Usually the outbound flight isnt that exciting. And usually I don't have anything but an aisle seat. A combination of events led me to sit alone and at a window seat. Being really tired and being the recipient of a clear sky, i enjoyed watching the rolling hills of WV pass underneath me.
About 20 minutes into the flight we flew over a patch of really hilly forested terrain. Then a large grassy valley opened up below us. Down the center of the valley a brown, windy river snaked southward. Something about the way the river bent and a single state highway cut through it made me realize i knew this place. First I picked up the little town of Renick. Then Spring Creek became obvious. And finally a sharp glint of a metal roof among some trees caught my eye and I realized I'd found the WVACS field station!
I followed the valley south past Maxwelton, Lewisburg, Ronceverte and Pickaway. I saw Davis Spring and wondered how many grad students get to see their field areas from the air. Around Union the clouds set in and the rest of WV was obscured. I closed my eyes - content that I'd gotten to see the part of WV I loved most from a completely unique perspective on its 150th birthday. Happy times!