The story of my first hike to see some WV caves, and how I came to see my own private light show

In all the years I visited my grandparents here in West Virginia, I never once saw the caves people around here talk about so casually. These caves are on some neighboring property and I don't know what I expected, but when I finally arrived at my destination, I was pretty blown away. Probably, for the most part, because this part of the wooded area where I hiked is so very different from the trails where we hiked when I was a kid. In spite of the fact that we couldn't have been more than a mile or two from those remembered trails.

Nature sure does have a lot of variety to offer.

Maybe it's best if I go ahead and get the shameful part out of the way and tell you that I let ADD Girl take over in the morning, and that it affected my adventure detrimentally, though not as badly as it could have. The short version is that I rolled out of bed, brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes, guzzled about a half a cup of coffee, put a Zone Bar in my pocket, and hit the trail.

Yes, I know food is more than a fun thing we use to stuff our bodies with, it's fuel and we should treat it as such. Sometimes, though, it's easy to forget. Frankly in spite of my sometimes love for food, I also find it an annoyannce at other times. Apparently yesterday was one of those times.

It was when we were starting to really get into the good, hefty climbing part of our hike that the low blood sugar barrelled toward me with a vengance, and I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I told you it was the worst blood sugar dip I've ever experienced. It was almost immediately clear that I had to sit down - or else - and so I did. While my ears rang, the world spun, and everything around me became illuminated in the way I've only ever seen via Hollywood lighting effects. I dug the Zone Bar out of my pocket and wolfed it down with great relief. Eventually I was better, although not 100% myself, and got up and went on about my business. I had to sit down again in a while, as the bar hadn't done its job yet, and that time I wasn't as dizzy and the ringing in my ears wasn't nearly as severe, but the lights? OH how I kept wishing that camera I held in my hands could capture for you what I was seeing. It was the coolest thing ever. Well, except for the part about how I couldn't stand upright for a while.

The other thing that will illustrate for you what an absolute flake I can sometimes be is that I left "the good camera" turned on the night before, and after about 10 photos or so, the battery died. This was not at all in the plan, and I was seriously bummed until I realized I'd given my friend's son my little point and shoot to use if he wanted, and he happily gave it back for my photographing pleasure. Although I didn't get the results with this one that I would have had I remembered to check my battery's charge, I still at least have a nice set of shots to commemmorate my first hike in WV.

Probably the thing I'll most remember from this hike - besides the funky, cool, private light show I had for myself - was how spectacular the sights are...and how frikkin close to my back door all of this is. I'm not kidding you when I say these photos were taken within 5 miles of where I'm currently living. Much closer than that, probably. Unbelievable!

The jagged rocks that look as if they've been split in two by some mighty force from long ago, remind me of scenes I've only ever seen in state parks. The biggest cave I decided I'd better skip for now, and so my friend and her son called down descriptions from above. But the one I did see, along with all the other cool sights along the trail, was eerie and excellent. And just like everybody kept pointing out? Way cold.

There's a lot of talk about how there are, in fact, bears and coyotes in the woods around here, and how most people feel pretty safe because they're said to be nocturnal. I'm counting on it because I plan to go back. But never at night.

Of course the other cool thing I'll always remember about this hike was the happy grin on Mia's face when she slid down the hill to me on her belly. I have unquestioningly fallen in love with that dog.

Now. Before I get one more lecture, (My favorite: "It boggles my mind how a woman as intelligent as you could forget to eat breakfast before going for a hike in the mountains!") I'll tell you that Yes I've Learned My Lesson. Apparently "my people" need to be reminded of things that most others take for granted. Had to reassure myself of this, since I'm not largely surrounded by ADD Types, and called Cindi to get a pep talk and a "I hear ya sister." She's WAY more active than I am (runs, swims, plays tennis - often at competitive levels,) and totally gets it - this inexplicable distraction that leads our minds away from often the most obvious course of action. I'm just sayin'.

But yes, in spite of that, I've had the reminder I needed and from here on out, the only thing you need to concern yourselves with when I go hiking in these woods is the wildlife and slippery rocks. But mostly you don't need to worry at all, because people hike every day and have no trouble whatsoever.

Maybe I'll see that old graveyard next time. Decided to skip the trek up that side, for another day. That would have been a lot to take in at once, anyway. And I don't think I'm just making excuses to make myself feel better, either.