Ten Years On, Still Learning

Rivertop Rambles debuted 29 October 2011 with a short narrative commencing my Slate Run Odyssey series and the quiet start of a 10-year journey with this blog. I was certainly new to the game a decade ago and, frankly, I’m still learning. When I started up this blog (with my daughter’s help) I had no idea of how to post photos till about the third or fourth attempt but what I did have was determination to learn the ropes and to speak about my passions for fly-fishing, hiking, and natural history. The years have flown.

I am grateful for my readers and especially those who click the Like button and/or take the time to comment, opening the channels of communication. The Followers of Rivertop Rambles, modest in number but typically faithful, are especially appreciated for they’ve stuck with me through thick and thin. They’ve been here, having found the site without a link from other social media. That’s right, I’ve not used Facebook, Instagram or anything like it for a purchase. They have been here because of their interest in outdoor recreation, conservation, and good narrative. This blog has floated some 630 posts so far (the vast majority my personal reflections and associations, with accompanying photos). That’s a pretty decent record, especially when considering the fact that the average life-span of a blog is said to be about 100 days.

When I started posting the long series called “The Slate Run Odyssey” in the fall of 2011, my wife and daughter had won a raffle by the Slate Run Sportsmen group designed to benefit a Pennsylvania effort to survey and to ultimately protect more wild trout habitat in the region. The prize, donated by the Slate Run Tackle Shop, was a premium fly rod and reel which I was privileged to use throughout my efforts to fish Slate Run from mouth to source. I still enjoy that Superfine graphite– a 4-piece 4-weight rod that measures 7-feet in length and wears its complementary reel with pride.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years while blogging but when I learn of them I try to make amends. They’re sort of like a screw-up that occurred this summer while hiking in Costa Rica. I was walking down a gravel road, fascinated by the flight of Scarlet Macaws passing overhead. My head was in the clouds, so to speak, while I should have kept an eye on where I was heading. I fell flat on my gut, scraping limbs and injuring a shoulder that, two months later, requires physical therapy. I learned a lesson rather late but realized that, for some of us, school is never out.

Therapy takes many forms and, for me, one of them is writing. Also, not to be forgotten is that sweet rejuvenation gained from hours spent on a wonderful stream or mountain trail. Out there, I’ll look once again at the inscription on my little 7-foot fishing instrument, the one that entered my life about the same time that this blog was born. The script says “2011 Pine Creek Watershed Conservation Rod.” It’s suffered a few minor injuries throughout the decade but it’s primed, as always, for another gentle cast.

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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29 Responses to Ten Years On, Still Learning

  1. Nice Brown! Although I think it may have been a ‘Chester’ or a fiberglass rod used to land that one per the picture (as it is laying in the water I’d guess it wasn’t Chester on second thought). I think Izaak would approve! And a nice blog entry to add to the many already accumulated. Thank you for the ‘thanks’ but you make it worthy to come for a visit and read your scribbling – just equate that to how it may apply to a keyboard (scratchings?). Keep up the good work RTR! UB

    • Thanks very much, UB. You’re right, that brown was caught earlier, with a different rod. Some of these pictures go back a little ways, reflecting a sense of time passed by. After the recent meeting I did manage to catch/release a small brown on Slate (with the featured Orvis rod) while fishing in the rain.

      • That’s really neat RTR! I find that fishing with my Dad’s old fiberglass, at least once a year out on Pine, has a special meaning to me. Glad to say it has felt the tug of several large (albeit stocked) Browns along those lines (or maybe I should say ‘on it’s line’). Take care and keep writing the good stuff! UB

      • UB, your use of Dad’s old fiberglass on occasion proves again how we aging anglers entertain new meaning for the sport & keep the fun of it alive.

  2. Don T says:

    Walt,
    Hope you didn’t mess up the casting shoulder. Get well soon.

    • Thanks Don. It’s good to be ambidextrous when it comes to casting, but affected shoulder is my left one, which is lesser used for the job. My therapy sessions seem to be working well….

  3. Brent says:

    Ten years ago, you also surely would’ve looked askance at anyone who predicted that this blog would become the most extensive single writing project of your career! 630 posts = thousands of pages of essays, travelogues, and creative writing exercises…not to mention all the increasingly great digital photos. (I don’t know if you fully appreciate how you’ve learned to work with digital photography!) It would also be interested to tally the number of life events this blog has overlapped: 14% of your life so far, dozens of full vacations and mini fishing trips, hundreds of bottles of Two-Hearted Ale, a retirement, a home renovation, and an injury or two.

    Here’s to many more (although let’s try to avoid the injuries)!

    • Oh my god, thank you, and you’re right, I surely would have looked askance. And I look askance now, when I think about the whole dizzying prospect. And it’s certainly been fun, thanks to those who’ve cared & been a help. I’ll drink one for continuation, and keep an eye out for those stumbling blocks.

  4. plaidcamper says:

    No mean feat, Walt! Stay on your feet, and I look forward to the next 630 essays – always enjoyable!

  5. Hi. Your blog is real good. Onward!

  6. Bob Stanton says:

    And in some small way, the world is a better place (at least for me) because RR exists. It was by happenstance, while looking for fishing reports on the northern tier of Pennsylvania that I stumbled upon the blog. Came for the fishing, stayed for the writing. And more importantly, I gained a great friend with whom I’ve had the tremendous pleasure of logging time with in beautiful places, fish or no fish, and who is and remains an influence on me. Viva la Rivertop Rambles!

    • One of the reasons that I launched this baby initially was to see if I could find a kindred spirit or two who shared my love of things wild & free & was willing to share something of his or her life. I have been successful in that regard. I can never thank you enough for being one of those, a great friend & contributor through the years. I’ll look forward to more fine hours on the blog, in words, & on the stream with you, Bob. Sincerely….

  7. AJ Morris says:

    Was it Einstein who said once you stop learning, you start dying?

  8. So much water and so little time…Here’s hoping for another ten years!

  9. Bob Matuzak says:

    Here’s my hope for another 10 years! I really enjoy your writings Walt. Thank you so much. Kinderhook Bob

  10. Ross says:

    10 years, wow. Have really enjoyed your ramblings Walt. From fishing, the land and the beauty about; keep up the good work.

  11. loydtruss says:

    Walt
    Sorry for the late reply, but my wife and I have been so busy overseeing the renovation of our son’s house in Birmingham.
    You and I are old-school when it comes to blogging. I started my blog back in 2011 as well. Like so many others, I found your blog through other blog readers. I am not a Facebook fan and do very little on Instagram, so blogging is my way to communicate on the net with individuals who enjoy the outdoors and fly fishing as you do. Your blog has been one of my favorites over the years, not only for the written content but the beautiful images as well. I’m sure you guys are experiencing a lot of fall foliage now. Great post, and thanks for sharing

    • Bob Matuzak says:

      Pardon me for not knowing, but what’s your blog? Sounds interesting and I’d like to check it out. That’s not like I’m cheating on you, is it Walt:)

    • Bill,
      Yeah a happy decade of blogging to you, as well! Keep up that good work. We old-timers have some overlap, don’t we… I certainly appreciate your support through all these years. I, too, have been busy with house renovation, but with our own, and mostly in a support capacity. Anyway, thanks again… As for the fall foliage, it’s been a relatively drab transition due to the warm weather & very wet conditions of late. But the colors that do appear are always pleasant to behold.

  12. Jet Eliot says:

    Congratulations Walt! An entire decade on WP, and all the time casting and writing books, too. I so enjoyed this look back on your WP decade, and if it wasn’t for your blog I would not have had the privilege of sharing in your words, thoughts and photos here, or in your books. I have also really enjoyed observing your passion for fishing here. Your love for this marvelous earth and your skills and gifts for writing have been a true pleasure, my friend. (Sorry about the birding injury.)

    • Thank you, Jet! I love the fact that you’ve been here to share your thoughts & kindness. Your own blog continues to inspire & to educate a lot of us about the natural wonders of this planet, and I wish you continued success in your writing & the sharing of your knowledge.

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