hiking rock climbing art photography journalism environmentalism philosophy
March 29, 2013
Graffitti on Keno's front door - We replaced it the first day we worked on the house, yet I couldn't help but love the illegal act of gentle encouragement.
Ten minutes down the road from Big Creek People In Action was an abandoned coal mining site. Stumbled across it while jogging and eventually went back with 5 others. One of the craziest places I've ever seen; Right outside I found a perfectly clean jaw bone of a stray dog
I'd never been in a forest quite like WV before. The mountains look so bare in the winter time, the trees like bristles or quills.
A fisherman enjoying the weather. This look was supposed to become a slurry for a coal mine (a waste dump), but Marsha saved it on accident. She tried to lead an investigation into whether any of the lake's oysters were endangered (thereby saving the lake), and was misquoted in a newspaper article saying that there were all 5 different endangered species in the lake. She was called the next day and assured that the lake would be preserved.
Liz and Neal writing in their journals at the community center.
Garland - A fisherman we met at Marsha's lake. He kindly talked with us for an hour or so. He told us how he was in a mine collapse and 4 of his friends died and how he served in Vietnam twice. He laughed and told us he was on his ninth life. The fish from the lake aren't edible, but it sure was a beautiful day.
The hill from the community center window.
Drive through North Eastern Virginia
Josh in the abandoned coal mine site.
A mural in the community center.
The abandoned coal mining site. The various buildings were all abadoned in '87. We found tons of old documents from the 70s and 80s, including records of all the injuries from each year.
Manuel, the smiliest man I've ever met, teaching us how to flatfoot.
This was the entrance to mine shaft half way down Kayford Mountain. Mountaintop removal mining creates copious amounts of sludge and contaminated water that is often pumped into such abandoned mines. A stream literally pours out of the mountain and directly into the watershed. This point source pollution left the hill red with rusting iron.
Chester playing blue grass for us.
Chester telling us his ridiculous stories. He told us how several years ago a college group came through, and he talked to a girl just like he was talking to us. The next year her school flew him out to stay for a week in California. Every summer that girl would come and stay at Chester's house for a week or so, and this year she got engaged. She decided she wants to have her wedding ceremony at Chester's house in the summer time. He told us with tears in his eyes.
Everywhere in McDowell County there are stray dogs wandering the streets.
One of the hills by the community center was covered by this strange weed.
Fuzzy, Cindy and Jay Jay. We helped them rebuilt their kitchen; installing counters, new floors, painting and cleaning. They are an adorable family who's love shows through everything they do.
Fuzzy's brother after his shift at the mine.
On the second floor of the abandoned building we found a labratory filled will empty bottles labeled with various chemicals.
Chase on Kayford Mountain. He shared his story with us; how his home was crushed when he was a child by rubble, projected from a mountaintop removal site during an operation. He shared how his friend died in the mine and how he was fired for asking for time off. He moved to Ohio and didn't come back for years - That day was his first day back on a West Virginian mountain in years. We all cried together.
A mountaintop removal site visible from Kayford Mountain. You used to look up at all the mountains, now you look down. This peak used to extend some 500+ feet upward.
The first night we were at Big Creek People in Action there was a "pro" wrestling match in the gymnasium. It was tons of fun and quite the performance. People in the audience would pretend to get really upset and we all yelled at whoever we wanted to lose at the moment.
Curly driving across the West Virginia border
A quick set of sentences that start with "I":
I am a sophomore from Seattle, Washington.
I love the Pacific Northwest to an obnoxious degree, and everyone at UofR can vouch for that. Nonetheless, I am finding, slowly but surely, that this little place called Richmond feels like home.
I discovered rock climbing last year, and have since spent virtually every moment of freetime at the climbing gym. I am actively involved with our Outdoors Club on campus as well as being one of the VPs of GreenUR (our sustainability club).
I have changed my mind about my majors four times over the course of my first year, but (at the moment) believe I have come to settle on Arts Mangement. Art intrigues, confuses, and captivates me.
I lived in Tokyo my senior year of high school, and despite everything being unbearably cute, I realized I am more American than I'd ever dared to believe. Nonetheless, traveling anywhere and everywhere is my goal. I try to get out of Richmond as often as possible, and definitely plan to study abroad.
The following change every few weeks, but....
My favorite movies are Harold and Maude, Me and You and Everyone We Know, The Fall, & Lost in Translation.
My favorite books are The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, & The Fountainhead.
My favorite bands are The XX, James Blake, LCD Soundsystem, Nicolas Jaar, Bon Iver, & Shlomo
Why UR?UR has an education unlike anywhere else. I know all of my professors so intimately, and there is always a community eager to help me along. After a five day visit as a prospective student I felt like I'd already found a group of friends. Of course, this group only blossomed into a wonderful network of people I can't believe I've only know one year. The lake and its surrounding campus are unreal. Too beautiful for words. The James is incredible, and Richmond's relationship with the river makes it unlike any other city in America. RICHMOND HAS THE BEST RESTAURANTS.