Sunday, July 14, 2013
Casting for a Fun?
Three weeks ago today, I left Bend. Predictably, my adventure has now brought me to one of my favorite places, a home away from home, Kamloops B.C., a town that I have visited each summer since 1981. Up until a few years ago, I would bring a motley group of unusual, disparate friends here to the supermarket to buy a week's worth of provisions to pack into the "Lake" to prepare for our annual fishing trip. Then, after staying the first several days at Juniper Beach, a rustic campground along the Thompson River, which we used as our base for a few days, we would then be shuttled by hosts into the mountains to a romantic, secluded dock protruding into the azure color of Lake Hi Huim, a natural tarn wrapped by a pine forest teeming with bears, deer, and occasional moose. Full of excitement and a sense of adventure, we would be given little boats which we loaded with our belongings. Like make-believe mariners, would motor them three miles to our "hideout on a bluff" situated on Eagle Point, a spit which protruded into the water like a giant moss-covered log. Most of our days we spent fishing relentlessly and then, evenings after dinner, often past sunset at 10:30 pm, we cast our fly rods with deepest anticipation to lure large, sassy, chrome-colored trout to the bite. In the interim, we rested in the cabin, exhausted from our "toil," to the background sound of loons echoing messages of love across the water. Most important, our home had a large kitchen with an ancient wood stove, an ice box, and a large table, around which we would eat heartily and sit for hours telling tales of bravado, often exaggerated from the effect of shots from duty-free bottles of Bailey's and Wieser's Canadian Whiskey.
Of course, so much has changed over the years. I sit and stare at the screen of my laptop this Sunday and feel these special joyous memories of my life bob into my thoughts like treasured flotsam. Unfortunately, dwelling too much on past joy, often takes people down a river which makes the present feel choppy. Many of the lake trip's alumni, my best friends, are now gone, incapacitated, or have other pressing commitments. The lake has changed too. A few years ago the pine beetle devastated the surrounding forest, making the once verdant green now ugly swaths of rust brown streaks of rotting trunks of dead trees. The original species of lovely fish which hunted the waters to feast for an, even then, rare species, the travelling sedge, have also disappeared. In their wisdom to maximize the resource, the province's wildlife commission introduced a more resilient, but duller looking, generic species of trout into the lake, with the effect that the original fish hybridized and then disappeared. Even the campground, Juniper Beach on the Thompson River, where we stayed before "going in", once private, and owned by a gentle Danish lady, who each year when we arrived, gave us slices of freshly-baked pie, was bought out by the Province a number of years ago and outfitted with water, electricity,and motor home and RV hook-ups.
An adventurer makes his own opportunity and doesn't sit still and fret. There are new lakes to ply and "new fish to fry". The cloudless sky changes to rain clouds, to be sure, but it is important to remember that it clears again On that note, there are groceries to buy, supplies to be gotten, people to meet, and places to see. The day is moving on and then, before you know it, nightfall sets in.