August 29, 2016

Iron Furnace

Today was one of those serendipity days.  I love it when that happens. One thing leads to another and it all just falls into place… you jump in the flow and go.

We decided to stay a third night in WV because it’s been really good to stop and take a breath.  Don’t misunderstand, the newness of staying in truck stops hasn’t worn off and I still think it’s hysterical to pull-up next to a big rig and hunker down (verrrrry Over the Top – I wear my hat backwards when we do it).  But the kids were giving the stink eye to their car seats and they just wanted to be somewhere for a bit longer. Scott asked at the welcome desk if we might be able to spend a third night.  Hush… don’t be judgey… No, we were not smart enough to realize that this was the weekend before Labor Day and this week happens to be “Camping Week of the Year”.  There was 1 site available and wouldn’t you know it, it was the one we were in.  If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.

During the conversation with the front desk Scott asked about hiking.  He came high-tailing back to the site all breathy… “You’re never going to believe this, we can go see the thing I told you about!!”  Taking a step back for a moment, when Scott and I first started dating I was very much a “groupie”.  100% I was a military groupie and I have no shame admitting that.  Let me be specific here so I don’t miscommunicate my intentions – I wasn’t looking for scalps, I was looking forever.  I was gonna get me a military man – period – no one else need apply. Christy, Sticky, Lorna and the rest of you – I know those days are now infamous.  Anyway… when Scott and I first started dating our romantic talk consisted of, “Tell me about your training.  Tell me about Ranger School… ”  I wanted to hear man stories.

So…. one of Scott’s stories was about this one time in some forest in WV when he unknowingly bumped into this old iron smelting “thing”.  Ten years ago I asked all about it and why had it stuck in his memory…. you know, the kind of stuff that only a star-struck young lady could come up with to keep her man talking.  I never, in a million years, expected Scott would be able to find it let alone take me to it.  But wouldn’t you know it…. I randomly picked the very state park that he had been in AND… since we were there an extra night… we could do the .8 mile hike in to see the thing with both kids in tow.

The “thing” is Henry Clay Iron Furnace.  It was built between 1834 and 1836.  It was a cold blast furnace that produced 4 tons of pig iron every 24 hours.  About 200 people were employed at the furnace and it was the center of a community of ever 100 dwellings with a store, church and schoolhouse.  The iron produced was floated down the Cheat River.

 

IMG_20160826_102521

 

IMG_20160826_103321

Ev learned how to read blazes on this little outing.  She’s now the master scout – often the first one to see the next trail marker.  She asked me to note, though, that she prefers blue blazes to red.  Reason?  Unknown.

 

IMG_20160826_105030

 

IMG_20160826_105251

 

 

 

IMG_20160826_105734

 

IMG_20160826_105904

 

The photo above was taken by Evie.

IMG_20160826_111924

 

The photo above is Sad Evie.  She’s pouting because she does not want to walk the .8 miles to the car.  We must wean her of this face – no whiners on Team Amators.

 

IMG_20160826_113025

 

 

 

Final story.   I decided to teach Evie about snakes… It wasn’t in depth because what I know about snakes can be summed up as, “See one.  Scream.  Run the other direction.”  I thought she ought to know that most snakes are horrible mean gross creatures that should be given the highest respect. (Vickie – I know you read these posts… I’m not talking about your lovely Matilda/Meridian… I know it started with an M.)  Since some snakes are poisonous therefore all snakes should be treated as poisonous (yes Eric… even that “possibly not but DEFINITELY” cottonmouth along the river in VA).  As usual, Scott secretly rolled his eyes at my snake lecture but chimed in to make it slightly more scientific.  I knew in his head he was thinking, “I’ve been through these @$#%@#$ woods a million times, we aren’t going to see a @#%@$#% snake,” but wouldn’t you know it… sure enough.  Those evil things seek me out.  We saw a 6 inch monster slither under a rock.  I can only assume it was a baby and therefore more poisonous then it’s evil parents.  I held it together to avoid screaming in front of my little girl… when the time comes for her mettle to be tested I don’t want snakes to be her achilles heel on account of my very real concerns.

Traci Warren