North Bend summer

Published
Waypoints
Shawnee
Down by the river

Cool trees along part of the trail that runs through a streambed.
No idea what they are, but kind of tropical looking.
Buckeye Furnace
Charging house at the Buckeye Furnace complex, which went into blast in 1851 and ceased operations in 1894. This site was restored in the 70s.
These buildings sit in a clearing on the upper side of the complex.
On the other side of the clearing is the charcoal shed.
The shed was used to shelter the production of charcoal from timber and to store other raw materials.

Inside here steam was generated to power the engine house, and compressed air from the engine house was heated for the blast furnace below.
These long tubes held the water for the boilers, which generated steam using exhaust gases from the furnace.
Approaching the bottom half of the complex.

Looking up the towering furnace stack.
The hearth empties out into the casting house.
Furnace nameplate, 1851.
The pig iron molds were worked directly into the sandy floor.
Interior of the casting house in front of the furnace mouth.
This big wheel was used to drag away the cooling limestone-flux slag, which was drained onto the casting floor. A heavy chain was attached between the slag and wheel to pull it away from the iron casting molds, then it was smashed into small pieces with sledge hammers. You find tons and tons of this glassy stuff scattered around the grounds of these old furnaces.

The steam-driven air compressor sits inside this engine house.
Engine house, charging house, and casting house.
Woodwork of the casting house ceiling.
Zaleski after the rain
Pretty good thundershowers rolled through in the early AM.
Some bright orange shrooms.
North Bend rail trail
This trail lies on the abandoned B&O rail line between Parkersburg and Clarksburg. From Parkersburg the line used to run through Athens and westward. For this trip I stopped by Eaton Tunnel, then walked the stretch from Cairo to Tunnel №10 and back. Some excellent posts with a lot of background: Parkersburg to Clarksburg Part I and Part II
Tunnel №21 (Eaton Tunnel)
Heading west on the old railbed.
Approaching the eastern portal.
It's only about a quarter mile from a nearby pulloff area to this side.
№21
This tunnel is the longest of the day at 1840ft. The far portal seems tiny when you step inside.
View in the other direction before setting off.
Somewhere around halfway through a damp fog started rolling through from the far portal. Here we're almost out.
A little over 10 minutes after walking in, we reach the other side under clouds.
This line was abandoned in 1988, and the rails were removed from Parkersburg to Clarksburg.
West portal in all its glory.

In 1963 B&O closed the whole line from Parkersburg to Clarksburg for a time in order to raise the headroom of all the tunnels in between. №21 had to be fully bored through and lined during that effort, as the original 1854 tunnel through this hill collapsed while it was being worked on. The collapsed tunnel lies some distance away to the right of the frame.
This end now cleared
Following the slowly rolling fog back out.
In total, there were 23 tunnels on this stretch of line. Of those, I believe 13 are still standing to be experienced today, including a 2300 footer closer to Clarksburg.
From here I attempted to follow two different gravel roads to №19 (Silver Run), but both ways quickly became flooded and rutted and impassible for me, so I decided to cut my losses and head on to Cairo. Probably better to take the way in from the east.
Cairo to Bonds Creek
It's a little over 5 miles from Cairo to Tunnel №10, for a round trip of 10 miles. Ended up at a little over 5 hours for me.
This stretch has 5 stream crossings with these old bridges. Also several daylighted and bypassed tunnels along the way.

The walnuts and sycamores stuck out to me on this trail.

This bridge emerges onto a mellow pasture.



Tunnel №13 (Bonds Creek Tunnel)
This tunnel sits just beyond a bridge over Bonds Creek.
Viewing Bonds Creek from the bridge.
Viewing the bridge from Bonds Creek.
This was the site of a train crash in May 1956. A westbound National Limited passenger train collided with rockslide debris after emerging from the tunnel and derailed off this bridge into the creek.
Same angle from 63 years ago. My grandpa worked on the B&O mail train and was injured in the crash. He passed down two photos from the scene, including this one. It shows an engine crashed into the creek and another car hanging upside down off the bridge.
A nearby plaque about the accident.
Checking out the western bank of Bonds Creek.
Must have been taken with shaky hands, but it looks like a B&O crane car hauling some wreckage out of the creek. The tunnel appears to be just visible in the background.
Similar view from these days.
Crossing the creek again
This tunnel was dug through around 1854.
№13
It's 353ft to the other end.
Cubby hole in the lining.
This tunnel is brick lined throughout.
Approaching the eastern end.
Western portal and retaining wall
This side is much more shady and overgrown.
Eastern portal from a distance.
Tunnel №12
№12 and the hill above. This tunnel was bored through around 1853.
Approaching the western portal.
This tunnel is 577ft long, the longest on this stretch.
№12
In contrast to the full brick lining of №13, the ceiling in this tunnel transitions to bare rock just inside the portals.
More of the rock and anchor bolts as the tunnel continues on. The ceiling was originally arched through the whole length, but it was later squared off as part of the 1963 effort to increase headroom.
Cubby hole with ornametal brickwork.
Looking back at the western portal.
Approaching the eastern portal.
View to the east.
This side is a little more overgrown.

Between 12 and 10
The walk between 12 and 10 is about three times as long as between 13 and 12.
The 176ft Tunnel №11 was daylighted in this section.

Muddy Hushers Run.
An abandoned shack down the bank by the creek. Think it would be a pretty damp place to set up shop.
Tunnel №10 (Patterson's Tunnel)
Crossing Hushers Run to approach the western portal.
There was a fog rolling through №10.
Continuing the trend, this tunnel was the most primitive so far, with no lining on the solid rock bore.
Lots of rock bolts anchored in the ceiling.
This tunnel was dug through around 1855.
It's 377ft from one end to the other.
End of the line for the day.
The rock and fog and cool dampness was special at this one.
Eastern portal from a distance.
Heading back

One last crossing over Bonds Creek.
Abandoned house not far down the line.

Sun setting on the Bank of Cairo.
River towns
Sun rising on the Ohio at Parkersburg.

Crossing the Little Kanawha.
Point Park


Heading over the Parkersburg-Belpre bridge.
View from the bridge.
Good times walking around Point Pleasant.
Looking down the Kanawha from the Bartow Jones bridge.
Obligatory mothman.
Looking down the Ohio and the Silver Memorial bridge.

Norfolk Southern railroad bridge, built around 1885.
Kyger Creek plant just up the river.

Huntington seen from the Byrd bridge.
Vesuvius fireplaces
These fireplaces sit up on a hill right at the beginning of the Vesuvius backpack trail near Ironton. This might have been some sort of CCC lodge, since the lake and surrounding trails owe their development to that work back in the day.
The flashing is intact on both stacks.
This stretch of trail is littered with charred limbs and tree stumps, so fire might have rolled through here at some point and burnt the building to the ground.