In my last post, I gloried in showing you some photographs of the camping trip my dear husband and I took last week to one of his favourite fly fishing rivers. Here is the rest of what I have to show you. Here’s the shot I ended with last week, showing dh walking upriver from our campsite on the first morning of the trip. (He's quite far away and thus very small, at the top of the gravel beach under the bridge.)
One morning I went with him, wading through the river, at about a third of his speed. I had on my wading sandals (not specifically made for the purpose, but designated thus by me), which tend to slip and slide on the river rocks. He, however, was in his purpose-made wading boots, which have felt soles specifically designed for walking on river rocks. As you can see here, he was able to keep up a good pace, walking as easily as if he were on a city sidewalk, while I inched and wavered and searched for footing.
This was where I left him, since I was far too chicken to wade through water that came up to his thighs in the middle of the (fast-moving) channel, especially with my camera around my neck. And off he went across the next ford as well. (Again, he's nearly invisible walking in the second channel of the river.)
After this point, I turned back and concentrated on the variations of colour in the river offered by changes in light and angle.
Isn’t it AMAZING? I could sit and watch the water for hours. To me it’s like surf, moving endlessly and in infinite variation but at the same time always the same. Utterly soothing and a wonderful inducement to unhitching one’s mind from its usual preoccupations. I found myself in a state of meditation several times during our holiday as I sat or stood by the river as it flowed by. And when I got home, even a day or two later I found that when I closed my eyes I still had an afterimage of water moving from right to left (since I was usually on the north side of the river, which flows east).
On our last morning, we went on a joint adventure, driving up one of the logging roads to a point where the road came close to the river, and then bushwhacking our way upstream a hundred metres or so to a point where we could reach the point at which dh wanted to fish. This bushwhacking was intense: the bush grows to the edge of the river in most places and is incredibly dense, consisting of a tangle of willow, red-osier dogwood, alder, cottonwood, and some more prickly species, particularly roses, nettles, thistles, and devil’s club. What began as a path soon evaporated, leaving us trapped waist-high in a kind of nest of branches. Sometimes we could push through, sometimes we had to go under, sometimes over, and sometimes we simply had to backtrack and try to find an easier route. We both ended up with epic scratches and punctures on our legs (we wore shorts, not knowing what we were facing). Dh took a particularly nasty puncture when he fell over beaver-gnawed stumps of willow and alder and twisted his body to avoid falling on me, standing below him. But we made it. And for dh, the rewards were ample for the sacrifice.
He was thrilled when he got what he’d been waiting for, a hit from a cutthroat. He made his way back across the river to me so that I could take a picture of the fish, but just as he got close enough, the fish broke free. Such disappointment! Not that he was intent on a trophy photograph: he wanted me to see how beautiful these fish are and record that beauty with the camera.
I was not willing to wait in the broiling sun for the next strike, so I left him to it and made my way back through the scrub and onto the road, from where I had an easy walk of a couple of kilometres back to camp.
The previous afternoon, the afternoon of the adventure I recounted in last week’s post, dh set off downriver before I did in his pontoon boat (known to fly-fishing folk as a toon boat). He put the boat in the water on the gravel beach just below the trailer. And drifted away.
He was gone all day and absolutely wiped out after he’d walked most of the way back up the road from his takeout spot. I saved him the last half kilometre by bravely getting into the tank-like Dodge pickup and driving off to the rescue.
Another day, he simply walked across the bridge and waded into the river just downstream from the trailer. I found a spot across the river from which I could stand beside the cedars on the river bank and take photographs of his success (moderate, that time).
Dh was able to indulge his other passion as well, even though here as usual he bumped up against the fact that the best times for painting (early morning and evening) are the best times for fishing too. Still, he got two paintings done this trip.
So much for our activities. I’ll leave you with some candids of other moments that had nothing to do with anything other than the beauty of the place.
What a place. How I wish my dad could see it.
Which reminds me. These last two posts have been all about me and dh, of course, while the previous two were all about my beloved father and his huge effort to come back from a stroke that he suffered after major heart surgery last month. I haven’t seen him now for two and a half weeks, but my sister tells me I’ll see a lot of improvement in his condition when I do. I hope to be back on the coast with him and my mother in the next day or so, and will report at that point on how he’s doing. In the meantime, thank you very much, all of you who have asked about him and wished him well.