Lord Whoever, thank you for this air
Back in our really young and really stupid days of college at West Virginia Wesleyan, in the Spring of 1976 we hit upon the idea of spending a weekend at a nearby West Virginia State Park named Kumbrabow. This turned out to be one of the least stupid things that we ever did as it helped cement the relationships with those friends for decades to come.
We did not revive what was to become a tradition until 1980, after graduation, and we made our first trip to what was going to become our annual second home, the rustic cabins of Seneca State Forest, located in the hilly recesses of Pocahontas County, WVa. To this day the region remains unsullied with the trappings of modern technology due to an ironic bit of real estate. About 12 miles from the cabins is the Greenbank National Radio Observatory. Prevention of interferance with that observatory has kept cellphone antennas out of Pocahontas County to this day! (they don't even allow gasoline engine vehicles within a mile of the place as the ignition systems interfere). This area is referred to as the Appalachian Quiet Zone (video). This nicely describes our feeling for the Game Cabin experience in general.
Another nearby attraction is Cass Scenic Railroad, a restored steam locomotive line that was built in 1901 to haul lumber to the mill in Cass. The locomotives are the oriuginal Shay locomotives used in Cass. These locomotives, with unique vertical steam pistons climb the steepest grades of any railroad in the US without cogs or other aids. You can take the line from the town of Cass to the top of Bald Knob, the second highest point in West Virginia. The overlook at Bald Knob provides a spectacular view at an altitude of 4,842 feet.
The cabins are fairly rough hewn with no electricity or running water and are about 6 miles off the nearest paved road, and are across 2 fairly serious mountain ridges at the lowest point of the park on the banks of the Greenbrier River. Across the river is an old railroad right of way that has been turned into West Virginias longest and narrowest state park and offers hiking, biking and horseback riding along it's 76 mile length.
The cabins may sound spartan, but there are propane gas lights and a propane refrigerator (we still argue about how a flame in the back keeps our stuff cool) as well as a decent sized kitchen. Also, unlike pretty much any other parks we have visited, the W.Va. park service provides all the bed linens (beds are made prior to arrival like any modern hotel) as well as towels, dishes, utensils, pots, pans, cooking utensils and the Gott cooler in which our drinking water is kept.
Oh yeah, water. We have an endless supply of hot and cold running water. If you want cold water you run to the outside hand pump which is drilled 400 feet into the sweetest water you will find anywhere. If you want hot water you fill a bucket, run back to the cabin (beware big rocks on lawn, more than one of us has gone ass over tea kettle in the dark carrying buckets of water), and put it on the wood stove.
All in all, this place is just about perfect when it comes to decompressing from the stressful aspects of modern life. No Computers, TVs, Radios, Cellphones or electronically recorded music. Life becomes reduced to basics; keep the fires lit, prepare and cook the food (You may notice in the photos of these outings that we are not subsisting on hotdogs and cans of Dinty Moore stew either), find ways to utilize the times in between; hiking biking and exploring the area. Hmmm, can't wait to get back there...
These are most of the players:
(Click on photos for big pics, if you dare!)
The Founding Five:
From the left,
The back: Nersh, Dan and A youngass punk moi
Front: Rust and Parker
Back row: Rust, Dan, Linda, Marilyn, =Mark, Eileen and my Bro Rich
Front: Nersh, Flash, Lynn and Parker
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