Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monongahela National Forest

When: Monday, August 31st
Where: Blackwater Falls, Canaan Valley and Dolly Sods, in Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia
What: Sightseeing, exploring and a bit of trout fishing.
Weather: Sunny, high near 70 (and, as advertised, 10 degrees colder in Dolly Sods).

It probably took us two and a half hours to drive out to Blackwater Falls, but it was worth every minute of it.

We drove past Spruce Knob, through Canaan Valley and eventually through the throwback town of Davis on our way. Every second of this drive was beautiful, and fully encompassed what I consider to be the most picturesque country that one can find in the northeastern United States. Whether it be rolling hills, towering mountains, expansive valleys, lush pines, clear streams or rocky riverbeds, this area in eastern West Virginia has a bit of it all.

After soaking in the falls for a few, we took a different and much more treacherous way back to Roanoke so we could make our way into Dolly Sods. The information at the base of the Sods promised us a drop in temperature, difficult terrain and unpredictable weather. The ability to read a topographic map was strongly suggested. Nice. We planned on hiking a small loop which resided atop a steep, rocky hill, but stopped short after we realized just how long it was going to take us to drive up there. We did manage to walk a bit on a trail that was a shorter distance up and Lindsay managed a few pics of some of the diverse vegetation that the region is famous for.

While heading out of the National Forest, we crossed over a stream that I was convinced would provide me with a trout, so we stopped and fished for a bit. I took a Loomis from the truck, exchanged a spool for 4lb. fluorocarbon and put on a small spinner.

As soon as we approached the stream, the native brook trout could be seen scurrying away. It didn't take long before I hooked and landed a nice sized brookie, but it flipped out of my hand before Lindsay could snap a pic.

We spent a little more time on the stream, enjoying the scenery while Lindsay made her first attempt at catching a trout.

We didn't catch any more trout, but the one that I did catch was well worth the little time that we put in.

All good things must come to and end though, and we hopped back in the truck for the long, beautiful ride home.

Our home at Stonewall, that is.

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