CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A weekend of history-themed hikes and presentations begins Friday at New River Gorge National River, several Southern West Virginia state parks and the Tamarack auditorium in Beckley.
Hidden History Weekend, now in its fifth year, celebrates the Appalachian heritage of Southern West Virginia, and connects the region's current residents with sites that helped shape the area's history.
This year's Hidden History events range from a 1.5-mile walk along the battlefield at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park to a "Haunted History" hike, featuring regional ghost stories, at dusk near Thurmond in the New River Gorge.
All programs are free unless otherwise noted. Here's this year's schedule of events:
Hawks Nest History Quest, from 1 to 3 p.m., involves a history-themed scavenger hunt and a free ride on an aerial tramway. Participants meet in Hawks Nest State Park's main lodge lobby.
Babcock and the CCC, 6 to 7:30 p.m., starting from Babcock State Park's office building. See how the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal program, helped build the infrastructure for Babcock and other state parks on this 1.5-mile walk.
Under the Hills, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Tamarack auditorium. Storyteller Fred Powers, a retired miner and public schoolteacher, tells stories of coal's boom days and the lives of miners and their families.
Bluestone Walk, 10 to 11:30 a.m., starting from the bottom of the tramway at Pipestem Resort State Park. See remnants of the area's earliest farmsteads in a 1-mile walk, or opt for a longer, more strenuous hike of 3 miles to an old cabin and overlook at Raven Rock. A $2 fee covers a return ride to the top of the Pipestem tram.
Historic Thurmond Walking Tour, 11 a.m. to noon, starting from the Thurmond Depot Visitor Center. Life in this once-bustling railroad hub is discussed during this half-mile, ranger-guided walk.
History Roundabout, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Canyon Rim Visitor Center, near Fayetteville. Hear Appalachian music played on dulcimer and the bowed psaltery, see demonstrations on flint-knapping and view displays of American Indian artifacts found in the Gorge, and see and play with popular toys from the past.
The Nation's Most Dangerous Woman, 1:30 to 2 p.m., Canyon Rim Visitor Center Auditorium. A presentation on labor activist and organizer Mother Jones.