I have made it to the half-century point! Those that have known me the longest probably knew I would make it to this point, given my approach to challenges in many areas, but there have certainly been times (mainly in my professional life) where this seemed, at least in the moment, to not be such a sure thing. Happily, my 50th B-Day arrived in the midst of a beautiful summer and with my family.
The original idea was to travel to ID, so I could fish the Big Lost River on my birthday. I knew I wanted to start the day with coffee in my system, cool water on my legs, a gentle breeze wrapped around me, and at least a few fish brought to my hand to welcome in the next half-century with me.
As the summer started, various changes in the calendar made it obvious that the trip may not fit. Narrowing of the window of opportunity, coupled with 600+ miles, each way, with camper in tow, left not much time to actually fish and relax. Besides, my home waters are in such picturesque locations that I could easily find a spot that has great fishing, within a couple of hours of home. Outside of those requirements, the only remaining “need” is that it be somewhere with no cell reception, to allow (force?) me to disconnect and truly relax. It did not take long to find a great spot, close to three different rivers!
I pushed back the beginning of the trip a day, as temps were over 100 at home, and close to that even in the mountains. With that delay, a front came through that not only dropped temps by 20+ degrees, it also cleared out a lot of the lingering smoke from forest fires to the West of us. A win, in both ways!
We arrived in the early evening, setting up camp and making a fine dinner to get things going. Only downside to the time of year is that the National Forest lands had a burn ban in place, due to prolonged dry weather, so no campfires were authorized! Definitely a low note, but not the only reason to camp.
After dinner, I slipped into the nearby river and caught the last couple of Trout of my first Half-century. Brilliantly colorful fish, with all the energy and tenacity of the wild trout I have come to admire so much. Sadly, I did not bring my waterproof phone sleeve, so I have no pictures of the fish, from this trip.
Satisfied with the pre-birthday catch, I made my way back to camp in time for everyone to collectively report that they were ready to drift off to sleep. There was supposed to be a great display from the Perseid meteor shower that night, but there was still a bit of a haze in the sky, and the lack of energy took control of us all.
The next morning started a bit cloudy, but cleared even as I had my first cup of camp coffee. I love the percolator we have in the camping gear, and look forward to using it every time we head out. Several aspects of it appeal to me, and, to some degree, the family. What are those, you ask?
First….ummm…coffee. The obvious product of the process is an essential part of every day, camping or not.
Second, the warmth. We leave at least two windows open when camping, to let in the fresh air, gentle sounds of nature, and the smells of the forest. It also tends to drop temps in the camper pretty significantly, with this day ending up in the 50’s outside, by around 4am. The percolator on the stove provides a great influx of warmth.
Third …. did I mention coffee gets made?
Fourth, the sound and smell. The gentle pop of the percolator and the scented steam it releases really help to start the day with a clear mind and positive attitude. Ok, it does for me, at least.
Coffee and breakfast had, I gear up and hit the rivers, again. The nearest access point was less than a minute’s walk away, making it easy to come back for more coffee, lunch, etc. The path to the water was already well beaten, heading off from the site.
Speaking of lunch…having a daughter that is preoccupied with French cooking and various forms of baking is a huge win for me. While I was out on the river, she whipped up a great birthday cake as well as a french potato dish that really knocked lunch out of the park!
Lunch also brought some really thoughtful presents out, as well. A great set of dry bags, for kayaking, etc, and also a mug that I will always keep in a central place on the wall, above my fly tying desk.
Over the course of the stay, I ended up catching a fish, on average, every 20 minutes I spent in the water! I fished several times, and finally left very satisfied. Not the trip I had originally envisioned, but then, sometimes, the simple and close-to-home trips are even better.
That said…next summer….Big Lost River….or Rocky Mountain Fly Highway?