This will be my last blog post till late next week as I'm heading out of town on a much needed vacation. Tomorrow morning, I'll head east on Interstate 64 to Charleston, West Virginia, where I'll pick up Interstate 79 north to US Route 33 in Weston. From there, I'll head east an hour till Elkins and Route 219. At that point, I'll head south again, slowly gaining elevation as I head into the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, my ultimate destination being Snowshoe, West Virginia, located a mile up on the southern end of Cheat Mountain. It's where I spent the best years of my life and this trip will be my first bag in almost 9 years.
Making the decision to leave the mountains and return to Louisville was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. In retrospect, it was probably the right decision as my Mom and Brother are both here along with a teaching job that I simply adore. I love living in Louisville, it's one of the most underrated places in America and it's probably where I'll live for the rest of my life, but a part of me longs for the days spent living in what is nothing short of the most beautiful and amazing place on Planet Earth. I've stayed away for one reason and one reason only, my fear that once I get back, I won't ever want to leave.
When people think of West Virginia, they picture abject poverty, coal mines, and uneducated mountain folks living in a third world. Now it's true that part of West Virginia is that way, the coalfields of the southern part of the state are as depressing a sight as any I've ever seen. Thankfully, the eastern third of the state, home to the highest mountains and the outdoor playground of the Mid-Atlantic isn't that way. There isn't a lick of coal to be found, most of the people I knew and met were anything but stupid and while there were pockets of poverty, most people seemed to live a life that was comfortably middle class. In short, it's a lot like most places, only the views are to die for.
I'll see you next week and a big shout out to Mom who will be crashing at the Kelly House and taking care of my three kids, also know as Sammy, River and Shadow. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, high temperatures each day are forecast to be in the low 70's.