We pulled out of town around 7am, not forgetting to make the standard-issue pit stop for breakfast, and at none other than 7-11. If you’re hung over like some folks were in my river taxi, that means doubling up on the saus-egg-chez biscuits, a twisty doughnut for dessert, and washing it all down with Red Bull. Everything available at 7-11 is the antithesis of everything available at the farmers’ market, but the farmer’s market didn’t open for another half hour. The product serves its intended purpose, especially if you consumed too many hydroxyl groups (a.k.a. gin ‘n tonics) the night before.
I appreciate Toyota engineering during times like these. The fresh air vents work especially well for acclimatizing one’s self to the cool and thinning air as you cross the Divide. Yea, that’s what the vents are for, acclimatization. An hour and a half worth of acclimatization. The driver stares up the road, left hand persistently drawn to the side window button. Will cracking it at 80mph offend? He prays for a hatch. Any hatch will do.
The skies are bluer than this blog’s header. As the boots go on I notice it’s cooler than normal, a reminder that wet wading decisions should be made at the tailgate instead of the utility room. I rig up quickly, but not quick enough. The competition shows up donning late autumn apparel, sees us, and sprints down to the river with four pieces of graphite in hand, six feet of line dragging behind them in the dirt.
The water has dropped roughly 40% in the last two weeks – the fish will be acting like they’ve taken in a lifetime’s supply of Clive Barker novels. Eleven feet of flourocarbon later that problem is solved. Sun still low, it’s spotters’ heaven. Unmistakable flashes stand out against a rocky bottom devoid of moss. Whether it be full on floating bugs, emergers just beneath the film, or seven pieces of #4 split shot dragging the faux meals, these fish have no chance.
Later on we change scenes, and the action slows considerably. With light now coming from high above, I direct my offerings into the deepest channels, dragging fat stone flies across boulder strewn bottoms. Production resembled chipset engineering, methodical and prone to waste. Three snagged flies later we call it done deal.
On the walk out my buddy asked “So how many did you get for the day?” I replied “I don’t know, maybe XX.” “Oh shit.” He knew that figure floated around my average, and said no more. Frankly, I’d completely lost count after number XX, subconsciously placing total nettings for the day down the list of priorities.
I’d wanted to be there. Just be there.
It’s Sunday afternoon. I-70 is standing room only. 7-11 is out of the question.