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....although born in West Virginia, I grew up in the flat, tidewater area of the east coast.
This area was nice enough...particularly the beaches.
My love affair with West Virginia's scenery began during our summer trips to Charleston when I was still pretty young. The mountain scenery stood in stark contrast to the flat, agricultural areas where I had lived for most of my youth.
The summer before my sophomore year of high school, my father took a job in Charleston and moved us to West Virginia.
For myself and my mother, it was a dream come true!.
Feelings of being wanted, welcome, at ease and at home...were almost immediate!
A few years later, I started going on trout fishing trips with two older brothers.
Not being an avid fisherman at the time, I was coaxed along with descriptions of the wonderful scenery I'd see along the way as well as the beautiful streams and rivers themselves.
For the first time, I experienced areas like Cranberry back-country, Spruce Knob Lake, Gandy Creek, Cherry River, Williams River, etc...and saw some country that until then, I had no idea even existed in West Virginia!
I had visited the more well-known locations, areas popular with tourists because of accessibility, several times with my family or friends, and while these areas were unique and beautiful...it was nothing quite like what I was seeing on our fishing trips!
The remote and rugged wildness, combined with their incredible natural beauty, made my already deep love for the state even more intense!
I began to envy the people who lived in these areas and wished I could myself...or at least closer to them, but at the time, it wasn't practical or possible.
So...I bought a camera!
It was my way of taking it all back home with me.
That was forty-three years....and an unbelievable amount of pictures ago!