As I packed the last of my gear into the trunk of my 2013 Malibu on a Friday the 13th with a full moon, it occurred to me that I really need a vehicle better suited toward hunting and fishing, something like the 1990 Toyota Land Cruiser I had passed up in the spring. A full 20 minutes had passed since I last looked at the NOAH weather app on my phone, perhaps they had changed their minds and the rain would stop before I arrived at camp in 2 ½ hours; just as I susphere it is almost 8ected…cloudy with a 50% chance of showers ending around midnight. On the bright side, tomorrow dropped to 30% chance of showers, windy, gusts to 23 MPH, perfect for making a precision casting with a fly rod. Two hours later, about 30 minutes behind schedule and at least 20 miles past the nearest town, that would have a place to buy one, it occurred to me that my rain gear was hanging neatly in my closet at home. Fortunately, the tiny town of Charlemont had enough farmers around to support a local Agway store. A quick U-turn, legally of course, right after the no U-turn sign.
Panic set in as I merge of the shoulder and back into traffic with success…looking directly at one of Massachusetts’ finest in the now, oncoming lane. I found myself praising the sudden down pour of rain that I had been cursing minutes earlier. The state trooper sent me a glaring look that would rival that of my grandmothers when she first witnessed me placing a pinch of Copenhagen in my bottom lip and continued on his way. Apparently, an illegal U-turn in light traffic is not worthy of causing the trooper to soil his highly polished Calvary boots. Thank you God almighty.
After a 10-minute pit stop at Agway, I was back on the road and of course, the rain had let up and the sky was getting brighter, then ten minutes later the rain was falling moderately hard again, as it had all morning. I pulled into the Mohawk Campground, trudged through the muddy parking lot and stepped inside where I was greeted with all seven patrons looking to see who was coming in; one even gave me a cheekish smile revealing the few remaining brown teeth... Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith’s “Dueling Banjos” playing in my head. After a short talk with the man behind the bar, I learned that I was at the wrong place; Mohawk National Forest Campground was still a few miles away.
With a better idea of where our trout Unlimited group was camping, I was headed back a few miles to a rest area that had some promising looking water and ignored the fact that thousands before me have probably had the same thought. Pulling into the parking area, I spotted a grey Land Cruiser with New Hampshire license plates…that has to be someone from our group. No more than I had finished getting my gear on and rigging up my 9’0”, 5 weight Temple Fork rod with sink tip line a drift boat made its way to shore with three soaking wet men on board. Ed and Dick had been floating the river for the past four hours with no success. Although, I had been to a presentation this guide had given about Deerfield River where he told us he would refund 50% of your cost if no fish where caught, full price was paid, plus tip. Needless to say, Mr. Henault and Mr. Bickford were not pleased.
Despite the rain, I continued to fish for a few hours in the miserable weather without the slightest of strikes then headed to camp where I was greeted with the snoring of five fellow TU members. An hour later and the younger guys were headed back to the “top,” better known as Fife Brook damn and found themselves in the middle of a Hex hatch, Hexagenia limbata for the nerds out there, no offense intended – I say nerd, only because I can never remember the real names. Hearing this news when they arrived back at camp, well after dark, made me wish I had sucked it up and went with them.
Lou provided us with a tasty, steak tip dinner as we sat around swapping stories about the day and past trips taken throughout North and South America. After dinner I supplied the Scotch [Glenlivet 18 year old] and cigars [La Flor de Gloria] and more stories were shared on topics ranging from teaching the wife to fly fish to who had the best garden. My favorite was, “my wife and I have an agreement, she doesn’t have to go fishing and I don’t need to attend the ballet.” With eight of us ranging from in age from mid-30’s to 80+ telling stories, there was no want for entertainment.
The dilemma, eight men, four beds and me without a mat to place my sleeping bag on. I opted for my car with the front seat laid back, which learned in the morning, had been the best sleeping arrangement in the cabin. According to those under 45, “old men snore horribly.” Some had even considered refunding me half the price of the cabin for sleeping in the car while others thought I should be charged extra for getting a full 6 hours of sleep. [TO BE CONTINUED]…
Hereit is, nearly a full year later I sit at home on my couch, feeling loopy from the painkillers that were given to me following my spine surgeries. apparently sleeping in my car that night was not a good idea. I ended up with a herniated disc in my lower back and nearly a full summer without fishing or at least being in pain while I was out there on the wate. TThankfully the New Hampshire neuro Spine Center found the herniated disc after several months of pain and performed surgery. now I am 3 weeks post op and looking forward to this year's spring trip.