Again, it has been a while since I last posted, for which I must apologize. I do have a couple of reasons for this absence, though…
Work has been the busiest that I have seen, in the eight years that I have held my current role. My company acquired, combining client portfolios, etc, take a lot of time and eats up a lot of energy. This, however, has just drawn to a close, thankfully.
More of an issue, however, was a protracted bout of illness, starting just after Christmas, which is still attempting to linger. The net impact of this was a long string of days without energy, with painful and persistent coughing, etc… But, as with most things that life throws at us, there are aspects that one can translate into different topics.
I spent a good amount of more than a month sleeping more than usual, to try to maintain as much energy as possible. This got me thinking…
…what does that look like, in some of my favorite outdoor destinations, when they sleep for the winter?
On one of the first days where I had enough energy, and following a gentle snowfall, I headed up to see how my top listed fishing spots spent their cold season days. Starting out, I could see that I had picked a great day, even before really getting into the more fishable areas. Blue skies and patchwork clouds making for a clear but not overly bright drive.
As I drew nearer to the mountains, the clarity of the air, dusting of snow, and the overall scope of them once again drew my attention. It is one of the side effects of usually focusing tightly on the driving that one misses such things, until or unless you intentionally refocus. It’s a reminder to take the time to stop, when you can, and pay attention to those beautiful things than pass you by, every day.
The first areas I reach are one of the mid-season favorites and the end-of-season section, where the pocket water is often so kind to me. Both of them lightly dusted in snow and relatively quiet.
After this stretch, there is a bit of a drive until I get to my other selected locations. Many areas of private land running along the river’s edge make for great viewing…but few opportunities to explore or experience them, in the normal season, as you head up into the mountains.
At last, a stop along the American River, just off the American Forks campground… to which access was blocked, being closed for the winter months.
After looking for possible areas of closer access, in the hope that I could catch even a long shot of the Bumping River, where I fished on the first day of the last season, I hop back in the truck (mainly to thaw my feet), and head down to a smaller tributary of the Naches.
With the snow a bit deeper, and the water a bit higher, the area where the water usually runs over a quick drop and into a rock face is breathtaking. So calm and peaceful.
Moving a bit upstream, I find a stretch where there is a long rut on the bottom of the river, near to the right side (facing upstream), and the fish I often catch are a bit larger than the norm. On this day, the muffled sounds of the woods, and the absence of even distant cars or people camping to be heard, make the idea of pulling up a chair and just soaking up the serenity very enticing…except for the chill.
Heading back to the truck, I realize that I had parked next to this frozen scene, so focused on the river on the other side of the road that it had not even registered as I arrived.
Last stop, yet farther upstream. I find myself drawn to it by the faint mist that rolls down the river, as the sun begins to warm up a bit of exposed earth ahead, as well as the tree trunks in the area.
Altogether, a beautiful day. Nice to see these spots in their quiet and peaceful rest, but it makes me even more anxious for the warmer weather and the chance to slip into the water and wade up as I fish…without losing sensation in my toes within moments.
I resolve to tie some more flies (and start working on another variant that perhaps has not been made, before), to pass the remaining time, when I have it to spare.