So, as much as I would like to, I can't continually make trips hours away to Dolly Sods or Otter Creek or even only twenty minutes away to Cooper's Rock. Some days don't allow it (whether it's the schedule, energy level, or perpetual car troubles). Luckily, one of the perks of living in a place like Morgantown, is the availability of the rail trails and of the Monongahela River.
The name Monongahela is an anglicized version of a Native American word meaning roughly "falling banks." The river stretches some 130 miles from Fairmont, WV, where it is formed when the West Fork River meets the Tygart Valley River, to Pittsburgh, PA where it joins the Allegheny River to from the Ohio River.
The stretch of river along Morgantown, which is paralleled by the Mon River / Caperton Rail Trails, is almost always relatively calm. And, especially in the mornings or near sunset, the light along the river makes for some simply stunning experiences.
And, as one would hope with any waterway like the Mon River, you can also see you fair share of wildlife along and on the water.
Along with these few fellas, I've seen a few herons along the Mon River or nearby Deckers Creek, and, just a day or so ago, I watched a Eastern Kingfisher skim along the river at sunset.
It doesn't always take a weekend trip or even a day-long hike to clear one's head, get a bit of wind in your hair and a little exercise.