Saturday, April 15, 2017

Greenbriar River Trail - Day 1

I left Kathy and Jeff's a little before 9 heading to Watoga State Park in the heart of West Virginia. It was south on 81 to Staunton then through the mountains to get to the park.  All the roads were good, but it was a remote route with few services, no cell signal and lots of twisty, turns mountain roads!

I came into the park through the north entrance from Huntersville. I had no idea where I was going once I got to the park, just that I needed to find the campground. Usually this is very easy.  Watoga SP is huge! Several entrances, 2 campgrounds, a few picnic areas, a lake, and more! I saw almost all of it! It's a really pretty park with more rhodendron than I think I've ever seen in one place! I'd love to be here in June when it's in bloom! I decided to aim for the Riverside Campground. I knew there was camping close to the bike trail and the bike trail goes along the river, so I figured that would be my best choice! 

I did eventually locate the Riverside Campground, as promised it was right next to the Greenbriar River with the Rail Trail directly across! Despite the nearly perfect camping weather, the campground was mostly empty! I scored a prime site right on the river! And, my site is even in a little sweet spot where there's cell signal! I didn't have cell signal all day until I got to my site! YAY! 

It was 2:00 by the time I got parked and paid so I decided to take a quick exploratory bike ride south on the trail. There is a bridge over the river and trail access a little more than 1.5 miles from the campground so today I decided to ride my bike there and leave the van on the site.  It was a perfect afternoon - temps in the 70s, few high thin clouds! I passed mike marker 45 right after I got on the trail so I decided I'd ride until mile marker 40 and turn around. That would give me almost 15 miles for the day. 

I wasn't far down the trail when I heard a very loud scratching-type sound - almost like fireworks when they rain down mixed with a freight train on steroids coming from behind me. Whatever it was was gaining on me quickly. I was trying to duck and cover and steer the bike thinking whatever this was was going to hit me soon.  And then I realized I knew what the sound was, I'd heard it before, it was a fighter jet! An F-16 something similar! I looked up just in time to see it soar overhead! And just when I'd caught my breath, it's buddy flew over! The 2nd one wasn't as loud though! I did pass two ladies out walking and asked if fighter jets were a normal occurrence and they assured me it happens all the time! 

The rest of the ride went with out any other drama! I saw some red trillium right by mile marker 40 where I turned around. I had a nice snack break at the Mill Creek campsite and then proceeded back to the campground. It was now very hot in my campsite in the sun so I did chores and walked the campground while I waited for the sun to sink down some before I settled in at the picnic table to eat dinner and read! 

Tomorrow I'm planning a 40 mile round trip on the trail! 

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