This time of the year there is really not a lot to write about except for maybe the trout stockings.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources does a very thorough job in announcing this to the public. I have not done any serious fishing for at least ten years. When I did go, I was one who preferred the lakes over the streams.
Most of the people who like to fish in Randolph County prefer the streams, and I really can't say that I blame them.
From some of the serious anglers that I have talked to in the last two weeks tell me, some real beauties have been stocked in the Shavers Fork area near Bowden.
I know some people would like for the DNR to stop announcing where they plan to stock on any given day or week. A lot of people have made it a habit of following the stock truck. Remember, there is no state law or regulation that prohibits this.
This year the winter has been exceedingly mild. Many outdoor adventurers (backpackers, campers, cyclists, etc.) are eager to get out and explore the wilderness. In this area, there is a very scenic, but little known, overlook about 25 miles from downtown Elkins.
This is by the way the crow flies. There are many curves between these two locations.
Mount Porte Crayon is the sixth highest point in West Virginia. This summit is a mountain in the Roaring Plains extension of the Dolly Sods Wilderness.
The summit area is an 8.11-acre prescribed management area and is a Research National Area for native mountaintop red spruce forest, home to the endangered northern flying squirrel.
It is located in the extreme northeastern corner of Randolph County (actually it is on the Randolph-Pendleton county line). The elevation is 4,770 feet.
This past week, I was talking to a few retired DNR personnel about this location. All were quick thar the trail to get there is "rough and wild."
The Flatrock Run Trail (also known as Forest Service Trail #519) is probably the best way to reach the summit of this very remote area.
Most of this trail is in the Monongahela National Forest. On foot, the hike is somewhat long. The total length is well over five miles, and most of it is uphill.
The walk up to this summit is not for those who have a walking handicap, anyone with a cardiac condition or bad heart, and those who are not in the best of health.
For those who can meet the challenge of this hike, the views are worth the effort.
Now, before I go any further, I need to say the closest I have been to this location is probably when I did some squirrel hunting in the Onego area near Smith Mountain. This was nearly forty years ago.
A few people have told me they would not recommend this area for deer or bear hunting. The thought of dragging one of the animals for five miles simply makes me tired even if the drag is downhill.
The Flatrock Run Trail begins in the Red Creek Valley. The first mile makes a gradual climb through private farmland until it meets the national forest boundary. It's the last two miles that are strenuous, but rewarding, from the information I have been able to gather on Mt. Porte Crayon.
The one thing I would highly recommend for anyone over 40 is they have a good physical examination before taking on the challenge of this long hike. I would also recommend that hikers get topo maps of this area and study them thoroughly.
Last week, I was talking to some of the DNR personnel of the Elkins Operations Center about the 2011 Big Game Bulletin. The 2011 bulletin can be brought up online at www.wvdnr.gov, but it has not been printed up yet for handout. The DNR should have it ready by March 13 when they host the regulations open house meeting at the Operations Center. All serious nimrods and anglers should already have their calendars marked for this date and try to make an effort to attend this meeting.