Friday, July 15, 2011

Field Trip Fridays

I decided that since we weren't really going on vacation this year that I would plan some fun day trips around the area that we live.  Nothing expensive (although there are plenty of attractions like zoos, theme parks, museums, the surrounding areas), I just wanted to do some good old fashioned exploring with my kids.  Places that were free or cheap and things we have never done before.  I actually took the kids to our destination on Wednesday, so that I could post about it today.  I thought it would be a great idea if we went to at least one place each week and explored our countryside and shared it with all of you.

This week we went to.....Cooper's Rock, WV.  This gorgeous state forest is actually only 45 minutes from our house.   

(photo courtesy of their website)
 From their website:    

"Coopers Rock State Forest gets its name from a legend about a fugitive who hid from the law near what is now the overlook. A cooper by trade, he resumed making barrels at his new mountain hideout, selling them to people in nearby communities. He lived and worked in the forest for many years.  

During the Depression, between 1936 and 1942, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built numerous structures in the forest, often using durable American chestnut wood from trees that succumbed to a blight that nearly wiped out the species. Eleven of these structures, including the rustic picnic shelters near the overlook, have been included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bands of rockcliffs line the Cheat River Gorge and provide numerous overlooks. The centerpiece among these is the main overlook, which furnishes a panorama of the gorge and distant horizons. A maze of enormous boulders and cliffs fascinates hikers, and the trails are especially lovely in June when the rhododendron and mountain laurel are in bloom. Several trails wind through forest valleys and over ridges, and a number of creeks beckon the explorer. Glade Run is dammed to form a 6-acre pond that is regularly stocked with trout. The observant hiker can hear and sometimes see squirrels, chipmunks, hawks, owls, turkeys, turkey vulture, songbirds, fox and deer throughout the forest."

The big attraction (other than "Rock City") is the scenic overlook.  And let me tell you, it does not disappoint. The view is amazing...God's country is beautiful.  

The kids had a blast exploring the caves that the huge rocks and boulders had formed.  They "rock climbed" and ran through the trees, while I was screaming for them to come back and texting them to stop running off....some "family adventure", eh? LOL! The older boys probably had the most fun, not only because they could climb the rocks, but they kept trying to run ahead of us and doubling back to scare us from behind.  Only, Zach forgot to set his phone to vibrate and we could hear it beep every time I texted him haha.

Cooper's Rock has a campground, several picnic areas, pavilions, a fishing area, lots of hiking trails (from easy to difficult) and it's close to Cheat Lake (for swimming and boating).

We had a lot of fun exploring our way through the woods and rocks.  A few of the kids were bored (you can guess which ones) and a few of them didn't want to leave (again, guess who)...all in all a fun, family adventure that we will definitely do again someday.

And what family adventure is complete without a stop at the playground.  There are several play areas throughout the park.  We actually found an old swing set in the middle of the woods. 

And as with any family....somebody always has to get hurt

(watching them climb around on those huge rocks - I had visions of broken limbs running through my mind. So I'll take a little scratch or two).

Be sure to come back next week for another installment of "Field Trip Fridays", where we will explore another local landmark.

Also, check out the "photography" tab on the side bar for more pics of Cooper's Rock.

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