This 23rd Note from Nature comes courtesy of my friend Ken Voyles. He (like my brother) is an avid (read: obsessed) fisherman. Ken also is passionate about fly fishing and spends many hours fishing mountain creeks and streams. Here’s his ode to Nature and a farewell to the summer of 2017. Enjoy!
“You can’t see anything from a car; you’ve got to get out of the goddamn contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbrush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail, you’ll see something, maybe.” Edward Abbey – Desert Solitaire
Ken’s words: My buddy Jason and I wrapped up the summer with a bit of high elevation steep creek fishing this afternoon and evening. We started out on one creek, and after 200 yards of pretty much 60 degree vertical ascent, we opted to go back downstream to pick up the main creek. Plenty of colorful wild brook trout, lots of rock hopping, and a good workout climbing about the streams. We only encountered two others on the way, hikers, over a 5 hour period.
We fished until we felt, based on the apparent daylight remaining, that maybe, perhaps, we needed to consider hiking out. We’d discussed it earlier, but I sensed neither of us were committed to leaving the water. Just then we both glanced, simultaneously, towards a fine pool above us. It demanded to receive a delicate dry fly presentation. And with a shared respect to this mutually-understood prerogative, and with mutually-assuring cross-stream nods to each other, we continued to fish, both smiling wide for just a bit longer.
We had a few slips on wet rock, a few half-swims, and were a bit beat up from being banged about by hopping the waterfalls and boulders. There at the end we clamored out of the creek, through the doghobble, the laurel, and an ugly steep slope. While on hands and knees through the brier and bramble, between delicately weaving the fly rod through the tangle of branches and other flora, and losing just a bit of flesh along the way, I though of Abbey’s quote above, and I chuckled for a moment. Yes Ed, today blood was lost, and things were seen. I wish all my friends could have been there.
Driving towards home and watching the rising moon at the end of the day was a nice touch. Cheers, and much gratitude, to Summer 2017.” ~ Ken Voyles