Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Planning your visit to HMT

Come on home to WV….

So you have decided you want to visit the world famous Hatfield-McCoy Trails and see what all the excitement is about for yourself.
Maybe you have seen feature stories about the Hatfield-McCoy Trails in your favorite ATV, dirt biking or outdoors magazine. Maybe you saw a feature story on it on the Outdoors Network or on a cable outdoors show. Maybe you even saw pictures of one of your favorite country music stars riding the Hatfield-McCoy Trails and for whatever reason, like millions of other people it has piqued your interest.
So, you started poking around online and perhaps you came across references to HMT on different forums, web sites or even our Facebook Page…What you saw only excited your interests that much more and you have decided to come and see for yourself what everybody is raving about.
So, where do you start???

Let me give you some advice. Years ago, there used to be an earthy phrase used by many folks in the Military. It went something like this -Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Nowhere is that more true than when planning a vacation. There is more to a happy HMT adventure than just attaching your machine to the back of your truck and driving to WV. In fact, if you do that, without calling ahead and making reservations at an area hotel or motel or campsite, you may be in for an unhappy awakening. Basically, because so many people come to Hatfield-McCoy Country day in, day out, year in year out sometimes lodging space can be at a premium. So it is always a great idea to reserve your spot waaaaaaaaaaaayyyy ahead of time.
But relax, we are here to help.
If you are coming to the region, one of the best things you can do is go to our web pages and find out as much as possible.
One good place to start is here….


http://www.trailsheaven.com/planyourtrip/default.aspx

Another good place to go is here….

http://riders.trailsheaven.com/forum

Specifically, here..

http://riders.trailsheaven.com/forum/categories/plan-your-adventure/listForCategory

And here, where you can contact the real pros- fellow riders who have been here again and again, as well as the folks who operate hotels, motels, lodges and campgrounds.

http://riders.trailsheaven.com/forum/categories/lodging-openings/listForCategory

And don’t be shy. Ask questions! Because the information you can get now, will help you have a happy adventure in the future. Last year, I ran into a guy who got lucky. You see, he had heard about the trails and he was familiar with Southern West Virginia, so he just showed up on the first week he had off.
Problem was, the Southern West Virginia he was familiar with was the one from before Hatfield-McCoy, when local hotels and motels were struggling to get occupants. Needless to say such is not the case right now. If you have seen Jeff Lusk , our executive director, on television, you have probably seen him say that one of the biggest challeges the trail system has right now is that we don’t have enough lodging in our region. Most of the bigger chains will tell you they are at 80-90 percent occupancy year round!
Anyway, back to our hapless visitor….
He was lucky enough to find somewhat unsuitable lodging in a local motor court that was more set up for out of state construction workers than tourists. … Needless to say, when he stopped in at Bearwallow and explained his plight, we began calling around. He got VERY LUCKY. It seems one of the nicer, newest establishments had a cancellation and he got more suitable lodging for his week at HMT!
Yeah, it can happen that way- but don’t count on it happening for you …
Remember, Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Plan ahead and reserve your hotel or motel or campground space!

Another thing to think about is what gear you will need.
Of course you will need your safety geat like helmet, goggles, etc…
It never hurts to bring emergency stuff such as a compass, tools to work on your ride, etc….
When it comes to clothing that’s a seasonal question.
As I am writing this it is November and it’s the fall foliage season when the leaves are yellow and red, and more are falling every day. In the nightime, it can drop down to 36, while in the daytime it can get into the 60s and 70s…Needless to say, if you enjoy Muddin - and many people do- you need to be aware of the dangers of Hypothermia this time of the year. Fall and spring are times when you want to dress in layers that can be doffed as the weather heats up, or donned as the weather cools down. In the summertime, you will want lightweight and cool clothing, etc….
Permits can be obtained online, or, when you get here you can get them from local businesses, trailheads and so forth. Check out our Facebook page and read the McBlog regularly. Sometimes when we find out information about other events going on in our region that would be of interest to our riders, we pass it along. At certain times of the year we have concerts, historical reenactments and other events in and around towns like Matewan, Logan and so forth. There is a museum in Chief Logan State Park which has different exhibits throughout the year and events such as West Virginia Days, music festivals and so forth. Gilbert features comedy club night at an area night spot and so forth. If you thought the movie “Matewan” was exciting and dramatic, wait till you see the reenactment of the Matewan Massacre right in the streets where the real event happened!
There are also many fishing holes in the region that are popular with locals and tourists alike. It’s not a bad idea to pick up a local newspaper in the region and check out their “community calender” or “calender of events” features.

Also, its not a bad idea to decide which trails interest you the most. Remember, we have over 500 miles of maintained trails to offer the ATV, UTV and dirt bike enthusiast….and each of the different trailheads has a different identity and different attractions to different types of riders.

If you are a new rider and want an easy experience, you will want to check out Little Coal River.
If you are an “Extreme” kind of guy and want a challenge with your adventure, you will definitely want to try Rockhouse.
Dirtbike riders will find pleanty of single track adventure around Buffalo Mountain and for those who want some scenic beauty with fun riding there are places like Pinnacle Creek and Indian Ridge. Bearwallow has a little bit of everything.

Even the ill-prepared fellow who came to HMT country without planning ahead admitted to me that he had a really good time. But if you want to MAXIMIZE your fun and minimize problems sit down and plan out your visit ahead of time to make the most of your own Hatfield-McCoy Trails Adventure.

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