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West Union, West Virginia 3-14-02

Howdy Everyone!
On Wednesday I learned the true meaning of the value of being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I walked 19 miles on the Rail Trail from Ellenboro to West Union, and the hike was great. The weather was nice and fairly warm, plus the trail was mostly flat. Along the trek to West Union I walked through 3 tunnels. The first 2 were around 700' long, but the last one was HUGE -- nearly half a mile long! The tunnels are pitch black inside and all I had with me was a little tiny flashlight. At 2,297' long, it was really unnerving to walk into a hole that's THAT DARK and THAT LONG. I decided then that cave exploration was not my main calling in life.
The first 2 tunnels were somewhat wet inside with water dripping down into the tunnel, but the 3rd long one was completely dry inside. That kindof suprised me. From the first step into the long tunnel, you could always see the light at the other end, but while walking into it, it never seemed to get closer. Several times I turned around to see if I'd gotten any farther. It really did seem to take forever to get to the other end of the tunnel, but I finally did. I was so glad to get out of that tunnel and have it behind me! After I got into town, locals then told me that there had been some witchcraft and rituals practiced inside that tunnel. (Oh great. Thanks for telling me that now.) There is a story about the Ghost of the Silver Run Tunnel. This tunnel is located toward the beginning of this trail, in an area that I didn't walk. Legend has it that on foggy, moonlit nights near the Silver Run Tunnel, a beautiful woman in a long, flowing dress appears. For many, many years, trains traveled through the hills between Grafton and Parkersburg. When the train's engineer brought his train to a shuttering, fiery halt in the Silver Run Tunnel one foggy evening in 1910, his crew and his bosses thought that he was crazy. Up until that time he had been afraid to tell anyone the story. "A beautiful woman with raven hair, a long white gown, and a jeweled brocade was standing in the middle of the tracks at the far end of the tunnel" he said. When he stopped the train, no one was there. The railroad changed engineers, but the next one saw the same apparition. He repeatedly stopped the train, to find no one. Late one night as he neared the tunnel, the woman was standing on the moonlit tracks. He threw open the throttle and the train roared towards Parkersburg. Phones began to ring at the Railroad Terminal there. "A train just passed with something white on the front. It appeared to be a woman" said most of the callers. When the train arrived in Parkersburg, there was nothing -- not even a reveling of clothing or a hint that anything had touched the front of the train. Where did this woman come from? Where did she go? And why did she want the train to come to a screeching halt? Only the Ghost of the Silver Run Tunnel knows for sure! When I got into West Union, I met up with Mark, pastor of the Baptist Church. He had my cart at his house, and then took me to High Street B&B, a beautiful Queen Ann Victorian house, where they let me stay for free. After walking 19 miles, exploring tunnels, and meeting up with ghosts, gobblins & witches (yeah right), being able to soak in the clawfoot tub and sleep in a beautiful room with a comfortable bed was wonderful! Today (th) I'll walk the trail on to Salem, around 14 miles away. According to the map, I'll be crossing several bridges, but only going through one tunnel that's 846' long. When I get to Salem, I'll contact Father Pete, who will let me stay in the church for the night. Y'all take care and have a great day! KB


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