Friday, September 3, 2010

Virginia Breakaway - Day Four

It’s a sad, sad truth, but all good things must come to an end. It had been a great fishing trip but T-Bone needed to get back home for a Saturday night gig with his blues band and I needed to return to pack for a trip to the Windy City and points west. So, at daybreak, we loaded our belongings, bid adieu to Heffe and The Rog, who were staying through the weekend, and pointed the truck east, and south, for home.

As neither of us really needed to be home before mid-afternoon, we debated on how best to spend the morning. Actually, we knew how to spend it - the question was where. Another night of rain made stream conditions a guessing game, so we decided to improve our chances by gaining some elevation – getting into the high country and exploring some of the smaller trout streams that might not have been soaked as thoroughly.

The Blue Ridge Parkway was lost in a fog and we crawled along it with little more than ten or fifteen yards visible beyond our front grill. We eventually found our trailhead - thankfully without bumping any of the cyclists that appeared out of the mists as we crawled along - rigged up our light sticks, my 2wt and T-Bone’s 3, and spent the next couple of hours rock-hopping along a quiet little Appalachian trickle.

Seldom more than a few feet across, the stream ran steady and clear, despite the heavy weather – not a real rain, but a constant gentle drizzle. Working small woolly buggers, fished like nymphs, we each coaxed a few wild rainbows, sized to match their tiny habitat, to hand.

This quiet, secluded stream and the soft, moist morning mist provided the perfect decompression from the past few days of hard fishing. I walked and admired the dreamlike surroundings as much as I fished, internalizing the hushed forest, the drip of condensed mist from the hardwood canopy, and the gentle white noise of the stream. This was how to end a fishing trip. Minutes marked by random raindrops, counting time before the adventure was done.

My heartfelt thanks to the boys – T-Bone, Heffe, The Rog – for allowing me to tag along on their annual outing and I look forward to being on the stream with each of them again in the not-to-distant future.

Let this trip be one good thing that doesn’t come to an end any time soon.

And so ends the Virginia Breakaway. I hope you enjoyed the reading as much as I enjoyed the telling.

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