The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Outdoors

April 13, 2014

Spring break is an attitude

What really matters is we get outside and celebrate that winter is gone

BECKLEY — Finally, warmer weather has arrived to the Mountain State. I’m told, it’s socially acceptable to be late nowadays and there is even a term for it — being fashionably late. Of course, I have also been told that camo is the new black in fashion. I don’t care much for tardiness, or for fashion for that matter, but I am perfectly content with the weather forecaster’s report as of late. And if wearing camouflage is trendy, I will fit in just nicely at any social gathering.

Regardless, warmer weather is here and it’s time to enjoy the outdoors. For many of us, it’s spring break time. Some schools were already on break, some are out this week or the following, but that doesn’t matter. What really matters is that we get outside and celebrate the simple fact that winter is gone! (I mean, that spring has arrived.)

Spring break is not a time or a date on the calendar; it’s much more than that. It’s an attitude and a much-needed interruption from being cramped up inside. It doesn’t even have to be week or involve a tricky itinerary to someplace known for umbrella drinks and white, sandy beaches. For most of us who prefer to live in the outdoor lifestyle, we have all we need right out our back door, and all the planning we really need is to mark a day or two on our calendars.  

For me, spring break has always involved fishing. In the Spring breaks of my youth, the fishing most often entailed a trip to the mountains. Going to the mountains, the highlands of West Virginia found within the Monongahela National Forest was a spring ritual for my family, and some of my most fond memories of early spring are of places found there. Tent camping along a trout stream, a secluded hole of water full of trout, cooking breakfast over a fire and simply driving the peaceful gravel roads with the windows down were all part of the spring experience.

We didn’t need much back then, but a pair of Red Ball waders, some bait and a cooler full of provisions for a day or so and we were set. Besides, we always had fish to fry and ramps to add to our potatoes for our celebration meal at the end of the day. And if we were really lucky, we might even find enough molly moocher mushrooms for an out-of-this-world snack. Most celebration meals occurred around a campfire eating off of paper plates with plastic forks but for me, they were the some of the best meals of the year.

The mountains offer a glimpse into the wilds of our state with a backdrop of breathtaking scenery and a sense of peacefulness. The connection to nature one feels in the solitude of wild places is nothing short of magical. For me, a trip to the mountains is a fine reward of early spring. I cherish the memories made there and hold them with great value.

1
Text Only
Outdoors
  • 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
Helium
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