Adventuring in West Virginia

I love traveling. Even if it’s just a state away, there’s just something about it.

I’ve been wanting to go to Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia for years. Years.

So last spring, my then fiance and I loaded up bright and early to head west. We let the dog outside to do his business before we left, and as he walked back inside he started to act funny. We thought it was because dogs have super natural powers and he knew we were getting ready to leave. To ease his nerves, we took him for a little walk and that’s when things took a turn for the worst.

He began to drag his back legs and we knew something wasn’t right.

We cancelled our plans and instead found ourselves in the vet ER at 5AM. A handful of x-rays, blood work and 3 hours later, we learned he has a herniated disc. Our poor little guy. Armed with pain killers, steroids and crate rest instructions, we came home and the opportunity to go to West Virginia slipped away.

A lot of life happened between now and then.

We got married, went on our honeymoon, I got a second job, I lost my dad, started this blog, and that brings us to last weekend. The opportunity for a mini road trip presented itself and I took it.

I had off from job #1 and #2 on Saturday with no plans (a rarity!) and I still have a few paid days off so I decided to take Monday off too. A sweet little 3 day weekend. We almost went somewhere else – the park is 5 hours, each way and I just wasn’t sure if I felt like it. After looking around at different places, my heart just couldn’t settle.

That’s when I realized it wouldn’t. We’re going to West Virginia, and I’m so happy we went.

We left at 5AM, and in heading 5 hours to our left we came across a nasty rain storm. Of course, it would have to be at it’s worst when we were on the bay bridge. I suffer from Gephyrophobia, the fear of bridges, and have been forcing myself to drive over them because I say what I do, not my fear. That came to an end Saturday because I thought I was going to black out. As we drove off, I told my husband “this is the last time I’m ever driving over a bridge”. It’s safe to say, on the way back my seat was back and I drew my hood over my eyes.

But anyway, back to the good stuff.

We weaved our way through the mountains of Western Maryland and were greeted by the “Wild and Wonderful West Virginia” sign before I knew it. When given the chance to go on a trip my heart always takes me to the mountains.

Maybe it’s because I’m from Delaware and the highest point in our state is at the landfill.
Maybe it’s because we always want what we can’t have.
Maybe it’s just because the crisp air makes me feel more alive.
For whatever reason, I just love them and I’m happier when I’m surrounded by them.

The highways were empty but my heart was already full.

The GPS took us off the highway, into town, and to the entrance of the state park. We had arrived. The sky still looked iffy, so I wanted to see the main sights first just in case it were to rain. We were met with a trail that leads to a waterfall first, so that’s where we went.

It wasn’t just a waterfall, but the waterfall the park is named after. Blackwater Falls. And it was just beautiful. No photograph can possibly do it justice, but here’s one I took.

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There were so many steps leading to and from the waterfall.

So. Many. Steps. But, I made it!

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We hopped back in the car and started our trek to the next lookout. On our way, we came across a break in the trees and this amazing view was tucked in between it.

I stood there and let the image of God’s creation burn my retinas, hoping to never forget it’s beauty. John Denver was right – it is almost heaven.

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Okay so to be honest, we were 100% unprepared for the terrain.

We’re from Delaware. Our state parks are flat with the occasional pebble and sometimes the trails are even boarded for easier walking. The trail we went on next was muddy, full of huge roots, rocks and was uneven. Have I ever told you I have bad ankles and have literally sprain them by just walking?

Yeah. How naive I was to wear Nikes here – but it lead us through this beautiful area so I ain’t mad.

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It was here that I asked my husband to take a picture of me moseying up the trail.

The park reminded of how far I have actually come in bettering my health time after time.

Four years ago, I would have never wanted to go here. I would have been covered in head to toe in clothes because God forbid anyone sees a square inch of my leg and I would have never put forth the effort to hike up and down the trails and steps that lead to these overlooks. It really had me in my feels, multiple times, and I’ve never felt so grateful to live in my new body.

I wrote this post on Instagram to share with my followers.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BoC2AW-j4MH/?taken-by=gemofthegym

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a goal weight, but I think you know what I’m saying here.

When you were as heavy as I was, even things like walking up trails means something to you.

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The picture doesn’t really show the height involved in this hike. About 3/4 of a miles worth of this trail had me tired. I was hot, sweaty, my tank top was sticking to all the wrong places and I wanted air condition. Stat. With the air on full blast, we putzed to Lindy Point, which was the main reason why I wanted to come here.

The point itself was worth the entire trip.

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There was a 10 or 15 minute walk through mud, more roots, more water and uneven ground to get to the overlook and it was worth every step.

Just look at it.

Words or pictures really can’t convey what it felt like to have experienced all the things on Saturday. To some, it might not be a big deal.

You’re probably thinking, so you went up some stairs and walked on trails. What’s the big deal?

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Do you know how miserable it is to wear a sweater in the summer?

Four years ago, I would have passed. Four years ago, I would have chose to look at pictures instead of seeing it with my own eyes. Partly because I knew I couldn’t physically do it, and partly because I was too embarrassed to even try.

When you’re used to living life this way, when you’re used to every choice being based around your weight and physical appearance, everything new is a big deal.

Shopping in “regular” stores? It’s a big deal.
Receiving compliments from strangers on something other than your hair or eye lashes? It’s a big deal.
Going to the gym and not feeling like everyone there is staring at you? It’s a big deal.
Seeing the things I saw Saturday?

It’s. A. Big. Deal. And it’s worth celebrating.

Tell me what you think!

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