We all had some place in our past that we look fondly upon. Thinking about those spots often takes us back to the carefree world of childhood. We had our own little “S**t Crick” where we spent a lot of time engineering dams, flipping rocks and catching “craw-crabs.” We also had our own” up in the woods”. Yep that is where we said we were going and that was enough. You sure couldn’t have kids doing that, nowadays. The woods consisted of a fairly dense hardwood forest, with huge boulders. The upper end of the same creek split the woods. That is where I found my first arrowhead. What a wonderful place it was to explore. It is gone; now. I can hear and feel the trees hitting the ground right now; as I write this. Acid mine drainage was diverted into the creek several years ago. It is now orange. Nothing is left in the woods except the boulders.
When I was growing up; I wanted to be the best turkey hunter around these parts. Early on in my quest: I found a very good area. I was able to spend a lot of time there and I learned a lot of things. I was also able to keep it fairly secret. I harvested my very first spring gobbler there and many more afterward. I became a turkey hunting guide and spent about two decades away from WV. No matter where or how far away I was living; I always knew where I would be at some point during the first two weeks of May. I always made it back there for 2 or 3 days. That ridge never failed me throughout the years. It is great to have a spot like that. It too is gone, clear-cut and leased. I haven’t even ridden down that road in a decade. I know it would make me sick to just see what has happened to the area.
This month would be an excellent time for all of you to go back and find your old special places; if they still exist. I figure that if a spot isn’t good in May, there isn’t much hope for it during the rest of the year. I need to do the same and find a spot somewhere that I really enjoy fishing. I know there are plenty of spots out there for the taking. It just takes some effort to find them. It seems to me as if all of the places I really liked on our trout streams were highly affected by the fall of 1985 flood. I know that I need to go looking with an open mind.
Yes, this is the time to go back and visit your old haunts. You never know how long they will last or if they are still there. Better yet, encourage someone else to give up the technology and go out and get lost in the real world. Give a spark to the exploration and imagination to someone who doesn’t yet realize that special places still exist. They will fondly remember you long after you are gone. Most of all; enjoy May. It doesn’t last nearly long enough.
This article first appeared in the May 2014 print edition of Two-Lane Livin .