Today finds me a little later than usual for posting to my blog. This has been a very long week even with the Holiday on Tuesday. I hope everyone had a safe Fourth of July during all the celebrations. This morning I got up a little earlier than usual and decided that I wanted to take a drive out to one of the state parks not too far from me. So, I packed up my camera, and my tripod and headed out to Valley Falls State Park which is maybe a 30-minute drive for me. I was concerned that from the rains that we received this week the water would be brown from all the flooding. However, I took a chance and that was not the case.
The drive on WV-310 is a very scenic route, one of small towns and farms with some twists and turns here and there. A good drive to have the windows down and the music playing as one looks over everything that went on the week before. Once you turn off the road you are a single lane road that takes you through even more farms. You may think you are lost when you come to the end of the road and it splits around a small lake. Rock Lake is a community surrounding a manmade lake, a very serene area that one day I would love to live there. This community was established in 1932 and currently has over 132 homes around the lake.
On my drive through I spotted some Water Lilies blooming in the lake and pulled over to get some shots of them. If anyone was looking out their windows they probably were laughing. As they watched me lay down on the ground that was wet and muddy to get a few pictures. But as a photographer, you must be willing to do what you have to do to get the perfect shot.
Then I was one my way to Valley Falls which was maybe another 2 miles up the road. Pulling into the main parking lot I was only greeted by one other vehicle parked there. As I unpacked my camera, and tripod the only other person in the area was leaving. I would have the whole area to myself which is what I was hoping for being it was early in the morning. No one to mess up my photos by standing on the rocks to view them. Okay so maybe this was also my introverted nature. LOL. I made my way down to the falls there are two viewing areas made from the very sandstone the falls are made of. Of course, you need to watch out as there are no railings and some of the rocks are 10-15 feet above the river with other rocks below. I wanted to try out some new shots with the camera since I had the tripod with me. I tried setting the shutter speed to ½ second to help blur the water as it was spilling over. However, due to all the sunlight it kind of blew out the white of the water and even in post editing, I was not able to completely correct it. I should have stuck with my ¼ second, I normally use. Oh, well lesson learned right. 😀
A little bit of background on the park. Valley Falls was once the site of a lumber and grist mill community in the 1800’s. It was a thriving community with its own Railroad Depot Station, grist mill, post office, sawmills, shops and even a ferry. Between 1886 and 1888 the community was destroyed by a fire and a flood that swept through the community. The town tried to repair the damages but never fully recovered from the damage. In 1964, the state park system of West Virginia acquired the falls and surround landed and named the area Valley Falls State Park. The park is 1,145 acres and is used for fishing, picnicking, kayaking, and has over 18 miles of hiking and mounting biking trails.
The falls are located on the Tygart Valley River with prevalent rock formations made from Connoquenessing Sandstone, which forms the cap of the falls as the river plunges over the rocks. The rocks have also formed giant boulders as the river makes it way down the canyon floor for the next mile after the falls.
While walking through the park you can not only see the falls but the ruminates of the sawmill and gristmill that once proudly stood in the area and helped support a thriving community. The railroad still runs through the area today although it is no longer a stop for passengers and is mainly used for hauling coal and lumber from other communities in the state.
Feel free to view the Facebook Album found here: Valley Falls State Park July 2017