I don’t know where I’m going with this. In a cold pre-dawn morning I need some kind of lift, a shot of warmth perhaps, another cup of coffee, another word to type on this computer. Do you ever feel that the world’s gone bat-shit crazy and is ready to suck you in if you don’t escape immediately? Yeah, me too. I could use some open water for a drifting line. I could use a dream that has some substance and reality.
I don’t know where I’m going, but I need an anchor of experience to hold me in my thoughts. Whereas I’ll always try to bring my best streamside ramblings to this blog, I need to burst out of this dark and slushy climate for a spell, but I want to break out carefully.
This is Rivertop Rambles post 500 (yes, there’s been a bundle of hefty photo-laced narratives for my six-plus years!) and I want it to reflect more than a lazy shuffle going sideways. I want to continue offering reflections of the outdoor world as noticed through the eyes of a pilgrim with a fly rod or a walking stick, and I hope to continue with fresh ideas and a minimum of repetition. I repeat myself (when under stress!)– I don’t know where I’m going here, but I want to move and not take myself too seriously. I want to arrive with a sense of having left myself behind.
A winter dream will help. Where will I go this year and what will I do? My book, Streamwalker’s Journey, is scheduled for release in March, and I’m excited by the prospect of doing some readings and book signings, and offering the book’s summation of experience from the best of RR to my readers.
My daughter is moving to Rhode Island and I’m sure that she’ll enjoy her work there in the aura of colonial history. I hope the little state has room enough for one more visitor (yours truly) who will also try to figure out the wonders of RI striper fishing with a fly.
If all goes well by summertime, I hope to camp out near the South Platte River in Colorado (a busy place but still a lovely stream) where family has moved to from New Mexico. I’ll hope to fish and hike along a group of Rocky Mountain rivers culminating in a “dream stream” that I have in mind, a beauty flowing through a corner of Wyoming but not included in a national park. Montana will beckon, but I have a new horizon that I’d like to poke around in while returning eastward to these rivertops…
I know it’s fashionable these days to speak of fly-fishing in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin and Minnesota, to cast in the limey currents of those trout streams where no glaciers ever left their mark. But I want to fish the likes of Timber Coulee because I had a chance to do so once, and never took it. I graduated from high school in La Crosse, Wisconsin. I hunted grouse and pheasants in the nearby Driftless hills but never fished for trout (I’m surprised that I remember those initial chapters of my errant ways!).
The stream of dreams flows onward through the icy boulders of the present time. I try to keep my balance here and there, and know that the stream has some depths that only time will unveil. But real or not, it’s a nice place to go fishing in. The winter and its “shack nasties” may contain me; my tackle closet can gather dust, but the stream gathers force and does its best to keep me from the rubber room.
So where am I headed? Who knows. I’ll focus on just getting there.
[P.S. As photos indicate, I found my “anchor of experience” the weekend of 1/20 and 1/21. Caught several brookies at a PA mountain stream, then five large browns on the Allegheny River. All released, of course. A new season has begun.]
Nice water. The fish in your last pic has some remarkable color. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, my friend. Yeah that color coming out from under a gray and foggy day was special.
Sometimes it takes time and reflection to get going, but as you have shown, we just keep our focus on what brings us joy, and we pick up speed and get moving again. Best wishes with your new book, Walt, and happy fishing to you.
Keeping focus isn’t easy these days, but I guess we have our tricks to make it easier. Thanks, Jet, for the kind wishes!
First, those are some beautiful salmo trutta, glad you had the opportunity to get out and ply the waters. I’ve been taking advantage of the suitable (until recently, anyway) snowcover to strap on the skis or the snowshoes. I’m getting a little better at not falling on the skis. Or rather, falling more gracefully, so I tell myself. Congratulations on installment 500 of my favorite blog, it is a remarkable milestone indeed, especially in light of the ephemeral nature of most things on the interwebs. Please, keep ’em comin’! You could scribble on a cocktail napkin and I’ll read it.
You responses to the blog are humbling and always something to look forward to. Saying thanks for being here throughout just doesn’t do enough, but thank you again, Bob, and be careful on those skis. You’ll have better luck than I had on the slopes. I’ve broken several pairs and was fortunate to not have broken any bones.
Look forward to the book, and hope you will stop in CT on your way to RI.
Yeah I think it’s on the way, Leigh. Hope to see you!
Another enjoyable, thoughtful post Walt, and #500 – Congrats. As you illustrate, it is possible to get out, stretch ones legs and explore during this season, albeit a little more challenging. Beautiful fish, and the pics of the streams gets one smiling. Thanks
Thank you, Ross. With that minimal thaw this past weekend I just had to get out and see if the trout were okay. The results got me smiling, too.
I like that you reflected on a major blogging milestone by giving us some hints about what to expect from RR in 2018! I know of the Driftless Region but wasn’t aware that it was a hot fly-fishing destination these days.
Thanks! Some possibilities anyway. We’ll see how it goes. The Driftless region, especially that area I remember just east of La Crosse and centered around Viroqua has been getting lots of press in recent years as the trout streams see improving habitat. I’m interested in seeing what it looks like after more than half a century has passed (gasp!).
Loved the drift in this one – #500, another gem in a sizeable trove – looking forward to the next 500 plus, so no pressure…
Your internal compass seems to keep you on a good path in these bat-shit crazy times, and I always enjoy the trails, tales, and streams you share. Seems like you’ve plenty ahead of you, planning wise, and the warm anticipation will get you through the current chill.
Thanks, Walt, for this one, and the ones to come!
Adam, you got me laughing here! Another 500? Maybe 50 if the inner compass doesn’t get arthritis and become dysfunctional. Definitely slowing down, but I’ll keep on casting, hiking and writing as long as possible, thanks to dedicated readers who collectively make it seem worthwhile. On that note, I’ve gotta say it loud: thanks for all the kind words and encouraging correspondence!
We all experience those feelings that you’ve expressed so well. But as usual, you’ve placed one foot in front of the other and moved forward. Your first fish were beautiful, you’ve got trips to look forward to and a new book coming out. So here’s to continuing forward, living life to the fullest and another 500 or so blog posts!
Sounds good, my friend. One foot in front of the other, even when they slip and slide. Thank you very much.
Excellent post, Walt! Very inspiring.
Congrats on hitting the big five oh oh. That’s am exciting milestone. Looking forward to both the book and your summer adventures.
“Hitting the Big 5-Oh Oh.” Landmark or Tombstone, ready or not. Thank you, Douglas!
Great post that resonated with me. Thanks for sharing.
Continent to continent, heart to heart. Glad this worked for you, Peter. With thanks.
Walt, I am sure you know where your going, even when you don’t. Your many past yesterdays always point to your directions moving forward. Just glad you have found time in the freezing cold to hook some trout. I miss the water and have’t wet a line since before Thanksgiving. My daughters new house and the extensive remodeling work being done has kept me busy. My sons travel team hockey, along with the holidays and work, have me dreaming of water throughout the day constantly. Those crazy constants have reminded me how important fishing and finding solitude is to me. I am looking forward to the fly fishing show in NJ and recharge the batteries with like minded people. Soon, very soon, Ill be on some water in the middle of nowhere holding a brookie and saying, “where have you been the last 2 months”….(smile).
The new outdoor season beckons, JZ, but you’ve been doing great things, the important matters of heart and family. The wild trout family understands this and, no doubt, will embrace you soon. I sure appreciate your words of confidence and encouragement. If I’m lucky, our tracks will cross on the trout stream this year and we’ll raise a bottle or at least shake hands!
Hi Walt. Congrats on reaching 500. I haven’t read them all but I’ve read many and greatly enjoyed each one, as well as Rivers Edge and Beautiful Like a May Fly. What a great way to start a new year of fly fishing. Those were some beautifully colored brown trout. I still hope our paths will cross some quiet summer evening on Hawks Road or the West Branch!
Good to hear from you again. Thanks for being such a great supporter of these efforts. Yes, an angling rendezvous along pastoral Hawks Road or the wilder West Branch would be awesome for this olde flinger of the artificial fly. Till then, have a great new season on the water!
This is the kind of post that gets one pumped for “SPRING FISHING” —-beautiful colors on the brown in the last image. Great post, thanks for sharing
Glad you’re feeling that old spring urge, Bill. Always good hearing from you!
Good for you, getting out that early – I don’t even have my license yet!
I got lucky with the weather, Bob. Got the PA license but need NY’s for the current year. I’m confident that the trout will beckon you as the days begin to warm– very slowly but surely!