In Search of Thomas Patrick

The New Year kicked off to a rather cold start with freezing temperatures and a wind chill that took your face an hour to thaw after being exposed only 10 minutes.  Naturally, this was the perfect time to spend a day outdoors.

On New Year’s Eve, Jon and I braved the frigid weather and ventured to Summersville Lake to end 2013 with a few more geocaches.  Now, you may ask yourself why we drove an hour and a half to a traditional summer tourist location to geocache when there are plenty of caches near Charleston.  But we weren’t going for just any geocache: we were going in search of Thomas Patrick.

For those of you who don’t know, Summersville Lake is an excellent place to scuba dive and has earned its nickname “The Little Bahamas of the East.”  The lake even has its own dive shop where you can buy merchandise, become certified, and join a diving trip in the lake.  While there are many diving locations to choose from, one of the most popular is just beyond the dam at the winter boat ramp.  In the summer, the water brushes against the large parking area that signals the end of the road.  However when the lake is at winter pool, a surprise awaits those who continue just around the bend.

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Meet Thomas Patrick.  If my memory serves me correctly, Thomas Patrick was sunk in the 1990s specifically for diving.  Unless the water is drained in the winter months, the only way to access him is by diving nearly 30 feet below the surface.
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Growing up, I knew there was a boat sunk for diving purposes but I had no clue where it was as I am not a diver myself.  So imagine my surprise when I was browsing for geocaches and I found this one!  It’s called the Summersville Scuba Cache for Buzzy(GC318NB) and is a small magnetic container. While it is not on Thomas Patrick, it is in his vicinity…. and it’s tricky.  Jon and I spent a good 30 minutes looking for the cache while following directions on both my Garmin and my geocaching iPhone app but couldn’t find it.  The cache hadn’t been found in over two months when we were there so either it’s missing or we aren’t very good geocachers…. either is highly likely.  Luckily, we went on to find the other geocaches on our list, one of which included a spectacular view atop the cliffs at the Hughes Ferry Bridge waterfall.
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We had a wonderful last day of 2013 and enjoyed the outdoors regardless of the cold temperatures.  With grad school and my workload picking up, it’s been hard to carve out adventure time but it’s definitely something to make time for.  I can’t wait to see where in West Virginia 2014 takes me and I absolutely can’t wait to share my adventures with you!

Until next time,
Sara (WV Travel Queen)

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Mountain State Monday: Summersville Lighthouse

Happy Fall, everyone!  Yesterday marked the official start of my favorite season and I am so excited to see what it has in store for me this year.  In true fall fashion, the first full day of the season started off quite chilly and although I love the cold weather, I did not dress for it this morning.  Brrrr.  So for our Mountain State Monday, I’m going to take you back to warmer times — and the grand opening of the Summersville Lake Retreat Lighthouse!

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To celebrate West Virginia’s 150th Birthday, the Summersville Lake Retreat Lighthouse opened to the public on June 20, 2013.  It is West Virginia’s only lighthouse and stands 104 feet tall with a top elevation of 2,164 feet above sea level.  A steep 122 steps can take you to the top for a beautiful 360 degree view of Summersville Lake and surrounding areas.  Aside from being the only lighthouse in a land-locked state, what really makes the lighthouse unique is that it is made from a “damaged” wind turbine base from a nearby wind farm in Greenbrier County.

Jon and I visited the grand opening event on West Virginia Day back in June and I must say, the lighthouse and its views are really gorgeous!  On one side you have a view of the lake and on the other, you have Route 19 and farms.  It’s an odd combination, but for $7, it’s a cheap way to see an aerial view of the land and it’s a great stop for families.

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The lighthouse is still open daily through the end of October, so plan a trip today!  For more information on the Summersville Lake Retreat’s Lighthouse, visit http://summersvillelakeretreat.com/.

Until next time,
Sara (WV Travel Queen)