Monongahela NF, Virginia, USA by James Nichols

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Picture Story

Every year, we opt to take a hiking excursion outside rather than spend the day fighting the crowded streets and stores on Black Friday. This year's adventure kept us a bit closer to home exploring some of the great photo opportunities you can find around the small towns of Davis and Thomas, West Virginia.

We climbed up to the top of Olson Observation Tower, a 136-foot high fire tower originally built in 1922, it was the first fire tower in the state of West Virginia. The tower offers those to scale up to the top breathtaking 360-degree views of Parsons, Blackwater Canyon, Canaan Mountain, and other parts of the Monongahela National Forest.

At the base of the fire tower, the ground was wet but no snow or ice laid on the ground. Once we made it halfway up the tower's steps, we started to see the frost and ice forming on the steps and rails.

The icy trees glistened in the warm sun, offering us such an awesome view. This image was created using two photos, and stitching them together into a 16:9 panoramic using Adobe Lightroom.

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