Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Road Warrior Weekend

Weekends like these seem to be occurring much more frequent with increasing demands from work, family, & Trout Unlimited - and I occasionally get to fish.

This particular weekend started at 4:30 AM on a Friday, getting prepared for the kids' field trip to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium (a 2.5-hour ride to and around Columbus). We had never been to the zoo this early in the season and the critters were out and about.
Following several hours of walking, it was another 2.5-hour car ride home. We arrived back in Parkersburg at 5:00 PM, a quick dinner and I was back on the road with a destination of Kumbrabow State Forest. After another 2.75-hours on the road, I was setting up my tent in the dark.
I was scheduled to meet a coworker back down off the mountain at 7:00 AM the next morning. I woke before daylight, packed up, had a nice cup of instant coffee and then hit the road. Before I left the top of the mountain I stopped to snap a couple of photos of the amazing sunrise over Cheat Mountain.
Arriving at our meeting point, I grabbed another cup of coffee while thinking to myself "I really don't know where the Trout Unlimited state council meeting is". So while I waited on my coworker I grabbed the gazetteer and the GPS and tried to figure out where the Handley DNR cabin is actually located. I found the Handley public hunting area in the gazetteer - the cabin had to be in there somewhere.
My friend arrived right on time. The plan was to do a couple of hours of brookie fishing before I had to leave for state council. I took him to the stream I learned how to fly fish for brookies, but I had not fished it in three years. It fished just as I had remembered it, lots of fish but no size.
Regardless, the scenery was beautiful as usual:
The brookies are always beautiful. This little guy cam off before I could get him to hand and he just sat there like he was meant to be amphibious.
I picked up numerous brookies on a small, size 18 BH pheasant tail. My numbers caught the attention of my beginner friend so he ask me to show him how to fish a dropper. A couple of quick tips and he was also picking up brookies on a dropper.
I fished for about two hours and it was time to head toward state council. I gave myself plenty of time to get to my next destination, as I didn't really know where I was going. Another 1.5 hours, and a little bit of "site seeing" and I found the DNR cabin.
When I built the agenda for state council, I built it for four hours - it lasted a little over ninety minutes! With spare time and a location in the center of trout country, I took advantage of both and headed for another brook trout stream I had yet to explore.
I have a bad habit of checking out the stream as I drive and it bit me this day. I ditched the vehicle while checking out the headwater stream below the road. Thank goodness for four-wheel drive, as I eventually bored my vehicle out of the ditch.
I found my stream and started gearing up but before I could finish the sky opened up. The rain was coming down in buckets so I sat under the hatch and had lunch. I tried to wait out the rain but I had to meet my coworker back at Kumbrabow (another 1.5 hours away). I chased the storms back to the hard top of the Scenic Highway. This is the watershed I had just visited, following the rains.
The Scenic Highway has to be THE most beautiful drive in all of West Virginia! As I neared the end of the Highway, I headed back into the storms.
I drove through several patches of rain on the way back to the campground and when I arrived at my destination it had just finished a brief shower. While it was clear and still daylight, I hit the stream for a few minutes. My friend had already fished this section but it was close and I wanted to fish before the rains hit again. He informed me that while I was at state council he picked up fifteen brookies while fishing the dropper - he learns quick.
It was tough fishing but I did manage to pick up a couple more - on top.
With a couple of days of driving behind me I was beat so it was an early night. When I crawled into my tent it was still daylight. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow but my first sleep wouldn't last long. The skies opened up again and it rained hard most of the night.
I awoke before daylight again and after packing up again and another cup of instant coffee, I went to check out the stream. I was pleasantly surprised to see the water was not up or off color, despite the rains during the night.
I decided to take my coworker to another brookie stream that I had not fished in three or four years. It did not disappoint as we picked up fish in nearly every little pocket.
I fished for another couple of hours before I had to hit the road again. This time my destination, the WV DNR Commissioner's meeting, was another 1.5 hours away. I was to represent WV TU State Council at the meeting. This meeting was centered around approving new hunting regulations - not much on the coldwater fisheries side of things.
Following the two-hour meeting, I had another 1.5-hour drive home. My Road Warrior weekend was still not complete as I had another trip to Columbus (2 hours) scheduled on Monday. I am not sure how many miles I drove, but I spent a lot of hours behind the wheel and it was worth every minute of it!

1 comment:

Travis said...

Love your blog, and I am looking forward to more. Very nice camera work as well, some stunning pictures there.