Birthday Excursion to Cathedral State Park

{Cathedral} An opening in the forestUntil that morning, I had never so intensely experienced the cool confines of an ancient hemlock forest! The moss covered trees were saturated with water from last night’s heavy rain fall. Millions of tiny water droplets clung to millions of tiny twigs, glistening like diamonds in the early morning light. {Cathedral} A path through the jungleEvaporating water filled the dense, jungle-like woods with a lingering mist. The visually-arresting vegetation and age-old flora accented the rushing, audibly-captivating streams and waterways. Cathedral State Park, situated high in the mountains of north-eastern West Virginia, is one of the last commemorations of the vast virgin forests that once covered the Appalachians!

{Cathedral} Damp leaves shimmering in the sunlight{Cathedral} Walking in the woods{Cathedral} One of many rushing stream

There are not many other places I would rather be for my birthday outing! Leaving our home as early as possible, we reached the historic forest in plenty of time to soak in the beauty and enjoy God’s creative creation. With camera (and tripod) in hand, we hiked all over the small, 133 acre park for two hours. God providentially brought out the sun and held off the rain until we had all piled back into the van at noon, muddy, exhausted and happy.

{Cathedral} Intricate flora{Cathedral} A glistening droplet of waterYes, it is refreshing to visit a new place every once in a while. But in new places it is very easy to overlook what is intricate or insignificant. Your own backyard hosts as many spectacular elements of creation as a large stand of old trees. Make sure to enjoy the extraordinary blessings of simple creation that God generously gives you every day!


  1. Michael April 24, 2007 at 6:51 am #

    I wish there had been a way to capture the whole forest shimmering in the sunlight when it shown through the branches covered with droplets of water. It makes me look forward to the manifestation of the New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21: “…and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious…clear as crystal….and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.” – verses. 10-11 and 18. Think about these words: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things” – see verses 6-7, and don’t leave out verse 8. We all must understand what it means to overcome.

  2. Donald April 24, 2007 at 8:09 am #

    Interesting you should mention that James! It was just resterday that I realized how many waves of migrating birds are coming through on the wings of spring to the woods on our own property. I saw a couple of the mroe common thrushes but was reminded of the well-named Hermit Thrushes that we found at Cathedral. God give each of us more alertness to the hidden blessings right around us!

  3. Joshua April 24, 2007 at 3:10 pm #

    Your tasteful use of adjectives captivates the imagination with wonder and anticipation. I wouldn’t mind checking out the forest myself sometime. You are right about the often overlooked beauties of the backyard. As I think about it, Dad is one who values these intricacies and enjoys frequent walks through the yard and surround areas. I think it is also a sign of contentment in that the ‘usual’ is viewed as peculiar and extraordinary.

    By the way, isn’t it true that hemlock is poisonous?

  4. Robert April 24, 2007 at 8:56 pm #

    Beautiful pictures, James! Can you believe that this is the state of creation after the curse?

    Yes, Josh, Wikipedia indicates that hemlock is poisonous. “This poison was administered as a method of capital punishment [in ancient Greece] and certainly the Greek philosopher Socrates drank a cup of some kind of hemlock infusion at his execution in 399 BC”. Interesting, eh?


  1. » Blog Archive » What hospitality! - April 27, 2007

    […] It was with great anticipation and excitement that we loaded the car and left Thursday morning on a long-awaited visit to Virginia. Our final destination was the Potter’s home, and along the way we stopped at several parks, including the magnificent Cathedral State Park. […]

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