Saturday, June 28, 2008

Twin Falls State Park

On the third day of my trip I woke up at Twin Falls State Park. The day before had been one of those exciting travel days when my eyes and head get so full of exciting things I have seen and done. This trip being during the long days of Summer, I had stretched the previous day very long and rolled into the Twin Falls campground in the drizzly dark. I saw no park personnel at the campground, and no campers. So I did the self register thing after finally figuring out which site of the many available I wanted. It was a little spooky being the only one there. I've been to this park before and it always seems under-utilized. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere in southern West Virginia, with miles of 2 lane roads isolating it from those who rarely leave the Interstate. I think it is very nice though.

The morning was a little cloudy and threatening rain. I decided to take a bike ride before enjoying the unpopulated shower facilities. The "Cliffside Trail" departed right from the campground, so it was my natural choice. I took my GPS with me and made the map below with the GPS Visualizer website. If you click it you can see it bigger. GPS Visualizer color coded my route based on the elevation.

The trail started out as fairly level riding on an old road. On the topo map it is labeled as "jeep road." Early on I saw a big flying thing which turned out to be a barn owl. It wanted nothing to do with me and flew off on big silent wings. The trail then started down steeply and I was thinking that I would not like the coming back up part. I almost fell down once. I was going down a steep section and tried to put my feet down and they just slid on the ground. So I crashed down on the crossbar and the pain was enough to make a shy bald Buddhist reflect and plan a mass murder. Actually it wasn't that bad because of my special padded bike shorts.

I reached the "cliffside" part of the trail and the scenery made the quick jump from rolling wooded terrain to much more vertical and dramatic as it seems prone to do in that part of WV. Above is an attempt at a panorama photo done with the tinycam. The weather remained changeable with occasional sun and light rain and low clouds skulking in the gorge as in the photo. The ride back was nice and followed by the hot shower. I packed up and left and still never saw any park employee or another camper.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tenuous Arguments

On my recent trip I learned that there are Virginians who are still mad about West Virginia's split from the state during the civil war. One of the arguments they make is that it was a violation of the US Constitution for a state to be created from the territory of another state. This seems ironic since Virginia had seceded from the United States at that time. I think that is also forbidden in the Constitution.

Hearing today about the trials now under way at Guantanamo Bay caused me to find similar irony. The media is sequestered away and listens to the trial over speakers that can be muted to prevent them from hearing classified information. One of the defendants was talking about the psychotropic drugs he was presently being given by doctors there. The speakers were turned off so that reporters couldn't hear what the drugs were. It was explained that it would be a HIPAA violation to reveal his health care information. The irony is that the trials are there at gitmo because the government says the US Constitution doesn't apply there. I guess HIPAA regulations reach farther than the Constitution? Now that I think about it, since the defendant was talking about himself, the question comes up: is it a HIPAA violation to reveal your own health care information?