The Cedar Run Experience, Part 16

In Which the Streamwalker Takes a One-Mile, 5-Step Approach Toward the Sources of the Run on Cedar Mountain…

Step 1.  First things first… When my son came up to visit home, we traveled to the Southern Tier Brewery in Jamestown, New York where Brent, Catherine, Leighanne, and I were joined by long-time Rivertop Rambles and Bridging the Gap supporter Bob Stanton for a first-time tour and excellent get-together.DSCN5507

What does this have to do with exploring Cedar Run? Not much, other than to say that Southern Tier has become my official Blog Beer and, who knows, may be pictured here more frequently in the future.

I should also give an appreciative nod to Pennsylvania’s Straub Beer, a company that strongly supports the stocking of German brown trout in the waters of Pine Creek down below the mouths of Slate and Cedar runs.

Although no beers were consumed during this approach to the source, the flavorful clouds of “Southern Tier” were brewing in my direction…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStep 2. The sun was slow to arrive in the mountain valley near Leetonia. To pick up my thread of the Cedar Run fly-fishing walk toward the source of the stream, I needed to start at the lower bridge at the camps and head toward Buck Run (where the special regs fishing begins).

That’s where I met Cut-Out Katie standing sportingly by the road. She asked me how things were going and, sure, I could take a picture of her if I wanted. Dressed the way she was, I had to ask if she wasn’t freezing in the 30-degree weather. Later, when my wife saw the photo that I took, she was fooled temporarily when I said I got invited in for beverages!

The low, clear waters of the stream soon deepened into a long, quiet pool with large OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArocks for trout support. A group of brown trout in the depths amazed me, but none were interested in my imitations. They were “educated browns,” no doubt survivors of repeated camp outings, and several of these trout were close to 18 inches long.

Step 3. At my vehicle again, I exchanged a 6-foot Fenwick glass rod for a 7-foot cane and proceeded upstream. I was in for a difficult stretch of tight water, alternately wide and shallow, brushy and narrow. When I finally passed a stretch of old hunting camps along the road, the sun had warmed the stream a little, and the fishing improved. The run had more undercuts and longer pools, and best of all, the wild browns and native trout began rising to the surface for flies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom my unsuccessful use of beadhead nymphs, I made improvements with light-colored soft hackles and then a dry Ant. Here the brooks outnumbered the browns about three to one, but both species were a pleasure in the warming afternoon.

Step 4. I made my way to the Buck Run Pool where “Trophy Trout” regulations begin and extend to the mouth at Pine Creek. A large culvert, high and inappropriate for fish passage, dropped the waters of Buck Run into my awareness and called a close to my fishing for the day. I climbed out to the road, ate a sandwich and took a drink, and hiked back to the car.

Step 5. I had time to think about this Cedar Run project, and where I was headed… The OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGerman poet Goethe once said, “How I yearn to throw myself into endless space and float above the awful abyss…” I understood the sentiment, although the only abyss I currently saw belonged to social mediocrity and commercial nonsense out of which I would gladly fly on any occasion, especially with the help of fly-fishing.

Ultimately I was fishing toward the open sky above the mountain; I was fishing toward freedom; i.e., completion of a project that had captivated me from the start.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs my son said (in response to “The Cedar Run Experience 14/15,” on 10/23/14), the roots of a river or stream, unlike the roots of a flower or a tree, are “as high as one can climb.” And that seemed to be my goal in walking toward the source of the run.

Up there in the open sky, above the mountain, were the multiple sources of this beautiful little stream. Maybe I could get there, if not with the man-made wings of a mythic Daedalus, taking care not to fly too close to the melting powers of the sun, or too close to strafe the treetops of the forest, then perhaps with the use of careful footing and the comfort of a little fly rod.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’d try to dig at those roots this autumn, weather permitting, or arrive there early next spring. Avoiding a downfall, hopefully, I might even taste those hop-flavored clouds that now hung tantalizingly above this venture.

I looked forward to toasting that arrival with everyone who loves a place like Cedar Run, and the wildness of it all.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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10 Responses to The Cedar Run Experience, Part 16

  1. Bob Stanton says:

    Readers, I can attest to the magic of Southern Tier’s palette of fermented delights. And meeting Walt and his family was a pleasure. He (they) is every bit as witty and erudite in person as he is in print.

    • Readers, Those of you who have read RR over the past 2 or 3 years no doubt have encountered Bob Stanton’s comments and contributions to the blog, so it was with great anticipation that we traveled to Bob’s neck of the woods and the impressive brewery there to meet for the first time on the physical plane. Bob is a remarkable friend and Pennsylvanian whom we all look forward to meeting with again.

  2. As long as completion doesn’t mean conclusion, I think we’re all looking forward to seeing where the Cedar Run Experience leads. As for Cut-Out Katie, she’s prettier and has more personality than a few of the young ladies I dated in college. And I’ve always appreciated Bob’s comments as well. You guys have made me smarter about fishing and many other topics as well.

    • Interesting point, Jim. My conclusion at this point is that completion will not be conclusive– that is, I’ll probably be left with my head in the clouds above the mountain, wondering on the essence of the flow, perhaps tilting back a celebratory bottle of Southern Tier. As for Kate, yeah, a pretty one. I wish she would wear a fishing vest. Thanks, my friend.

  3. Mike says:

    I’ll have to try that 2XRye. Southern Tier is a heck of a brewer. And you are a heck of a journeyman. The writing is certainly above the clouds. Thanks, Walt.

    • Hey Mike, thanks for that. Above the clouds at times but I try to keep my feet on the ground. It sounds like they may have Southern Tier out your way. If so, yeah, look for the different flavors– all of them well above average for their type. As always, am thankful you’re around to share the journey with.

      • Mike says:

        In speaking of beer, I hope you don’t mind a couple of suggestions. The beer of my blog seems to be Roscoe American Amber Ale which I gather you might have had occasion to try. The other suggestion is out of Michigan and it is one of my all time favorite: Bells Two Hearted Ale. Try it and let me know what you think. Any beer with a trout on the label is good from the get go 😉

  4. Mike, I’ll tell you, beer suggestions are always more than welcome on this blog. I have tried the Roscoe Amber Ale while sitting in a bar across from where it’s distributed. It’s a tasty one and goes well with a burger plate, or whatever, following some hours on the Beaverkill or Willow. As for the Two Hearted, love it! Trout on the label, and the promise of distinctive taste, jumps right off the shelves at Wegmans or similar stores. So thanks, and I’m glad that At Last to Wade the River also has an “official brew(s).”

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