The Hell Trip
It can be difficult to get away from work and to-do lists for even a day sometimes, even on a Saturday. But yesterday was exceptional. I managed to escape from the compound and all the projects yesterday for a 12 hour float down the most beautiful river that runs through my range. I love this place. I expect I’ve made this trip 30 times or more since I first discovered the place back in about 1988. The first time was with my friend, O3. We didn’t know what we were getting into. I’d read the canoe guide books that warned of the need to make a short portage around the falls (pictured), but we were not prepared for all the wading and canoe dragging that can be required on this stretch at low water levels, and it was cold that first day.
Were it nor for the single fish I caught on that first trip, that happened to be a respectable 18 inch smallmouth, I probably would never have gone back again. O3 didn’t catch a fish that day and I think maybe that fact, plus the cold water we were soaked in for most of the day may have put an ache in his bones that went pretty deep. O3 dubbed the excursion “the hell trip,” and he never came back. And I have to admit that every time I make the trip, I wake up the next day feeling like I’ve been in a fight or something (as if I knew what that would feel like). Yesterday, I had perfect water levels and warm weather. But I still could barely crawl out of bed this morning. I’m feeling better now. I’m really pleased that I can make a run like this at 56 years old, all by myself.
I caught and released 25 bass yesterday, including a couple of nice ones. The really HUGE fish got away, but I had her on the line long enough to get a good look and to burn that image and the lingering feeling of missing a trophy into my brain. I took a serious large bunch of photos that I’m processing now. They include several scenic panoramas, but I also made a foray into the woods at the site of Quarles Mill, where I took a bunch of pictures of the civil war era mill, now in ruins. I’ll be posting more from this trip later in the week.
A previous post from the same place: https://boatdog.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/north-anna-falls/