Last Thursday and Friday, for the first time since January of 2007, I took off two days. It had been planned for a while; but, finding an available time slot to leave was difficult.
Finally, after much shuffling and advance planning, we set the date for a Thursday and Friday, and we were set. We gathered groceries, gear and bait. We packed lightly, and we watched the weather. On Wednesday afternoon, we loaded up all our stuff into Sean's truck, and off to Blue Mountain we headed.
I probably should explain that the road down to the river out at Blue Mountain is steep, it is rough, and it absolutely requires four-wheel drive. There was no problem with dozing off during the trip, as our adrenaline was pumping well before we eased down the last bit of road that drops into the riverbed.
By 7:30 p.m., camp had been pretty well set up, and we already had our lines in the water. We were on the south bank, just below a bluff, so for about an hour and a half, we faced directly into the sun, and the heat was intense. We decided it was too hot to eat supper just yet, and decided to wait till later in the evening. Then the fish started to bite.
There were some humpbacks, some yellowcat and a few channel cat. With the sun up, the gar were a problem, but that eased up as the sun went down. And, there was a rather aggressive soft-shell turtle that enjoyed a meal or two off our hooks.
Evening settled in, the sun went down, and cool breezes began to blow down the river. By midnight, things were actually quite comfortable. We finally fired up the grill (too much hassle to haul in firewood) and threw on some sausages, wrapped them in bread and spread them with mustard. A perfect late night meal.
That was when fatigue started catching up with me. I had been up since 5:00 a.m., so at that point, I had been awake for 20 hours, and I was starting to feel it. I laid down for a while and Sean stayed up to watch lines. He continued to get a few hits, but decided to catch a few winks when that slowed down around 3:00. I got back up, fished a while, laid back down. Sean got up, checked bait, went back to sleep. So it went for the rest of the night. Neither of us got much sleep, nor did we catch many more fish.
Watching the sunrise the next morning, I noticed clouds on the horizon and remembered the sailors' axiom, "red sky at morning, sailors take warning." But the day was beautiful. Thanks to the bluff at our backs, we had shade until almost 4:30 p.m. We waded in the river and fished from one bank to another.
That evening, Dwight came down to the river and waded over to share a bite of supper. When he left, the last rays of the sun showed a line of clouds back to the north and west.
Around 1:00 a.m., clouds started moving in and we could see lightning. We listened to the radio, but the forecast was from much earlier in the day. By 2:00 a.m., we could see more lightning, and we could hear thunder. By 3:00, the fish had stopped biting completely. We decided that it was probably a good time to strike camp and get ourselves on home.
At 3:30 a.m., we had everything loaded on the truck, the campsite cleaned up, and we started the difficult trek back up the roads to the highway. By 5:00 a.m., we had Sean back to his wife and boys, and by 5:30, I was home.
We didn't catch that many fish; but, we had time away from cell phones and email. We watched two sunsets and two sunrises. We got a chance to visit and talk about life without all the usual daily distractions.
I was completely exhausted all weekend; but, by Monday, felt better than I've felt in months. It was how a really good vacation should feel. I'm not quite ready to go back again just yet; but, I will be back.
I hope you have an opportunity to do the same.
It’s all just my opinion, but it’s what I wish would happen.