Sunday, July 01, 2012

Adirondack Mothers Day Idyll...

Epic, epic, epic.  Which of course is why it has taken me well-nigh two months to post it up.

Camp Goreham on Dart Lake, N. of Inlet, almost to Big Moose Station.   The good country.  Not your 'sexy Gortex high peaks', where grim faced hikers follow each other around like dull-witted sheep on  paths so well-worn that you can walk on autopilot.  

No, this is brook trout, backwoods, and lakeside tavern country.  Flatten the hills, replace the brookies with musky or walleye, and you could be in northern Wisconsin or Minnesota.  But with history so thick you can sniff it when the breeze is just right.  We added our layer.

Day 1 , while the good Tidball elders were still abed, Hannah, Tori, and Charlotte were down by the docks.  Cold out. Wearing winter jackets.  Big splash heard.  Big empty space on the dock where my loverly daughter had just been standing.  Hmmmm.   She seemed to remain under the surface for an improbable length of time.  Run down to the dock, fish her out, her squalling like an alley cat.  Good experience for her to understand the interactive effects of 12' of 45F water, winter jacket, and knee high boots.   Good thing she can swim, that one.  Sigh.  Walking back to the cabin for fresh clothes and something in the coffee to steady my nerves.   Hmmm...that's a black bear.  Right there.  30' away.  More or less between us and the cabin.  I angled the girls up the hill and he ambled on his way.  This is all by 830 the first morning, you understand.  Did I mention that in the poker game the previous evening, Julie got not one, but TWO four of a kind (queens each time) playing 5 card stud?  Sheesh, good start.

While Mo hauled Keith all the way over to N Hudson, the kids and I and the poker queen climbed Black Bear Mtn (appropro of the day).  Some good scrambles in a few places, but with Tori ably leading the way (occasionally even within sight of the rest of our ragtag team) we made the summit.  

when did Hannah get so big?

Day 2: Mother's Day Brook Trout Bonanza
Mo was so grateful to us for watching her chickies while she and Keith circumnavigated the 'daks the day before, that she volunteered to watch all four kids, while Julie, Keith and I set off for the sake of science to angle for the noble brook trout, which as everyone will tell you does NOT grow very big in these little Adk streams.  Part of the reason there are not so many mounted fish on the tavern walls here as in the upper midwest: even a brookie of a lifetime (of anyone's lifetime, for that matter) does not carry the gravitas of even a decent sized musky.  A different kind of place totem.  We fished an unnamed tributary of an unnamed river that drained into an unnamed lake.  Somewhere N of Utica, S of Ottawa, and W of Boston.  Find it yourself.

First we ran into boo-boo bear...or his brother...en route.

And man did we find the brookies.  Big ones.  And we whacked 'em.  Firmly hewing to Mo's "bring them home for science" project (a very cool study on nutritional analysis of wild game and fish for her Cornell Cooperative Extension project, but one that requires--crazy scientists--preposterous quantities of carnage--think about donating your next 97 woodcock, for example), we celebrated the opportunity revel in the temporary orgy of the 'catch and bonk' school of thought.  Old school all the way.  What kind of flies did I use?  The kind that say "Mepps" on the blade.

And we caught big fish.  One great productive riffle/bend, with nary a pirahna in sight.  Keith got a 16.5" beauty...

And so did I.

And Julie of the "four of a kind" topped us both with a gorgeous 19.75" monster.  Gotta teach that girl how to hold a fish to properly show it off.  There will be time enough to admire later...this one is going on the wall.

ain't she a beaut?

Cagey the ADK wilderness guide, sensing my emerging guilt at the orgy, and my wondering whether we had totally messed up the stream for future generations, assured me that this is the natural density of unhassled brook trout water.  Set it aside for a day, and wallow--roll in it, soak it up good and savor.


KGT (aka Cagey) said...

Yay for us! Yay for Brookies! Yay for the ADKS!

Nice write-up Rich--- ready to go back?

Anonymous said...

Awesome write-up. More please!