I always enjoyed walking in the forest. Ever since I was a young boy growing up in the mountains of northcentral Pennsylvania I was out there, looking, mesmerized by all I could find. I was lucky to have grown up where I did. I think it gave me a much better perspective on life.

In the spring and summer it was all about fishing. My dad bought 4-wheelers when I was still in elementary school, and as I grew up my brother and I would ride them all over the place. We would go fishing for native trout miles from our house in the middle of nowhere. We never kept any, it was just, you know, fishing. We would also ride the 4-wheelers on just about every trail we could find and in places we didn’t have a trail. Exploring and adventure were our middle names. And, the things we saw and the wildlife that we crossed paths with, well, I would never trade that for anything.

In the winter it was about hunting. Nearly all the kids in our school district hunted. It was almost a way of life. We even had school days off for it. But, I’m not sure it was ever about the deer, at least not for me. Those that never hunted won’t understand that, and I get it. But, there is nothing like being out there just sitting and listening to the sounds. Pine forests were the best as the winds literally howled across the tops of the trees.. it was almost spooky. Trees cracking and popping from the cold weather. And, all the birds and squirrels that would religiously pass you by starting around 9 in the morning and then again about 415 in the afternoon. Freezing from sitting there before daylight only to have that sunlight hit you and warm you up as it rose and dodged the tree trunks as it hit you.

I remember one (of many) days sitting there listening and watching when all of a sudden a whiteout-type of snowstorm started. A brief 15 or so minute unloading of white flakes from the sky. It was just beautiful. And just as it stopped a large owl flew by landing in a nearby tree. It was just an amazing experience.

To this day those experiences growing up in the mountains stay with me. I’m not a big crowd guy and I’ll shy away from the OSV even when it is busy but not full. And, when I am down there I usually park somewhere and head out on one of the many trails leading back to the marsh crossing guts and inlets to get to wherever I may be going. It’s quiet back there, peaceful.

In the summer I will get my kayak or skiff out and head to places on the bayside. I don’t have a 4-wheeler these days or mountains to drive them in, but my kayak and skiff give me that adventure I continue to seek. You will see me on the beach in the summertime, but it’s nice sometimes just to walk looking for the horses swimming or the stallions fighting.

But my favorite seasons are and always have been fall and winter. They are the best seasons to be exploring the forests Assateague Island has to offer. Besides, I like being alone in the woods. It helps me think and recenter. And, it helps me get back to just who I’ve always been.

So, moving to Berlin this past summer from Salisbury has opened up a few doors in the exploring department. I actually get home from work with just enough time to spend about an hour in the woods before it gets dark. This is the first year since moving to the shore almost 24 years ago that I have been able to get out after work as much as I have this year. I told myself that I wanted to concentrate on some of Assateague’s other creatures for a few weeks before winter sets in.

I’ve really enjoyed myself getting out into the dark forests. I’ve had foxes sneak by me, bald eagles fly at treetop levels over my head, and whitetail bucks grunting behind me while sikas were bugling in front of me. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get pictures of all of that, but then again it isn’t always about a picture. Photography should always, always… always be about the experience. And the forests of Assateague Island have an overwhelming amount of experience to enjoy.

You may also like

Back to Top