Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bike ride in to fishing

It’s been a long time since I posted to this blog. Not because I’ve lost interest, but because it seemed to be getting boring. Every week I/we go off and do some fun thing; how many times do people really want to read about it?

Even with the lack of activity on my part, I know that a lot of people read this blog. I get frequent emails from people commenting on various posts. It seems that the guide books just are not good enough on subjects like climbing South Sister, camping in the Steens wilderness, or even wakeboarding (which I have not done in over two years).

Anyway, every week is the same old thing: fishing trip here, canoe ride there, hiking over yonder, floating down another river, etc. It’s great, but I’ve lost interest in documenting these things.

Until today. This morning I got up in the dark, threw my gear in the truck, and drove about 65 miles to a locked gate at the end of a dirt road. I loaded up my bike and backpack and rode a few miles more. By 9 am I was at the spot in the photo.

My 26-year old mountain bike did just fine with a rod tube lashed to it. The panniers I bought decades ago held up great as well. It was an amazing day of fishing. The temperature never got above 46 degrees, but I was prepared and the fish were willing.

In less than five hours I caught almost two dozen fish. All were wild, half were native. Big, healthy, strong fish living in a pristine environment. To be able to fool these fish with tiny little flies and then release them unharmed is an unbelievable pleasure for me. (I really don’t understand why.)

It’s even better when I can do it in a spot that clearly few people venture into. The bike ride wasn’t especially difficult, but the various climbs/scrambles down from the road to the holes and bushwhacking needed to get there seems to really limit the people. I’m sure that countless fishermen have preceded me in these spots, but I couldn’t see much evidence of them and the only other “footprints” I saw today were from elk.

And I got home in time for dinner. Central Oregon is a great place to live.

Days like today make me wonder how I ever got so lucky. How can some of us have things so good, while so many others suffer? A question that has haunted thinkers for centuries.

(No, of course, I can’t tell you where I was. Get out there and do some exploring yourself.)