My Dad’s Fly Rod

That's my dad's fly rod ... I helped build for his 47th birthday ... he would have been 85 this year.

That’s my dad’s fly rod … I helped build it for his 47th birthday … he would have been 85 this year.

I love summer. I am a lizard and the warmer it get the more I want to ‘do’ something! I’m in summer “pack it in” mode …that’s packing as many activities into the remaining weeks of summer as I can. so far, this month; Fish camp, zip-lining, harvesting and canning/drying, then it’ll be Fish Camp Phase 2 … (and a lot more in store for September).

Last week … my first ‘fish camp’.  I’ve been invited every summer for years, but I was always otherwise occupied … fire season you know. I would get a bit jealous hearing all the fish stories … Well, not this year!  Sweetie packed the truck with our trusty Kirkham Springbar Tent (which I’ve had for 36 years)  … of course, it’s had a new floor, and new screens, a few patches here and there and new poles, but it has survived monsoons at Yuba Lake UT, a tornado at Martin’s Cove WY; storms that shredded every other tent around.  Each time we open it up the canvas exudes memories. They are in the fabric and patches and sticky zippers. It’s been shelter from sun, rain, wind and snow. It has been staked in desert sands, beneath mountainous crags, in forested glens, and backyards. It has been Sweetie’s hooch the past 8 fire seasons. It is well-loved and I wouldn’t trade it for any other tent around. Can you tell I love this tent? Anyway, toss in the sleeping bags, camp box, cots, mats, fishing gear and a cooler (sounds like a lot of stuff, but it all fits snugly into the shell of the pickup) and off we headed to “Mystery” River.

"Mystery" River at sunset

“Mystery” River at sunset

We pulled into camp with enough light to setup and spend an hour or two around the campfire. The first night was coolish, the second night was so cold it froze water 1/2 inch thick in the dog bowl and I didn’t want to crawl out of bed to even let Mala outside.  The days were windy and warm and I loved every minute of it.

The river was narrow and tree lined.  I brought the fly rod that my first husband and I built for my dad for his 47th birthday. It was designed for skinny water.  I fished with it all week. My dad had engraved on the handle and steel rod case the date, from, & why … it made me smile when I saw his hand writing.

It wasn’t a killer catch a fish with every cast day, but we returned to camp to dutch oven dinners and later, shooting star sightings after the campfire burned low. The air held the soft whirs of nighthawks’ wings and the wash of the river against the brush and rocks set the background music of our evenings.

No, it wasn’t a killer catch a fish with every cast trip; I did get to spend time with my Sweetie, friends and new friends and I caught fish with my dad’s fly rod, and I remembered him and I smiled … a lot.



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