And believe it or not amidst such spectacular scenery there was some fishing that was still done. We love our scenery but at the same time we are going to keep on fishing, hopefully being smart enough to admire what is around us… … but fishing none the less.
And somehow with all of that fishing going on…. …. Even with as many of us ****** fly fishermen as were gathered on this small section of stream… … fish were caught… … small fish … .. but still beautiful if small fish.
And last but certainly not the lest, the biggest thing hooked on this whole fishing trip, Drew hooked on Drew … …
With that said it was a fantastic day of fishing, in fact it may have been one of the greatest days of fishing I have ever had in my entire life, the catching wasn’t all that good, but damn the fishing was beyond compare between scenery challenge and beauty……….. it was as good as I can imagine and with fishing like that catching is an unnecessary after thought.
We ended up gathered back at a campfire that burned hotter and easier than the night before. We shared a few choice cigars some of which were legal in this country and others well maybe not. We ate those hot water creations of culinary delightful creation and of sensory gratification, well maybe not so much, those wonderful concoctions that we call hiker or backpacking meals. We managed to break out another round of cigars and shine, well maybe that was pie shine laced with straight shine, but don’t tell Jermz that, just in time for the last rays of sunset to settle over our little valley paradise.
Night time found us Drun … I mean mellow and content … sitting and listening to any one of 21,000 songs on my
IPOD, with a backdrop of a rolling roaring river which is a perfect backdrop to any man made noise. And just because inquiring minds want to know we didn’t ever decide if Hendrix was better than Led or if Drive By could beat the Doors or if Guy Clark kicks Robert Earl or Ray Wylie could knock the hell out of Jerry Jeff … … and I doubt those really meaningful deep philosophical questions can ever be answered but Dang, I hope I have a full bottle of bourbon or shine, a river in the background and a camp fire to keep me warm where ever they may be debated cause I dang sure have an opinion and I dang sure want to shout out my opinion and drown all of the dissenting opinions out. I witnessed a friend making sure the bear pole was strong enough to stand up on its own without his help, an old man fade to darkness while *****ing about being old, another old friend just fade to darkness in the space of one laugh to snoring and finally realizing that me passing by the fire in front of my young son would probably cause more trauma than leaving him in the grasp of the late night teams warped and changing view point of the world. So I said good night while I was still awake enough to enjoy the moonlight through the tent and the opportunity to fade into a deep and untroubled blissful sleep while listening to a rushing rambling stream a few hundred yards from my pillow.
I woke up the next morning to a soft light filtering into the tent and the sounds of a river and the birds warming my soul. I had no idea what time it was and to be honest I didn’t really care. I climbed out of the tent thinking of fishing but sore muscles screamed at the movement and thoughts of fishing soon morphed into thoughts of surviving the hike out. It seems I wasn’t alone in these fears as nearly everyone when presented with an opportunity decided to hit the hike out sooner than later and head up the mountain. I must admit I felt the normal melancholy as I rolled up my sleeping pad and folded my tent, wishing I could spend several more days in the is river valley paradise but as always a shower and soft warm bed were beginning to call from the dark recesses of my subconscious brain. Those of us who are truly hooked on the back country, have our psyche war continually on the joys of the natural world with the comforts of the civilized world…. … and in fact the civilized world wins for the majority of the time even though we truly enjoy our interludes into the wild woods. No matter we soon found ourselves posing for last minute pictures that would serve to frame this whole trip and provide a framework for memories when we returned to a civilization that couldn’t fully comprehend the majesty of this river and this valley.
This is a shot of me and my oldest friend, which I would love to tell you relates to the age of the relationship not the age of the man …. … but we already established I hate to lie… … but he is a good friend
And here is a picture of my favorite person in the whole world, well maybe tied for first… …. And yes Drew looks pretty good as well.
All in all, it was one of the best fishing trip I have ever been privileged to be on…. …. The catching may have been lacking but the fishing was epic. The last pictures of this verbal data dump shows it all potentially better than I can explain… …
Two shots of a group of good friends who are now better friends … ... And I am confident that all of us will always remember spring break “FORKFEST 13” with fond memories
The shot that I think sums this trip up perfectly is shot that shows a bottle left in the crook of a branch deep in the woods for the spirits that many of us believe haunt the coves and hollows of our “southern highlands” backwoods. When I first saw this picture, which was after the fact, due to the fact that I was a full 2 miles behind him in a 3.1 mile hike, I asked my friend if he tasted the liquid obviously still remaining in the mason jar and he wisely said that he was afraid to check, as he felt the mountain spirits had been given their due by a passing traveler many years previously and those rewards had been left in the bottle as an offering left as thanks for the wonders we had just seen which were substantial. And as much as my civilized brain wanted to argue, I knew he was right to respect the spirits of the hollows and coves…. We were in fact visitors in their world… … and in the end we all were grateful to have been allowed to spend a weekend cradled in the hollows that define the home of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park… … and while the catching was limited we all agreed the fishing was as wonderful as any of us could remember which meant an offering to the gods of the coves and hollows would be not only necessary but also potentially required.