The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


November 25, 2012

Memories come in all shapes, sizes

BECKLEY — This past week I had reservations for a mini-vacation in a one-room cabin in the mountains situated high atop the Gauley River. The cabin sat overlooking a fine forested vista and was very private.  Although I never read the brochure for the cabin, I can only imagine it read something like this.

“With exquisite mountain views and locations just minutes from a National Park, our cabin allows you to take in a true mountain experience. Sit on your deck and gaze out at blue, misty mountains or immerse yourself in wilderness hiking, rafting, horseback riding and hunting or fishing. It’s all here for you! For a getaway that feels secluded but is still near great restaurants, entertainment and outdoor activities, look no further than our cabin. Our goal is to make your trip as special and comfortable as possible with warm hospitality and amazing amenities. Convenient to everything with family attractions, stores, specialty craft shops and plenty of restaurants. The cabin brings you the ultimate in selection and quality for every vacationer wishing to discover the magic of the Appalachian Mountains.”

We spent most of the week simply relaxing and enjoying the slow pace of mountain living. From the window of the cabin, we watched new days being born and the frost on the leaves of the forest floor sparkle from the day’s first rays of sun. The sun provided light and warmth in the cabin and was a simple gift we did not take for granted.

We too witnessed from the cabin windows, the long shadows of the trees slowly shrinking as the sun retreated behind the far mountain’s ridge as the chilled air rushed in signifying darkness was near.

In the long days afield, we observed nature not as a spectator looking on, but as a participant in the natural world. Perched high on a knoll and camouflaged by the understory of an old growth forest, we saw first-hand the interaction of the natural world and its inhabitants who call the woodlands their home. We were granted a front row seat to the show and with heightened awareness to our surroundings, we heard and smelled the grandeur that only the mountains of West Virginia can provide.

Crows called, chipmunks scurried, squirrels barked, turkeys scratched and deer browsed within sight of our little cabin.  The animals of the forest were entertainment and we thoroughly enjoyed the long days we spent in their world.

The true reason for my few days off from the responsibilities of work and life was to hunt whitetail deer on my hillside farm.  It was the first week of the West Virginia buck gun season and a season that has filled my Thanksgiving week since I was a young. Although I have participated in the traditional hunt for well over 30 years, this week’s hunt was different.  Perhaps because I am older or maybe the fact that my son is of age to appreciate nature and its bounty, the time spent in the cabin was simply a new and wonderful experience. It was time well-spent helping to unlock the magic and mysteries of the natural world through the eyes of a new hunter and one I hope becomes a new chapter in the tradition.

The fact is the cabin was just a simple hunting blind in the woods. Regardless, the memories were large enough to fill any cabin described in the lofty text of a brochure for a faraway vacation destination and as grand as any mini-vacation before. For that, I am truly thankful.      


Text Only
  • 071714 Coda and Callie.jpg Coda and Callie’s excellent adventure

    How is it something that you profess to love so much can cause you so much anxiety and grief? No, I’m not talking about dealing with your children (or your spouse). This is worse. This is about dogs. More specifically, hunting dogs. 

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071314 Chris Ellis.jpg DNR’s ‘outdoor summer school’

    Attention all West Virginia hunters and trappers. It is once again time for outdoor summer school and the course materials are hot off the presses.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Eurasian collared-dove

    Back in 1974 a local pigeon fancier imported a flock of about 50 Eurasian collared-doves to the Bahamas. Ultimately he released the birds, and they took to living in the West Indies. By the late 1970s some had reached south Florida, and by the late 1980s, some had been seen in Georgia and Arkansas.

    July 13, 2014

  • July in W.Va.: Recreational opportunities abound

    It’s July in the West Virginia mountains, which brings vibrant orange tiger lilies, blooming rhododendron, and of course fireworks. Usually the heat and humidity is in full force, but so far the weather has been nice.

    July 13, 2014

  • Shotgun 101: Shoot more and live better

    “God is not on the side of big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.”
    — Voltaire

    July 9, 2014

  • Fireflies are living lights

    At recent Fourth of July fireworks displays, spectators squealed with delight at the annual spectacle that illuminated the night sky. And I’m sure more than a few compared the spectacular pyrotechnics to the subtler displays of fireflies that punctuate backyards, parks, and campgrounds all summer long. We call these displays “nature’s fireworks.”

    July 5, 2014

  • Get on up, or you’ll get left behind

    “Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” —
    William Shakespeare

    July 3, 2014

  • Catfish, it's whats for dinner

    I think for far too long the catfish has had an image problem. They seemed to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the fish world. You know, they got no respect. Fortunately though (maybe unfortunately if you are a catfish), that seems to be in the past. They are a fish whose time has come.

    June 28, 2014

  • It’s more than a boat, it’s an adventure

    Growing up on Elk River, I couldn’t help being connected to the river and its waters. It is where I caught my first fish, learned to swim, paddle a canoe, to read water and throw a buzz bait, killed my first duck, gigged frogs and spent many a Saturday night fishing for catfish. We lived in a river bank community, and the Elk provided us with everything from water for our homes to all the recreation a young boy would need to fill his youthful requirements for adventure.

    June 28, 2014

  • Old friends at the beach

    If your summer vacation plans include a trip to an east coast beach, I can’t predict everything you might see. But one bird that I guarantee you’ll encounter many times is the laughing gull.

    June 28, 2014

Web Special Sections
  • Special Web Sections

    Click HERE for stories about natural gas and Marcellus shale gas extraction.

    Click HERE for stories about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

    Click HERE for stories about the passing of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

    Click HERE for stories from The Greenbrier Classic PGA TOUR event.

    August 6, 2010

Helium debate
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires