Spring, Easter & keeping on

It’s so easy to look at the new growth of spring and think about Easter’s message of resurrection. Everything that’s blooming right now — the trees budding, leaves opening, flowers reaching up through the soil — was built to come back to life. All of these plants are designed to flourish themselves… to grow atContinue reading “Spring, Easter & keeping on”

How not to mess up your own fun

Who knew, back when we used to swing on trees and hide out under the forsythia bush on summer days, that “getting outdoors” would one day be a thing. Like, a Thing. An activity. A hobby. An industry. As kids, we were just told to outside and play, so we did. In a tiny townContinue reading “How not to mess up your own fun”

Written on the snow

People who’ve spent a lifetime roaming the outdoors can see things that other folks would walk right past, unawares. They know how to read broken twigs, bare spots on a tree trunk, animal droppings and even how a pile of leaves is disturbed, as clues to critter movements and behavior. The rest of us, evenContinue reading “Written on the snow”

High Rock: Little hike for a big view

One of my go-to hikes in our area is a very moderate walk south along the top of Sleepy Creek Mountain toward a spot called High Rock. You get a lot of view from this short-ish out and back hike (4 miles). The destination has towering rocks, and a manageable ledge that affords a sweepingContinue reading “High Rock: Little hike for a big view”

Pack the good socks: working a hike into just about any trip anywhere

I’m biased, but I think hiking is the ultimate outdoor activity — you can do it just about anywhere with zero special equipment. People travel to amazing destinations just to take epic hikes, and plenty of us roam the trails and mountains all around our home territory. But don’t forget that you can get trailContinue reading “Pack the good socks: working a hike into just about any trip anywhere”

A poke of purple in the woods

Clusters of dark purple berries stand out in West Virginia woods as trees and shrubs are losing their summer green, and the oranges and reds of fall start creeping in. In a dry spell, pokeweed’s bright red stems and berries are a real stand out in fields and at the edge of forest openings andContinue reading “A poke of purple in the woods”

Catch the WV mountain laurel bloom on the Ziler loop trail at Cacapon State Park

Mountain laurel is blooming right now in our part of West Virginia — in the part we call the Eastern Panhandle. Morgan County has its share of mountains, which means lots of places to look at this wild flowering shrub as its blooms open up. This week I’ve been on laurel patrol in Morgan County.Continue reading “Catch the WV mountain laurel bloom on the Ziler loop trail at Cacapon State Park”

Taking kids hiking – the agony & the magic

17 minutes. That was our magic number. You’re not going to believe me, and maybe for your kids it’s more like 11 minutes. Bless your heart if it’s 25. For me and my kids, the first 17 minutes of many walks in the woods was dotted with protests, complaints, delay tactics and general griping. ItContinue reading “Taking kids hiking – the agony & the magic”

Two out of three ain’t bad: more about spring in the West Virginia woods

Like I said before, spring in West Virginia zooms at the speed of sunlight. Take a week’s break from the woods and there’s a whole other type of tree or wildflowers blooming when you go back. Open winter views are now closed up by a glowing green curtain of new buds and leaves. In aContinue reading “Two out of three ain’t bad: more about spring in the West Virginia woods”

West Virginia wildflowers: Good luck keeping up

Spring in the Mountain State comes on strong. We jump from a grey and brown forest floor to carpets of wildflowers in no time flat. The past few days have delivered summer-like temperatures and powerful sunshine, revving up the spring cycle. It’s here, whether you’re ready for it or not. Nothing to do but plugContinue reading “West Virginia wildflowers: Good luck keeping up”