The morning started at 9:00 AM when Eric, our fishing guide, rolled up in his white RAM pickup truck and trailered blue rubber raft. Eric is everything you'd expect in a river guide. Thick beard, sun tanned, great stories, the patience of Jobe, and a spirit that we could all learn from.
We loaded up and headed to Rock Creek, or "Crick," as we observed. These Montana folks talk funny.
A few miles down the road, we stopped at Deb's place to handle some paperwork, get our licenses, and make arrangements to have Eric's truck repositioned and waiting for us when we pulled out after our float trip. Molly, a Jack Russell Terrier, greeted us with only the kind of friendly bark that Jacks are know for. We made friends quickly with tummy rubs and ear scratches and the like. Deb had oatmeal cookies in the oven and brought each of us one to nibble on while we were being processed. I gave Molly a bite of mine.
We reloaded the truck and down a dirt road we went. I swear this road would rattle the fillings out of most teeth. Eric had told us we might see critters. And we did. Rams nested along the road that refused to budge. He said he thought there was a mineral or some sort of nutrient in the soil that this animals feed on. We ran up on a momma moose and her two young calves. They couldn't have been more than two or three weeks old. It looked like they were still getting used to their long gangly legs. And there were the mule deer - a goofy looking animal that seemed oblivious to us until the last minute, then bounded away.
How was the fishing? If you understand the real purpose of fly fishing, then you know it was great. There's this sort of religious zen-like feeling of casting and watching the lure and casting again, almost becoming a part of the line that you've meticulously casted over and over again to just the right spot.
Rock Creek was running fast. The rapids and log jams had us scrambling from time to time; I should say Eric scrambling, as he muscled the raft through the current to position us along the bank and into the quite eddies where he suspected the fish were waiting.
Did we catch fish? Yes. Did we swap stories, absolutely. Did we get questioned by the game warden? You bet. And yes, you should have seen the one(s) that got away. Really!
Eric has been taking folks fishing on these rivers for over 20-years. He is one of those guys you instantly like. He makes people feel at ease and his laugh and the stories (not all fish stories) are interesting and fun. Even if there had been no fish today, spending the day on the river and being in the company of a man who truly enjoys his work and seems to enjoy people made it a great day. And that's no fish tail.
Tomorrow (Sunday) we're back on the road to find the remaining geocaches on the Big Trip. For more family fun geocaching adventure check out the RiverWalk GeoTour in Columbus GA
For more details