Revive - A Quarterly Fly Fishing Journal - Page 42

There are times in our lives when the best thing we can do for ourselves is to fill our backpacks with some food, a sleeping bag, maybe a tent, and take a nice long walk in the woods. I feel this urge quite frequently, but rarely follow through with it anymore, always finding some sort of excuse or distraction to keep me from doing it: work, grass needing cut, dinner needing cooked, stairs needing swept, dogs needing walks, my old knees. In the end, I usually take day trips which, under a microscope, feel like a backpacking trip; at least that’s how I try to think of them. It’s on these trips into the backcountry where we are able to clear out the build up of muck, much like sediment settling behind a dam, between our ears, in order to create some headspace and hopefully figure a few things out with the fly rod and some open water.

Back in my early 20’s, when it came to catching trout on a fly, I had no idea what I was doing. I would go to the water with a black wooly bugger and flip it around, let it drift down stream a bit, and yank it back. Fly fishing wasn’t really about catching fish for me at that point. It was more about a reason to stand in the middle of some water with no one around; a good excuse to get out of the house and smoke some cheap cigars. However, I did know how to hike and to camp. I was working in Rocky Mountain National Park on their trail crew and at that point hiked what seemed to be hundreds miles of the west side trails with a chainsaw on my shoulder, seeing a ton of the park and rolling my ankles and busting my knees in the process.