Joseph E Bird

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adventure travel

you must watch this


i can’t begin to describe this video.

if you are a runner, you must watch this.

if you are an introspective person, you must watch this.

if you are awed by the forces of our natural world, you must watch this.

and if you watch this, you must watch until the very end.

rock and roll


This, my friends, is Tucker Boulder Park in Davis, West Virginia. It’s a modest little park. Just a bunch of rocks, you might say.  The smaller boulders are natural stones found in the area. The larger ones within the rubber mulched area are manufactured climbing boulders made by a company called Entre Prises in Oregon. Their purpose is to provide recreational opportunities for people in the area.

Now if you know the Canaan Valley area of West Virginia at all, you know there a lots of places for serious climbers to climb real rocks. Seneca Rocks, for example, is about an hour away.

So you might think Tucker Boulder Park is just a little playground. Well, it is, sort of. I was there a couple of weeks ago and there were several serious climbers attempting to climb the large boulder. I asked why they were there and not on a real rock.

“It’s a playground for climbers,” one of them told me. “And it’s a good way to get a workout and practice climbing.”

How good a workout?  Here’s some perspective.  The smaller boulder is eight feet tall. The larger boulder is twelve feet, which doesn’t sound that bad. The different colored knobby things on the boulders are handholds.  They can be moved and adjusted, creating different routes.

view from bottom

For example, if you follow the pink handholds, you’re on an easy route. The pink ones are easy to grip and stand on, and the route up is pretty much vertical.


Then there are routes that are not so easy.  Like this:


Notice that the wall is no longer vertical. To even attempt this takes tremendous upper body strength.

I was at the park yesterday and spent about an hour climbing.

First I went up the easy route on the large boulder. Not too bad, though it takes some agility. Then I went up the small boulder.  About the same.

Then I thought I’d try to circumnavigate the small boulder. It took me a couple of tries but I was able to do it. That’s when my arms and legs started feeling it, which surprised me because I work hard to stay in shape. At the end of my second trip around I was sweating and breathing hard.

I tried the same thing on the large boulder. On the vertical stretches, I was fine, but as the boulder leaned out over my head, I was useless. I managed to climb a little bit, but I fell several times. Thank goodness for the rubber mulch. And when I finished, I was pretty well whipped.

I have some friends who do real climbing. I already had great respect for those who have the nerve to climb up the side of a cliff without manufactured handholds. There’s no way I’m going to try that. Now I have even more respect, knowing the physical effort the sport requires. I left with raw fingers and scraped knees.

And I can’t wait to do it again.





wild, weird stuff

It’s Friday, ya’ll.

Time for something really different. (Spoiler alert: The last link on this page is wild. You really need to watch it.)

The Mystery Hole in Ansted will have your head spinning. I’ve written about it before, but as long as we’re on the road, it’s worth stopping by. Up is down and sideways just doesn’t exist. It’s a crazy experience where the laws of gravity are completely violated.

Mystery Hole 1 for web

Or head to Lesage for Hillbilly Hot Dogs, which was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Can a place so crazy really have good hot dogs?  Yep.

photo 3

hillbilly 2

Or maybe the Mothman Museum in Pt. Pleasant is your kind of place. And what would a Mothman Museum be without the M.I.B?


If all of this seems to tame for you, how about some whitewater rafting? The Gauley River in Fayette County offers truly world-class rapids. Check out the video for some live action.  Go here to book a trip.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of my world. We’ll do it again sometime.

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