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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2013, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Wonderful reading Jerry.
I have no doubt that Mr Jackson is proud of you & was alongside you during the visit to the cabin.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

fysh,

I'd have to agree with your observations. Every nook and corner that showed beneath the lantern light brought with it thoughts of days now long past, yet still fresh in my mind. Even as the air from inside the cabin shook off the cob-webs, the smell of pipe-smoke and cigars came rushing back and held court over the place. Once the weather warms enough for more comfort with the exterior work, I'll double-check the integrity of the woodstove's chimney, bring in a few logs from the pile just outside of the back door, and warm the place up before sorting through everything. For now, however, I need this memory to be frozen in time, if only for a little longer... Jerry, aka hairwing530
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:31 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

It's one of those long-ago coats, a denim barn coat with a flannel blanket lining and a quilt-work of stitching and repairs from years of use. It still bears the initials "HCK" for Harry Carson Kincaid, my grandfather, and today will mark its return to active duty. The temperatures forecast today should make the coat a perfect fit, especially from my own perspective.

I'm breaking it out and back into the daylight later this morning for at once a logical and then a very personal reason-- that coat has seen more barn-raisings and outdoor chores than one could imagine, as it pre-dates me by about a decade and was my grandfather's favorite "go-to" coat. And, today, one of my "construction-rat" fishing cronies and I will be taking his "Baja Special" truck and traveling back to "Trail's End" to make a list of the materials we're going to need, come April. The on-going thaw might be a little more than even the ol' "Fish Truck" could handle!

I've begun to look at the "Trail's End" project as something of a mirror-image of the three-book "Tranquility" series by the late Col. Harold P. Sheldon. "Tranquility" was marked by my first visit back to "Trail's End." "Tranquility Revisited" will take place later today, where tape measures, note pads and evaluations will be the focus of the day.

And, as for "Tranquility Regained?" That, my friends, will occur when we finish the repairs and make the place ready for trout season, and I strike the first match to a woodstove filled with seasoned oak. Only then will the trilogy be complete...

Jerry, aka hairwing530
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:37 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Jerry: This has been quite the journey, but definitely a great read, thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Josh noticed the man first, nodding toward a spot just upriver from where we were busy unloading the trailer. We seldom saw folks back this far from what passes for "the main road," as it required quite the hike into "Trail's End." Yet, there he sat, almost heron-like on a stump that no doubt rivaled him in age.

We continued pulling the lumber and stacking it for later, marveling at the fact that these boards were true 1-inch x 6, 8, 10 or 12-inch in size, not the undersized framing material one commonly found in a lumber yard. A local timber concern had hand-milled the boards from downed trees on the property two years before, drying and storing them until they were needed. Now, as they had once provided shade for the little cabin known as "Trail's End," they would remain nearby, acting as support for the porch and other necessary repairs.

As we neared the end of the load, Josh's question was obvious-- "Well?" Taking my cue, I wandered over toward the visitor, catching the scent of his cigar long before I saw the stub of it tucked in one corner of his mouth. As I stood a few short feet away and looking out over the horseshoe bend in the river, he quietly asked, "You the kid?"

I hadn't heard that phrase in years, though my elders often referred to me as either "the kid" or "Buck," my grandfather's nickname for me and my "enthusiastic" way of going about things.

At any rate, I told him that I was-- once --and that affirmation was followed with this question... "Gonna fix up the old place?" Again, I answered "Yes," at which he rose, re-adjusted his cigar and said in a voice that trailed off as he walked, "Then, I guess I'll be seein' ya..." No introductions and no "how do you do's" exchanged... just a short bit of idle conversation on the edge of a river.

Turning to head back up to the cabin, I finally noticed the faint trail that the stranger's feet followed with the kind of knowledge that only comes with familiarity. I'm guessing that "Trail's End" is something special to us both...

Jerry, aka hairwing530
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Waiting.....
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

My "river walk" ritual came early this morning, as in "0-Dark Thirty." With the trusty old Coleman lantern in hand, I put myself into "stealth mode" and made my way outside without awakening "she who worries about me most." The tracks in the snow from two weeks back would now be replaced by impressions left in the mud, and to seek them out and identify them is a constant source of enjoyment. Besides, I didn't need the sight of the river this morning... just the steady sounds of its currents rushing east toward an eventual collision with Lake Huron.

The wanderings along the top of the riverbank carried with them their usual discoveries-- that the whitetail had been active overnight, as had a few raccoons, and that a large flock of wild turkeys were using this same pathway during the daylight hours.

On the walk back home, I happened across another old cedar-post tripod with a nearby firepit and a couple of "stump" chairs. Back in the day, some anglers would erect such a system, wrap it with a canvas tarp, and spend the night there, their only source of heat being the nearby fire. To date, I've come across two such sites along the course of about a mile of river.

The tripod obviously was well built, as its posts have weathered many seasons, unless I miss my guess. Having now found two such temporary lodging sites within a stone's throw of the river, it made me wonder just how much of the river's history we wade past in a given day. In the days to come, I'm going to be firm in my commitment to add a heavy mix of bankside exploration combined with just enough fishing to keep my line wet.

Maybe, "the kid" still lives somewhere deep inside this aging exterior...

Have a Happy Easter, everybody... Jerry, aka hairwing530
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Happy Easter to you Jerry and thanks for taking us along on this journey into your past!
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Larry,

One's journey through life is a choice sort of thing-- you can choose to go it alone, or you can welcome the company of other like-minded souls with whom to share the adventure. And, life is an adventure!!

As it is my choice to make, I choose option #2, or the company of others like yourself. Friends help to make the roughest roads a bit smoother, and the distance to where we're going that much shorter. So sayeth the proverbial "hairwing530" aka Jerry, on this Easter Sunday...
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Today's "river walk" was an early afternoon sort of affair, an oddity for yours truly as I'm partial to first-light wanderings, along with the occasional lantern-light travels. The walks are about as close to "off-season" exercise as I care to get, as repetitive exercise without the scenic vistas tends to bore me to tears.

There was something else odd about today's walk along the riverbank trail, something I'd never encountered in the 3+ years that I've been able to partake of the pleasure-- footprints! At first, I was surprised to see them in the fresh skiff of snow. But, that was before my curiousity got the better of me. I had to see if the man's boots traced a path parallel to my own wanderings, and so I started off down the same "river road" as the footprints that led me on.

For awhile, our feet were in total sync, twisting around this or that deadfall before returning to the trail along the top of the bank at the river's edge. But, by the time I hit the mid-way point in my walks, the boot prints took a decided 45-degree track to the left, walking with purpose along a path that I couldn't detect, nor of which I had any prior knowledge.

It wasn't long before I found myself staring at a rundown one-room cabin in the middle of the national forest lands. Its age was difficult to pinpoint, as it appeared as if it had been left to its own devices years ago. Still, it was a mystery in need of further exploration...

I spent the next hour or so poking around the cabin's interior, stumbling across everything from a deep pan that had seen too many fires for far too long to a rusty old lantern sans the glass. The lantern will be a renovation project, come summer...

I picked up the man's trail again on the backside of the cabin, again making another change in direction, one that led back to the river's edge at a point a bit farther than my usual wanderlust takes me. There, I saw the reason for his wide deviation away from the trail. Whereas the bulk of the riverbank along this stretch makes access difficult-- unless your resume' includes the job title of a "sherpa" -- here rests an easy incline to the river, its entrance hidden somewhat by a network of brush. Duly noted in the ol' memory banks for later, I circled around the deadfalls and headed back to the house, my "new/old" lantern in tow.

There is a saying in the world of fly-fishing that "you never fish the same water twice on a good river, as the currents are ever-changing..." Perhaps, the same holds true for the land that surrounds our favorite stream, only at a much slower pace. In its discovery rests its own soul-satisfying reward...

Jerry, aka hairwing530
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