Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thank You Smoothie Girl

This last week was spent with a lot of internalizing. The weather made fishing tough. The beach was sandblasting me with 20mph sustained winds. The shells underneath my feet made wading the surf like walking on glass. I put in the work but was only rewarded with a sunburn. The rest of the time was spent with family. Napping and eating great meals while listening to random comments about the amount of white in my hair and the size of my belly. Gone are the days when I receive second glances from cute 20 somethings or people mistaking me for a high school or college student. My one last attempt at the beach was met with a girl selling smoothies from a cooler. I asked how much they were knowing full well I wasn't going to buy one. After some small talk, I was offered a free smoothie. I'd like to say it was my good looks or charm that had this encounter end with me getting a smoothie. In reality, I'm sure it was just a nice gesture or maybe she felt sorry for me as I limped with cut feet and a sunburn. In a week of knowing I know longer have "it", on this day I got a free smoothie and it tasted amazing.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Not Your Day

When you fish with friends sometimes it's just not your day. It's still fun to see others having success and enjoy the moment with them. Yesterday Troy and I hit a local lake in search of monster bass looking up. We really only had one good opportunity and Troy made the most of it. There was a large swirl near the reeds and we knew it had to be a good sized fish. A few casts later Troy hooked up and it was hard to tell what he had at first. The fish swam right at him putting a ton of slack in his line. Troy was able to take in the slack quickly and put some pressure on the fish. The bass shot out of the water and we both looked at each other and at the same time said "that's a nice fish!" It's weird seeing a 6 plus pound bass sky out of the water. It shows how powerful a fish's tail is. After several jumps and a good fight, the fish came to hand.
The stealth bomber was inhaled.
The fish was a great break to the otherwise slow morning. Troy has always been kind enough to invite me along and share his boat and fishing knowledge with me. He's one of the few people that I believe likes fly fishing even more than I do. In the end, I can't emphasize this enough. Fly fishing is fun but not as fun as fishing with friends.



Monday, June 6, 2016

Fishing With My Son

I took my son out in the kayak for a short trip on the lake. He still thinks fishing is all about snacks, right after I caught a fish he asked if it's time to go home now. It was still nice to get out and enjoy the outdoors even for only a couple hours.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Hiking Grayson Highlands

The family got out for a day hike in Grayson Highlands State Park. I have seen pictures and heard about this park but never visited. The Appalachian Trail runs through the park and there are quite a few people there for such a remote location.
What struck me first was how green it was. The area has seen a lot of rain lately and the vegetation is definitely flourishing. There are hiking trails that intersect all over the place. Some are for hikers and others are for horses only. 
The trails are very well maintained and there were several crags for kids to climb on. My kids were in heaven scrambling all over the rocks.
The elevation from the top of the rocks lent itself to some spectacular views. 

In the distance you could see what most day hike visitors come here for, can you find them? 
There are wild horses that roam this park. They are smaller than the wild stallions that roam the western plains. These horses have a shaggier coat, long manes, and tails.
The horses have obviously built up a tolerance to people with so many visitors at the park. They are still beautiful creatures and fun to see. 
Even though there are signs everywhere asking people to keep their distance people tried to pet and feed the horses. It's sad how people have to push the limits and ruin it for everyone else. The horses associate people with food if they're always fed. People don't think about what they are giving these animals. Fritos and potato chips don't have the best nutritional value. 
If you are in the area I highly recommend visiting this park. The scenery is fantastic and on days like today, you can really see where the name Blue Ridge Mountains came from.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Personal Best Brown

The weather was overcast and the water was higher than normal with a little stain. I had just gotten in and after my 10th cast with a streamer I hooked this guy. It used the current and put up a great fight. I was using a 3/4wt 10ft rod and it gave it all it could handle. Landing the fish was a total cluster you know what. When I went to net the fish it wouldn't fit in the net. I decided to ditch the rod and try to grab the trout. That's when a hilarious scenario ensued. I had to have a friend help me net it. I had already gone through many bouts of having the fish in my hands to only have it slip free. This is the largest trout I have caught. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

My Sighting

I'm an open minded person when it comes to myths and legends. I'd like to think there are some things out there we can't proove. Even though I feel that way I always had a hard time believing I'd be involved in a situation I couldn't explain. I'm a very logical person so if I suspect something or hear about something I'm pretty skeptical until I see the evidence.

My buddies and I were fishing last weekend in a remote part of Virginia. The access isn't difficult but the location is sparsely populated. The day was overcast with a cold front coming in. There was a constant draft accompanying the front. The wind seemed to stay at 20mph with higher gusts every now and then. Branches were falling randomly and there was an occasional rain shower. I was walking the tree line with a friend. Behind the tree line was the forest and the river. Between the tree line was a field and a few houses on the far side. The tree line didn't run in a straight line it was serrated and came out to points then went back towards the creek. I walked around one of the points and heard a dog barking from a house across the field. I looked back in front of me and saw something hunched down on the edge of the tree line. It was facing into the forest. I thought it was a dog at first but it looked strange. The animal was a good 50yds or so away from me. It was dark colored almost a charcoal gray. I figured maybe it was a bear at first but the back of the animal was streamlined and nothing like what I've seen in bear pics before. The animal was also hunched down like a cat. I took a few more steps and the animal's body language did a move like it sensed or saw me out of the corner of its eye. In what seemed like a second it dashed into the forest. What I saw as it did this is what stuck with me the most. It was the animal's tail. It was long like a mountain lion. I turned to my friend and said, "I think just saw a mountain lion." As the words came out of my mouth I felt stupid for even saying it. I couldn't discount what I had just seen. It was way too big to be house cat. The coloring was nothing like a bobcat plus that tail. I really wanted to say it was a panther but I knew that would be even more unbelievable. The coloring was so dark. It was darker than any mountain lions I've seen in Zoos or in pictures. The problem with thinking it was a panther was the color. The animal wasn't shiny like the panther pictures I've seen.

My buddy was really skeptical and we walked over to where I had seen the animal. There was a trail leading into the forest that disappeared into the underbrush. The overcast skies shaded underneath the trees and made difficult to see. The ground was covered with ferns, tall grass, briars and vines. The wind made it impossible to hear in behind the tree line. I wanted to go down and search but I was scared. I knew I had seen something and I had a feeling it was still seeing me but I had no idea where it was. Neither my buddy or I had the nerve to go down the trail. The ground was hard-packed at the beginning of the trail and there was no sign of any tracks. We told my other friend that was with us and he spent about 5min trying to figure out if we were messing with him. The rest of the afternoon was spent wondering if I was lying, hallucinating or doing drugs. It got to the point where I didn't want to talk about it anymore at all. What I was saying sounded crazy but then again I knew I saw something.

That night we researched online sightings in the area near where we were. There were articles here and there and none were very creditable. The location made sense if there truly was a panther loose. There was easy access to food and water. The forest covered 100's of square miles and provided ample cover. The only thing we could come up with is maybe someone had a mountain lion or panther as a pet and let it go. Or it got loose.

I guess we'll never know.