I had a run of lousy luck this summer. I’d planned out some trips to a couple of lakes that caught my eye in the mapbook and, when the time came to get out there and actually explore the lake, things didn’t quite go as they should have.
It’s not surprising, really. Well, it shouldn’t be, anyway. It’s pretty easy to get everything all figured out on paper, but when you’re actually on the ground and facing the reality of terrain, it can often be something very different from what you expected.
Sometimes, a road isn’t a road at all, it’s more of a trail. Sometimes it’s barely even a trail.
That’s exactly what happened to me not once, but three times.
In a row.
The first two time it happened, it wasn’t too bad. The first trip ended with a spectacular day of fishing on my backup lake–always have a backup lake.
The second time ended with a few days at an amazing camp site.
The third time, however, I wasn’t able to roll with it quite so well. I was well on my way to a lake I’d had my eye on for a couple of years and had heard great things about. Everything was going smoothly until I turned up onto the forestry road that led o the lake where I was greeted by a sign that said, “Road washed out. Do no use.”
I hesitated long enough to realize that I could see the washout from where I was and, really, it wasn’t that bad at all.
About 100 m after that, I realized that my poor little vehicle just wasn’t going to cut it. To be fair, I’m fairly confident in my little Nissan’s ability to get in and out of some pretty impressive spots, but this didn’t feel like one of those spots.
I’m sure I could have made it in and out without much trouble, but I didn’t want to risk it. I was alone and pretty far off the beaten path at that point, so rather than risk trouble, I backed down the road until I could turn around and then started back.
I was feeling pretty deflated by this point. As I mentioned, I had been looking forward this lake for a while and to have to turn around like that wasn’t how I’d hoped my day would go. Not only was I bummed about having to turn around, but I had been pretty distracted by the fact that I had just found a course I had wanted to sign up for opened up that day. I almost didn’t go out because I hadn’t wanted to miss the window for the course and, when I discovered I couldn’t get to the lake, I almost just headed for home.
I didn’t though. I spent a couple of hours half-heartedly fishing at my backup lake, which wasn’t fishing well at all because of an algae bloom, before deciding to get home and sign up for that course before it was too late.
About three quarters of the way home, I ran into my neighbour. He works for a local road maintenance company and the road I was on was part of his territory. He jumped out of his grader and we chatted for a bit. I told him I’d been trying to find a lake and it hadn’t gone so well and mentioned that my heart just hadn’t been in it that day.
“At you’re fishing and not stuck in this thing,” he said, gesturing back to his grader. “You know what you should do is turn back around and head up Lone Pine to another lake.”
I hadn’t thought of it that way. He was right. I wasn’t stuck at work that day–I always make sure to leave gaps in my schedule to spend time on the water. The fact that I was distracted by the course and the lousy luck at finding lakes had blinded me to the fact that I should have taken full advantage of the day.
Since he had to get back to work, I said good bye and jumped back in the car. A few hundred meter down the road, my phone binged and in came a message from my wife that I was all signed up and ready to go for my course.
I almost turned the car around on the spot and followed my neighbour’s advice–although it’s a good thing I didn’t, since the road he suggested I take didn’t get up to that other lake, at least not the way I thought it did. That’s a story for another day, though.
Regardless of whether or not I fished the lake I wanted to, the time I spent on the water was worth the effort. I might not have caught many fish, but the ones I saw jumping were reason enough to get back out there as soon the algae bloom died off.
And, unless I’m mistaken, everything should be returning back to normal out there right around now.