Monday, February 22, 2010

North Fork

An adventure can’t happen with out the funding, witch means work and unfortunately fun isn’t fun without the excruciating confines of work. Sometimes dreams have to be pushed aside to make a living. So were is the line, the line between work and being a backpacking bum. The lure of the trail the smoke permeated clothing and the solitude of being somewhere beautiful, alone with my mind. The trail draws my thoughts. And my thoughts wonder how can I make a living and still do the things I love.
The North Fork River flows pool after pool with fast moving shuts of white water, followed by up turning eddies, followed by wide stretches of slow moving water. I’ve thought about this trip for months, and though it’s not a backpacking trip it is an adventure. I’ve done research, read fishing reports, check water levels. Ask the question, where does a wild Missouri rainbow trout hide?
I’ve grown to appreciate a long drive even if it doesn’t pay off with a plump rainbow trout at the end of it. Jason and I had booked a canoe trip on a stretch of the North Fork River with a population of wild trout. From the western side of Missouri it was a six hour drive. This would ford at least two coffee stops. Quick Trip's coffee is often reliable, though I find the small hole-in-the-wall gas station to be much more colorful and often their coffee has that brewed at home taste. On occasion you save a pot from its demise snatching it just before its thrown away it can be a little thick but since I'm a coffee hound I choke it down anyway. We arrived late into the night at a steep and dusty red gravel road. At the bottom was the River of Life Farm, a canoe and fly fishing resort. It was early spring and there weren’t many other campers. We found a camp site that sat next to the river and set up our tents.
This was as exploratory trip, part canoe trip and part fly fishing trip but mostly a chance to get away. We woke that morning and met with the owners to arrange for our boat. We got on the river early and as soon as possible I started making casts to likely places that wild trout hide (where ever that is). I found my self doing more talking than fishing and before to long more drinking than talking. It had been a while since Jason and I had the chance to have a couple cold ones. The river was stunning it was wide and a dark tea color; so wide, that when the boat was riding the current on one side it would have been hard to cast to the other. We explored a cave that was just up the side of a bank, we made several other stops one to eat lunch but most just to relive our self’s. It was relaxing, and the weather was perfect it didn’t even bother me that I hadn’t caught a fish. Before I knew it we were being shuttled back to camp, where we made dinner over an open fire. The next morning I waded into the cold water wearing my waders. The vegetation was green and the air was moist, there was a slight fog just above the water, with out noticing it I had stepped though a patch of mint clover growing along the banks, the smell was invigorating.
I casted a woolly bugger under over hanging trees and cut banks, but the only action was a few missed subtle bits. there was the occasional bump and nudge but most likely it was just a weed or log on the nutritious bottom. I never did net a fish that weekend but to me the trip was a success, it was a beautiful place and I hope to go back soon.

I didn't catch one so I thought I would at least post a picture of one I had caught previously.

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