Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A tale of the Pacific Crest Trail... and a Brookie

It must be hard, married to a steelhead junky. Too much time passes between fishing sessions and we become, well.. wierd. Wandering the house saying obscure cryptic phrases... bet the waters good, counts are high... my lines gonna be all springy if I don't stretch it soon, subtle hints, hidden suggestions.. muted begging.. let me fish.. I NEED to fish... get some. So it was no suprise that out of fear for myself, her and my daughter that Caron suggested I find a friend and go fishing.. a flurry of emails and texts that could dump AOL flew out in the next ten minutes, 5 minutes later.. a bite, Eggs ( Erin, but arent fishing nicknames so much more interesting ) messaged back, "whats the plan?" simple, swingin for the steel on the Kalama or North Umpqua.. Im open to both, Eggs obviously understanding my need responded with " hey why don't we hike two and a half miles at 6500 feet to a puddle and fish for 4 inch brookies on the hottest day of the year" I stared at the message, sure, and then we could stop at my sisters house and have her read all the notes from her high school year books.. I waited several hours to respond, becouse strangely enough.. the thought of some stillwater spoke to me. Now I believe with all my heart that it is Eggs personal mission to wake up the 5wt fisherman that sleeps in my soul.. and he's decent at it. So I went downstairs and rolled a 4 wt around in my hand for a bit and responded back, shall we make it 5 a.m? it was a rodger on that and the game was set. As the day passed I fell further and further behind in preperations, life happened and I found myself not even ready to leave yet, I texted Eggs.. lets make it 4 and im not even gonna sleep.. another rodger. I left the house at 12 a.m, gas, and a 5 hour energy, chased by an Irish cream mocha out of the gut bomb machine I made the meeting location 2.5 hours later, ready for a couple hours of in the truck sleep. I lay back and closed my eyes only to be harrased moments later my some p.o.s in a white jeep... Eggs, he decided not to sleep either. So here we are in a gas station parking lot at 2:45 in the morning, almost 3 hours untill sunrise and a half hour away from the trailhead, we decided to get started anyway. We arrived at the trailhead on Santiam pass at around 3:15, the kick off point of our trek, I had already been up 20 hours.
I must admit with a little Boy Scout shame that the map we used was on Egg's android phone.. I guess its that age and it was handy. We hiked with the speed of men on the path of discovery.. adventure, today had to be good after all shortly after getting on the highway I had run a skunk staight to the devil with my truck.. smelled it all the way to Salem, the skunk was handled.. 2 in the chest, 1 in the head.. fishings gonna be hot! The trail to the lake winds through the B and B complex burn, and as you can imagine its dusty, as a mater of fact im still tasting it as I write.
We arrived at the lake in the dark and started inflating the tubes and stringing the rods chatting about what first light would bring. Eggs was starting out with a dry, I decided to start with a full sink and a crystal bugger, this would prove to be a mistake.. rusty trout fisherman I am. Within half an hour Eggs had raised a 6-7 inch fish and put the first mark on the game card, and then 3 more, I know this becouse each fish he would raise his hand with the appropriate number of fingers raised. My C B had rewarded me with simply 1 half hearted bump.
Two hours later I kicked to shore, relieved myself and went to the bull pen.. floater and dry's.. its what they want. I imediatly missed 3 fish on a BWO and then it got slow for another hour. the water was crystal clear with visibility to about 20 feet, so I added 2 feet of 7x fluoro greased it with floatant and tied on a different BWO pattern... and Crack! first ( and only ) fish of the day. A nice fish aswell.
It was time to go, I paddled back to the shore and left Eggs eating chicken as I headed for my truck. Now at 3 a.m my waders were comfortable for the hike, it was now 93 degrees in a forest fire burn, relentless. The walk out felt like a sentence, the green mile.. or should I say charred kinda green mile. It took me an hour and ten minutes to make it to the truck where I promptly downed a whole 93 degree gatorade that had been lying on the dash all day... I will never drink a purple gatorade again.. but it was wet. All in all Eggs kicked my ass 8 to 1... and I enjoyed every minute. By the time I arrived home I had been up for 38 hours.. and then made my family dinner, fishing can be tough business. Thanks Erin for dragging me up to altitude and schooling me, I needed it- oh, and fish was the biggest,its qaulity.. not qaunity, right? - Tight lines-

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