One morning last week, I wandered down to the river for one of my favorite things, Dawn Patrol. Many years ago, my skiing tribe would use this term to describe an early morning hike up the Cinder Cone at Mt. Bachelor to earn our turns, but I’ve become accustomed to applying the term to describe an early morning fishing outing as well.
So with my cup of coffee in hand, I walk from my house down to the Wild and Scenic Deschutes River to cast a little bit, sip some coffee, and visit a new favorite sit spot to practice being present. There was an epic sunrise that morning – one that prompted many Bendites to light up the social medias with their captures of the salmon and pastel pink clouds.
I had enjoyed the sunrise from our back porch while drinking the first half of my coffee, and finished the last gritty bits alongside the river at a spot I call the boathouse hole. When the winter flows in the Upper Deschutes are tragically reduced to a trickle at Wickup Reservoir upstream, the boathouse hole fishes wonderfully.
Stepping out into the river, I was greeted by the frequent foe of any angler, the wind. I shrugged off the bitter breeze that was crashing down the eastern slopes of the Cascade mountains, and roll casted a few times to a seam that I know holds fish.
Like many of my days on the water, I became a bit distracted by the scenery, and realized that the real likely catch for this particular outing was going to be simply soaking in the views. While glancing at the trees across the stream, I noticed a fellow river lover running by on the Deschutes River Trail.
As he ran by, he looked over and saw me standing in the river, and he reversed his course and yelled out to me over the wind…
“Any luck yet?”Random runner dude
Indeed this is one of the popular questions I get while on the water down there. I usually respond with a thumbs up just to get folks to move along and allow me to get back to my much cherished solitude… but I decided to share a more authentic response to the runner instead.
I spread my arms wide, and rotated them around, much like the infamous Confused Travolta look from Pulp Fiction – as a way to gesture to the grandeur that surrounded us in that moment. My fly line flopped in the wind, and I shouted back…
“Bro, I’m just lucky to be here fishing right now!”
He looked a bit confused by my response, and mumbled back something like “yeah, no kidding!”. And then asked if my name was Bob?! But I kindly introduced myself and wished him well, and told him I hoped he enjoyed his run.
As predicted, the trout that I know hangout in that seam obviously wanted me to move on down the trail too – they were likely eager to get back to their own little river solitude and no longer have my hooks drift past their faces.
And while I did enjoy the views that morning, that random interaction with the runner was the real gem for me. Because it was a fantastic reminder of just how lucky I am. To be alive, to be loved, and to be able to spend a few minutes standing in the river.
Apologies for not writing for a while. I’ve been doing well, and I hope you all have been too. Take care, and be kind to yourself.