Winter in the mountains is longer than I remember them being back when I lived on flat land. When others are planting spring gardens and going bike rides, I am still shoveling snow and hauling in firewood. This winter has been exceptionally long, however. My "winter" started last September 11. My parents flew in that afternoon (they got great deals on tickets, for some odd reason...) I picked them up in the rain at a park-n-ride down the hill from the fly shop and I did my best to reassure my dad that the rain shouldn't effect the fishing. As I drove them home up the canyon road the little creek looked like it was going to burst over the road at any minute. "That doesn't look promising," Dad said... Oh, it will calm down by morning. Sheesh!
Well, it did not calm down. As
it turned out, I was one of the last to drive that canyon road for a
long time. A 1,000-year rain event they called it once it was all said
and done. Roads got washed away...houses, cars, boulders, pets and even a
few people got flushed away. I did not get to fish with my dad, as we
were stranded at the cabin for several days digging trenches, helping
neighbors and cooking on a propane backpackers stove whatever we
happened to have in the cupboards.
The two weeks that my parents were visiting was supposed to be my last big fishing hoorah before I knuckled down and got serious about the massive writing/photography project I had on the docket. (The down side to accepting an advance check from a publisher is that they usually make you except a deadline, as well.) But, there was no last hoorah. Once things settled down and my parents were able to escape, there were months of round-about, back-country detours just to get to the fly shop and back. Two hour drives one way on nearly washed out gravel roads and switchbacks. And once the canyon was open again, there was still the damn book to write. It was a long, long winter...
But this too shall pass, and it did. It is spring again. I am no longer burning every night to keep the cabin warm and Erin and I are starting to plan for another failed attempt at a high-altitude garden...again. And I am back to writing drivel for free...again. And fishing. I had been told by a UPS delivery man about a small lake out on the plains that held big bass and maybe even some northern pike. I did not know the guy, not even his name. It was just a rumor. But rumors like that beg to be looked into...just to be sure. So, Erin and I packed up our heavy rods and rose well before dawn. The morning was cold and Erin lamented not bringing gloves or a hat. But the mild suffering would be worth it if things panned out... But they did not. The water was shallow and seemingly void of any life at all. Chalk it up to rumor control and an elaborate ruse to entertain the dog for awhile.
On the way back to the truck we stumbled onto a smaller pond full of very actively feeding carp, however. And we always pack our six weights and a box of Backstabbers! After a quick trot up to the truck to switch out rods and re-rig for carp, a rather pleasant day began to unfold...