After decades of visiting Pocahontas County, staying at friends’ cabins and enjoying the scenery, the husband and I made the dramatic decision to change our lives and move to nature’s playground.
It was time for retirement, and we wanted something different. Our daughters were adults and on their own, meaning they visited us when it was convenient for them!
Chatting about what was in store for our future, we came upon the novel idea of packing up and leaving the Huntington area for good. And that was exactly what we did.
Building a house was not an easy task. Let’s just say it was extremely difficult for this recovering perfectionist. With the help of friends and excellent builders, our dream home was completed and life in the county became real.
Not only were we experiencing a first time 24/7 together experience (you know what I mean by that!), we were able to enjoy all the wonderful facets of life in a tourist’s paradise. How strange to be at peace with no sounds except for birds, wind and an occasional airplane (or fighter jet) overhead. Peace.
My husband was a military guy for 42 years. He loved being outdoors doing anything. I bought him a kayak for his birthday. Loving this new toy, he bought me one for his birthday, too, and we were off, paddling down the Greenbrier River.
It became my new favorite thing to do. The water is beautiful, the scenery magnificent and if you’ve never experienced this excursion, you have missed out on so much.
Millions of beautiful West Virginia trees greet you throughout the trip. An occasional eagle is a treat and sometimes you’ll see wildlife along the river or trail. It’s easy to enjoy a day on the river with the sights to see. Take a picnic lunch, stop along the way and spend the whole day meandering down the water.
A few swimming holes provide a refreshing dip in the river, but from Marlinton to Buckeye to Seebert, they are few and far between. Much of the river is quite shallow and easily navigated by those who may be afraid of its depth. Just relax, paddle at ease and enjoy the time away from it all.
While the river is a great way to spend some time in nature, so many other amenities are available and we enjoy them all. Walking is fairly easy for us in our senior years and we take advantage of all the options – especially the ones on flatter ground!
The Greenbrier River Trail provides 77 miles of walking, biking, horseback riding enjoyment. Between the two of us, we have been able to experience all three.
Our ladies’ group took several autumn adventures biking on the trail and after a few years, completed the whole trail in different segments. We were not in a hurry. We chatted, laughed, ate, rested, McGuyver-ed broken bikes and wore ourselves out. They were great times.
Never in a million years would the guys even think about a years-long excursion on just 77 miles. No sir! Even in their 70s, they completed the trail in only two days and said they could have done it in one! Ha.
We walk the trail several times a week savoring different sections. The scenery is lovely. You’ll see farmland, pastures, every imaginable wildflower all through the spring, summer and fall. Cute cabins, nice homes, fishing or hunting camps dot the land along the trail, and the river is always right by your side or nearby.
Miles and miles of nothingness or a little here and there. If you haven’t been on the trail, please make it a number one event on your bucket list.
Just a few steps down the Scenic Highway from the Cranberry Glades Nature Center is a small road which takes you down into the woods leading to a very unique spot.
Someone told us about the jail situated in the area near the Glades and we had to see it for ourselves. No building, not really much of a foundation is even visible, but informative signs lead you to the area and explain the amazing history of the place where fellows were incarcerated with no fences, no walls, no real means of keeping the “criminals” under lock and key.
Take your time and check out why only a couple of guys managed to escape, but the rest stayed. Clearly, it was too cold and snowy in the winter to be able to leave and too beautiful in the summer to want to.
Several interesting trails are available even for some of the older generation along the Scenic Highway. Of course, High Rocks Trail is a favorite and fairly easy two-mile hike to an amazing view overlooking the Hillsboro area. Take a camera, binoculars and a little lunch and experience impressive views that surely won’t be enjoyed by those living in town.
One of the trails we were able to enjoy (and by that I mean were able to complete!), was a five-mile trek from the Williams River Overlook to Big Spruce Overlook and back just off both sides of the Scenic Highway.
The scenery is spectacular on these trails, and we were especially mesmerized by the remains of the logging railroad. We couldn’t imagine how a railroad could be built and used on the side of that mountain. Several logging camp accessories, rusted and very old were right on the trail. Many photos were taken as we hiked and many unanswered questions still linger.
Spectacular scenery abounds in Pocahontas County. Maybe it’s because of my age, or maybe it’s just that good, but I feel so very blessed to have chosen this part of the state to make my home. So many opportunities to enjoy. I certainly haven’t named them all, but just the few that have made our time here easy to appreciate and easy for our aging souls!
What’s best? All for free. Borrow the kayak, use the neighbor’s bicycle, any kind of tennis shoe will work on the trails I’ve mentioned. Take your time. Breathe in this unpolluted air.
A very kind man welcomed me to the county after just a few weeks of living here. He said it’s a great place to live if you can stand the inconvenience. Well, it’s a little inconvenient, but planning well has avoided the dilemma. Loving the environment and the people has made it much better than tolerable.
Are we happy we took this unprecedented move?