back from Wild and Wonderful West Virginia

back from a weekend at Canaan Valley West Virginia
boys weekend
me and the boys
Dean, Grant, and the dog Didg
Lisa stayed back and chill-laxed

these photos are not from this weekend
the boys are bigger and my beard is now more gray

I was pretty much camera free this weekend
well... almost
no stills...  not one photo with the iPhone... nothing with the Canon point and shoot
yes... there was some GoPro Action
but nothing more

these images are from the archives
old images
same place... different time
the boys were younger then
and so was I

the West Virginia weekend was a last minute decision
there had been some plans to head out to "the farm" with my buddy Dudley and the bikes
Dudley would bring his boys and I would bring mine
but some things shuffled around and that plan was no longer an option


with it stuck in my head that I was evacuating the city I quickly tried to script an alternate plan
made a call to Steve Hartell to see if he was headed to West Virginia
and if so... if he wanted to invite me and the boys to stay at their family cabin in Dry Fork

sure enough... to our favor and our pleasure Steve was headed for a father daughter weekend in West Virginia and we were welcome to join in on the adventure

the mountain bike weekend in PA was quickly swapped out for a ski weekend in WVA

we drove out in tandem to the Hartell Hotel on the ridge in Dry Fork arriving at our destination past the kids' bedtime

morning came quickly and we were a little slow out of the gate
the kids woke and were content with slow motion out of bed
only to get distracted from the task of skiing by the adventure of playing in the deep snow around the cabin

after fueling up the kids and packing the car we did a little shuttle run
Steve and 8 year old Nellie had a back country adventure
they would be cross country skiing the ridge line from the Canaan Ski resort on over to Whitegrass
while the Gwadz boys would be "riding the chair"

we drove with Steve and company to Whitegrass where they dropped off their car...
then drove them back to Canaan for the start of their free heel adventure

the conditions were fantastic
the powder was day old... BUT SWEET!
there were still some patches to lay some fresh tracks
and good coverage on the rest of the mountain 

it amazed me to see the level of comfort my 9 and 11 year old sons and reached on their skies
the boys were looking strong
even 9 year old Grant was able to make it down the Black Diamonds!

each of the boys were catching little airs
and seeking adventure on the lines through the trees

the day involved us riding together as a three person group and me allowing the boys to ski without me

oh man... oh oh man!
I was using muscles I had not used in some time
in an effort to have some strength for the following day I pulled the plug early
we left Canaan before the lift closed and headed over to Whitegrass

we arrived and Steve and Nellie had long finished their cross country ski adventure
it was a festival atmosphere at Whitegrass
Vegetarian Chili and Mountain State brews were fueling the fun
along with what appeared to be West Virginia White Lightning!
yes... MOON SHINE!

the boys played with other children in the snow
we had some grilled cheese sandwiches and some chili
but did not stay too long
as I was feeling guilty about Didg being a prisoner in the unfamiliar cabin all day

there was no argument about our early evacuation
sure I was pulling the boys away from their fun
but they knew there was more fun to be had at the cabin
without skipping a beat the boys put their focus on sledding!

it is hard to believe but the boys had not been sledding in 2 years
ah... the pleasures of Global Warming
no pleasure at all really

back at the cabin the boys pulled out the toboggan and tried to find what is the best spot to sled
Didg joined in on the fun 
chasing the boys down the hill 
it was an mini adventure!

dinner was carry out pizza from Sirianni's
chased by a few beers
the kids got to watch Austin Powers on an old VHS tape before we all went to bed

day two came with the intention to get up a little earlier and hit the hill FIRST THING
so that we could get first tracks and tear up the GROOMERS
well.. the combination of Day Lights Savings Time and a late night had us up early
but not early enough

we did not make first tracks
but we did get their earlier than the day prior
by this time we had a pretty good lay of the land
each of us had an idea where we wanted to ride

I wanted to head to the chutes and the meadows... Grant wanted to hit Gravity... Dean wanted to hit it ALL!

oh man... oh oh man!
the snow was still good
there were some spots where the sun baked the snow into a slow glue like consistency
but over all
FANTASTIC CONDITIONS! especially for so late in the season

on this day we stayed a little later
I left the boys on the hill and put the snowboard aside and walked the dog while the boys rode together as a team
yes... they fight like brothers
but they also get along like brothers

they were given some space
then I retrieved them
as I knew that we had many miles to travel before we got home
then also... I knew that Dean had more homework to do
sure he had done some the night prior... but their were projects to complete before Monday morning

we made the drive with an open mind
there was talk about Hellbender's burrito
but the kids were still full from the lunch at Canaan
so we drove straight through Davis 

there were the requisite pee brakes
where the dog was able to get a little more play time in the snow
which was good
as I felt that Didg got the short end of the stick on this family adventure

ah... good times for sure
just as with each visit to Davis West Virginia and the surrounding area
I am reminded of what John Denver sang about
and I ask myself...
"why don't we go to West Virginia more often?"

mention of Whitegrass


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