards Dorcas.

Nice to see the fields with hay cut and ready for winter.

 

 

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I followed South Mill Creek Road (CR9) south towards Mozer and Kline.

 

 

 

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I've always enjoyed riding/driving down South Mill Creek Road.

 

 

 

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Mill Creek at Kline. 

 

 

 

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A farm between Kline and Upper Tract.

 

 

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When I got to Upper Tract I headed south on Rt 220.

My plan was to go to Franklin and take Rt 33 west over Germany Valley.

However, at Ruddle, I detoured onto Hammer Run Road (CR10) towards Reed's Creek Fish Hatchery.

 

 

 

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Just before the hatchery, I headed south on Reed's Creek Road (CR8).

It's like stepping back in time 50 years.  Beautiful and peaceful farms. 

 

 

 

 

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Another view on Reed's Creek Road.

I love these narrow back-roads.

 

 

 

 

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I came over a small hill and saw these sheep ahead. 

 

 

 

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Take my picture, take my picture!!!! 

 

 

 

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Soon, I was back out on Rt 33 and heading over to the Germany Valley overlook.

Spruce Knob is in the far distance.  This is one of my favorite overlooks in the state.

 

 

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Panorama from the Germany Valley overlook.

 

 

 

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Just below the overlook, I turned onto Bland Hills Road for a scenic shortcut to Riverton.

Peaceful setting with the cows grazing on this hilltop field.

 

 

 

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As I came around one corner, I could see through this pass to the rocks above Riverton.

We will be driving right by them shortly.

 

 

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One of many scenic vistas along Bland Hills Road. 

 

 

 

 

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The colors were pretty nice here.

 

 

 

 

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Close-up of the barn in the previous photo.

 

 

 

 

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Getting closer to the rocks at Riverton.

 

 

 

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This farmer was cutting and raking hay for the winter. 

 

 

 

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Coming up on those rocks above Riverton that we have been seeing.

 

 

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You can't see it from here, but the road drops off just ahead on a very steep downhill trek to the valley below.

 

 

 

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To the right of this stop is a great view of Germany Valley that we saw earlier from the overlook.

 

 

 

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The berries give the view of Germany Valley a little added color.

 

 

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Here, we start down the steep hill to Riverton.

I love this view!! 

 

 

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At Riverton, I turned north on Rt 33/28 and headed to Seneca Rocks about 10 miles away.

Colors here were better than a few weeks ago when we were here last.

 

 

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This wooly worm was enjoying the sunshine on this warm rock. 

They say if these have a thick coat, it will be a cold winter.  Hmmm.....

 

 

Cooper's Rock

 

OCTOBER 30

 

The weather today was clear and sunny.  I was awake early, as usual, and Beth was in Wisconsin, so I headed out to Cooper's Rock at 5am.

My plan was to stay until about mid-morning, then make a loop out to Casselman Bridge in Maryland and some

Amish farm country just over the border in Pennsylvania.

 

I arrived at the rock and started taking a few photos of the stars overhead.

Unfortunately, because it was dark, I didn't notice until later that I had bumped the camera lens off auto-focus. 

Therefore, many came out fuzzy.  Oh well, I still enjoyed being out there, and I still got a few good photos.

 

 

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Some stars are visible in the upper left sky.

Not sure, but it may be part of Ursa Major or Ursa Minor.

 

I used two LED lights to illuminate the observation area for this photo. 

 

 

 

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Early morning light (before sunrise) at the small observation area. I used 15-second exposures because of the low light.

I was using my LED lights to illuminate the platform when 2 young ladies (WVU students) walked by.

They probably wondered why an old man was out here this early waving two flashlights over his head.  LOL

 

 

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Same photo taken about 30 minutes later. 

 

 

 

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Just before sunrise - beautiful colors add to the fog above Cheat River.

 

 

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Worth getting up at 5am for!  Maybe my favorite photo of the day.

 

 

 

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Compare this to the same photo taken last week - much more color!

 

 

 

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The sun is now bringing the colors alive.

 

 

 

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Red leaves contrasting with the morning fog.

 

 

 

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One of many walking paths around Cooper's Rock.

 

 

 

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A lot of people come just to look out from the rocks, and miss the beauty right under their nose.

Moss covers much of the ground and rocks, and makes for an interesting background.

 

 

 

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More colors come alive as the morning sun rises. This is a view of the main observation area.

 

 

 

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I decided to visit a few photo locations about 25 miles away.

This is the road going out of Cooper's Rock State Forest. 

 

 

 

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Still heading out of Cooper's Rock area.

 

 

 

 

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As I near the exit of Cooper's Rock State Forest, the colors change to a bright yellow.

 

 

I drove out I-68 to the first exit in Maryland - Friendsville.

There is a creek there with many scenic spots to stop. 

 

 

 

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Bear Creek Road runs alongside of.......   Bear Creek!

This is just east of Friendsville, MD.

 

 

 

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Nice farming town of Accident, MD.  Did you know a person from this town is called an "Accidental"?  Really!

Fields are clear for winter.  Old white church.  Trees turning yellow.  It must be fall.

 

 

 

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My next stop was Casselman Bridge, located just east of Grantsville, MD on old Rt 40.

This bridge was originally part of the National Road from

Cumberland MD to St. Louis MO that later grew to span the entire country.

The bridge supported vehicle traffic until it was closed in 1953.

 

Read more about the National Road:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Road

 

Read more about the Casselman Bridge:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casselman_Bridge   

 

 

 

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Looks like I missed the peak colors.  Many of the trees were bare.  Still a nice view.

 

 

 

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View of Casselman Bridge from the new(er) bridge on Rt 40.

 

 

After Casselman Bridge, I stopped at the nearby Pilot Truck Stop for an Arby's chicken sandwich.

After seeing the bare trees on the surrounding hills, I decided to cut my PA loop a little short and drive through an Amish area.

 

 

 

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It didn't take long to see Amish out working and playing.  They all wave and smile.

Wish we could all be more like them - the world would be a much better place.

 

 

Since it was only 2:00, I decided to head back to Cooper's Rock and hike down to the Henry Clay Iron Furnace.

Besides, the colors were much nicer there.

 

 

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Taking the narrow road down to the parking lot for the Henry Clay Iron Furnace.

 

 

 

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From the parking lot, it's about a 1 mile hike down to the furnace.

 

 

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Where we are going. 

 

 

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Hiking down to the furnace.  Parts are very rocky, parts are smooth.  All are scenic!

 

 

 

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The furnace is contrasted by the bright yellow leaves in the sun.

 

 

 

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There are several hiking trails and streams around the furnace.

 

 

 

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Another view of the furnace. 

Remember the hike down?  Well, now the return hike is up.

 

 

 

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Still a wonderful hike, even if it's uphill. 

 

I'm going to go back out to the observation area to see if it looks different in the afternoon sun.

Unfortunately, the hillside across from the overlook is in the shade in the afternoon. 

Other parts were nice, though.

 

 

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Remember this scene from early this morning?

 

 

 

 

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Panorama of the small overlook and valley.

 

 

Thanks for riding along with me. Hope you enjoyed the photos.

 

 

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