I have been thinking of just leaving after camp was over and visiting friends and famous rivers across the US. This was the year. My travels have taken me to the far corners of our land. Florida was first, a visit to my brothers winter home in Florida. He treated me to golf at the Sawgrass Stadium Course – a real treat to walk where so many of my golf heroes have found fame and fortune. I don’t play much golf anymore. The warm months of my years are spent in a wilderness void of development, especially golf courses. For those of you who have watched the Players Championship through the years, I did manage to hit the island green of the 17th hole in regulation, pin high and just twelve feet left. But missed the putt and wrote a 3 on my card. A par on the 18th brought my total to 93 from the tips, not too bad given that I lost eight balls in the assorted water hazards.
The end of September brings a close to the Maine fishing season on most waters. I traveled north to fish those final 2011 days on the upper Magalloway, an annual treat for the past thirty-one years. The trout and salmon were there in fair numbers and rose to my fly just often enough to keep me from dreaming all the days away gazing at the fiery fall maples that lean over the banks of those storied Maine rivers and streams.
The Jersey shore was next, a trip down for the wedding of a dear friend who chose wisely his lovely new wife, but somewhere lost it for sufficient time to invite me to play my guitar at their wedding. The Sunday after the wedding was a beautiful day spent walking the mostly deserted beaches with the dogs. Bear ran after the terns and pelicans as they dipped into the face of the incoming waves ‘fishing’ for their meals.
Then back to the woods of New Hampshire for several days of walking the autumn woods with my pups and oldest daughter, Molly. She is the director of a girls summer camp there and we helped her close her camps for the year.
There’s more. A lot more. Molly and I packed my truck with camping gear, fishing gear and dog paraphernalia, then headed west to visit my other daughter, Kate. She is Molly’s twin sister who lives in Sun Valley, Idaho. We haven’t arrived there yet, but we’re getting close. Tonight we are sleeping in a pet-friendly Marriot in Missoula, Montana having just spent a few days in Glacier National Park. Wow! Amazing! We timed the visit perfectly. The aspens, larch and cottonwoods were indescribable shades of yellow and gold against the dark green of the softwoods. The rivers ran clear over ancient stone. Primeval cedar forests dripped with the clouds’ wetness. All this beauty spread before magnificent mountains whose folds were white with glaciers whose existence is now threatened by the warming climate. After taking in the beauty of the park, we fished the forks of the Flathead River where I hooked and landed a couple of dozen west-slope cutthroats. Beautiful trout from waters I’ve only dreamed of fishing until now.
On the way out west, we drove from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont through the Adirondacks where we spent our first night. Then we drove on to Niagara Falls, a natural wonder that I had managed to avoid to date, but one that seemed irresistible when passing so close on a sunny fall day. It was truly worthwhile, despite the human congestion. Molly, the dogs and I romped on the beautiful lawns and dawned our ‘Maid of the Mist’ complimentary raincoats to shield the wind-driven mist from the falls.
The next couple of days went by quickly as we drove through the less interesting highway miles through Chicago, then on into Wisconsin and Minnesota. We slowed down a bit in South Dakota and took in the Badlands and the Black Hills. We camped in a National Park campsite that offered about 200 camp sites. We were the only takers that cold night and spent the evening in the tent planning our fishing for the following morning. We fished a couple of beautiful streams and managed to catch one small rainbow in a pool backed up by a huge pine deadfall.
Now it’s on to Ketchum, Idaho to visit Kate for a week or so. We plan to catch up on her life out west while the three of us camp in the mountains and fish some of the rivers around her side of Idaho. I will report on those adventures when I return.
So bear with me for another couple of weeks while I continue my personal voyage of discovery. I will post lots of reports about the 2011 Three Rivers season including the brook trout successes of many of our guests.
(Note: I wrote the above post two weeks ago, but could not post it due to my electronics deficiencies. I am home now and have so much more to post, but need to get this out today. More to come!)