posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:48 PM
Getting up early! What teenager wants to do that? That requires some kind of special reason and for me it was to go fishing with my dad. After a hardy
breakfast of bacon and eggs we would load up our gear while mom packed a lunch for us and filled a large thermos with strong coffee, the only kind she
knew how to make.
The trip to where ever we were going was always sprinkled with stories, questions and observations. The cab of the truck would always be warm and some
times I would have to fight off sleep. I would poor each of us a cup of coffee as we drove along through beautiful trees and along side clear streams.
The smell and taste of that coffee shared with my dad has never faded from my memory. How many times did I look across that cab at the side of his
face covered with a scraggly beard? How I loved to watch the corner of his lips curl up in a smile, it made me feel so safe and secure.
We both loved fly fishing so we would find a place where one of us would fish upstream and the other would fish downstream. Although there was no real
competition, we knew that who ever caught their limit and got back to the truck first won. After a while we would fight over which direction because
we knew the streams so well and we knew the best likelihood of success. A coin toss often settled which direction we each took.
Dad swore by the Royal Coachman but I was an Elk Hair Caddis guy. He was slow and methodical and covered the water like an artist paints a canvas. I
was young and impatient, utilizing my youth and strength to move back and forth, from side to side, over rocks and logs, to reach every possible trout
We would always stop and have lunch. If we didn't have our limits by noon we would clean our fish and nestle them into some wet ferns and put them
into the cooler. We would laugh and toss bits of our sandwiches to the squirrels and camp robbers. We would try to see how close we could draw them
in. We would then discuss which stream we would go to next to try to limit out. We typically drove out to the farthest point we were willing to drive
so we had plenty of options driving back.
Some of the streams were brushy and some were swampy, some were large and some barely four feet across. Some harbored rainbows, some cutthroat, some
brook and some bull trout, which were still legal to catch in most streams. Each of the streams had their own smell, some like granite, others musky,
and others with a myriad of wildflower fragrances.
We ate huckleberries from the bushes that hung out over the water along with thimble berries and wild strawberries. Our fingers and lips would be
stained, attesting to our presence. My connection to the earth and to my father was so tangible. We drank from the same cold clear waters and breathed
in the same life giving mountain air.
The ride back home was always a special time rehearsing the stories of the fish we caught and those we lost. Laughing and expressing our mutual joy
and appreciation for the world we shared. I am so glad I got up early.