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Uck Uck Uck, bitches
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
a little spontaneous story about the accompanying misery quotient to outdoor fun and adventure...we all have stories...

Lost Lake

Little remembrances and experiences can define place and as they play out they define time, like this little lake I used to fish long ago. Those small places, little obscure locales we find captivate us. I have been to a lot of small lakes and streams that I truly enjoyed. I rarely shared their locations. You know, like Noseeum Creek or Toohellangone Lake. This is a story about one such place. Sometimes you just have to share your discovery. One such lake in particular I visited often early in my fly-fishing experience.
There are a lot of little lakes throughout this country named Blue, Deep or Lost.
They are named such for perhaps a lack of adequate inspiration. But each of these so named I am sure are distinct and have qualities that set them apart as unique.
My particular Lost Lake is small, remote and I have thought about returning, often over the years. I have wanted to go back. The fishing for brookies' was incredible.
I have a good life long friend and fishing buddy. I infected him with the fly fishing bug years ago. He is an eager participant and we talked about a bit of exploring, perhaps a reclamation.
We plan a trip to my lost lake. Jim and I load up our float tubes, waders, boots, fins and gear making sure we got it all. We hit the county roads to find the lake. Years, about fifteen years, had passed since I had fished it. The trees had grown and roads changed bit since my last great trip there. We drove a couple hours; my instincts and memory seemed to be working just fine. When we arrived at the logging road turn off I saw that the road had been gated. A large sign on the gate said it was closed by the logging company. There was a warning on the sign stating the gate could be open or closed at any time.
" Back in the day" is a phrase used all too often. Anyway I told Jim it wasn't too far so we loaded up our gear with float tubes hanging off our backs. The sun was bright and the air was clear as we trudged up the single-track gravel road toward our destination. Memory can be a fleeting thing. Wishful thinking, confidence and enthusiasm can play with the memory.
The bright sunny morning evolved as hours ticked by. from the perspiration and thirst we were experiencing we agreed it had to be 90 degrees. I assured Jim it couldn't be much further because I had driven it a lot. It was about 1 PM when we reluctantly agreed our trip had become a death march. I looked at Jim and he at me. We both had since taken to wearing our float tubes over our heads and around our shoulders. We looked like huge multi-colored mushrooms and we laughed. It had become ridiculous, this quest, and this one-way torture. We agreed we were done and trudged downhill back to my truck. It was a much easier walk. I filled the symphony of our trudging feet on gravel and rock with how great my fishing had been in the past at the little lost lake. I said I had caught 30 or more of eager brook trout with sinking line deep in the lake. I had an extra tank with "fuel" in it. "A fish a cast" I believe I said. I continued to sell it. We were sweaty and tired and I thought this place deserved more selling. I realized we had another option on our way back to my truck. I said since we couldn't drive right to the lake anymore I knew there was an easier way. We could drive further up the main creek road we were parked on a few miles further and turn off at the old washout road. There was an old log bridge there that crossed the creek below the lake. The old log bridge was cool. It was an old logging road and bridge from early in the century. It spanned Canyon Creek. I used to fish the creek a lot too. I said it was a neat road and it connected to Lost Lake from below. "We can park there and just walk a quarter of a mile to the lake." I said.
I found the turn off to the bridge after I missed the turn off and had to turn around.
" The trees are so much bigger than I remember and the must have logged some."
I parked and we mustered up for a little hike. The day was still young and we still had a full day of great fishing ahead of us. The bridge road had washed out so we had a bit of walking to do. The road had evolved into a small canyon of silt, rock and scree but certainly was navigable. We scrambled down a little gorge to the creek where we saw what was left of the old log bridge. The remains had created features in the creek that provided habitat for the creeks resident trout population. Spring snowmelt had turned the creek into a 20-foot wide torrent.
Upon reflection and discussion we agreed we could fin up and push off the bank and "easily" ford the little stream. "No sweat", we thought. We gather to make the assault to reach the old gravel road and the short walk to the lake. I get in my tube and push off; the current pushes me down and across the creek until I grasped an overhanging small branch on the other side. "Whew!” as I secretly felt a little adrenaline rush, finding the other side. Jim had not launched yet. I didn't want to let on that this might well have been an ill-advised endeavor. I looked across at Jim. Forty-year-old guys are still competitive. If you can do it so can I is our shared credo. I looked 20 feet away at Jim who was getting ready to follow. He didn't seem worried about it. I was still hanging onto the branch, pushed by the current. The bank I was next to was about 18 inches or so high. I had to pull myself up out of my tube and onto the bank. I needed a third arm. I tossed what I could up. The water was kind of deep near the bank. I managed to shinny up with my gear. It was then that Jim launched the other side to join me. He pushes off and almost immediately starts grabbing and flailing after something in the water and in turn is drifting down with the stream. I saw the something was a fin, bobbing in the streams wake toward a pool below the rapids.
Moments later Jim is dragging his sorry self onto the rocky shore 50 feet below. He yells to me as he scrambles down the bank toward his lost fin. It swiftly tumbles below the water and into the deep pool below. So there he is in his waders, with one remaining fin still attached slapping along on the shore. Our discussion ensues with he one one side and me on the other. "I can't fish with one fin!" he said. Well I know it is possible, but not a particularly pleasant experience.
We had some history from fishing trips past. Once I forgot my fins after a four-hour drive to a mountain lake. I tried float tubing there without any, learning a lesson in the process. Picture a cork on the water floating and flailing only to move further from the bank of a near frozen lake with every movement. Kind of a helpless feeling. Then there was the time I forgot my waders and considered launching anyway in March at another place. I won't convey here some of Jim's experiences, those are for him to tell.
So we realized our trip was done then and there. It was sort of a silly exclamation point on the day. I had to rejoin Jim on the other side so we could "get outta here."
I really hate giving up. There is no resolution. Fishing trips, planned or otherwise, need some kind of resolution. I finagle my launch off the bank into what seems deeper water than I expected. I can't stand up in the water to enter my tube. Okay I thought I would just plop down from the little bank into my tube seat with rod securely in hand. I scoot off the bank and immediately on hitting the float tube seat bounce and flip over, tube and all, into what I discern must be close to six feet of moving water. It was really cold water.
Victory was mine as I shot up, rod extended above the water, finned toes touching rock below, sputtering, shocked. Float fins' design was derived from scuba fins, or so I understand I put that initial adaptation to use by frenetically trying to propel me and my stuff to the bank where Jim was. I crawled like a wounded seal across the rocks to a chorus of Jim laughing hysterically. There is no video. There are always things to be thankful for. We gather ourselves up in defeat and manage to make a wet walk back up to the rig and back home. We didn't talk too much.
About 6 weeks later after I made a recon trip back to the crime scene I realized the creek flow had come down. It took a bit of convincing but Jim agreed we should try again. My truck seat had finally dried out. I know because after weeks of towels on the seat and a lot of surreptitious laundry duty I was good to go. My magical stories of Lost Lake apparently were convincing and had staying power.
The return trip was easy. A little wading with gear and a short walk and we reached the lake. Logs floated everywhere, which we would push out of the way to get out to prime fishing water. The surface of the lake looked different than I remembered. There was this almost oily haze on the surface and midges hatching everywhere. We started making casts with our four weights. We were using small nymphs. I got the first bite. Hey, it's my story! First cast and I get a hit right away. It had to be small, because it sure felt small. I stripped in and on my line was a sunfish about 3" long. This repeated. There were nothing but dinky mystery fish that didn't belong there. No trout. "WTH?" I said. There is a curse on this lake. Sunfish had never been in there. Many photos were taken of our prizes.
I got the photos back later and the whole roll of film was hazy, overexposed and the film was scratched as if some strange force had tried to obliterate any evidence of the experience. It was as if Beelzebub himself had watching, amused throughout our extended adventure.
There is a mystery quotient integrally linked to outdoor adventures. Jim and I are linked across time by many adventures. Some might wonder why we all share this phenomenon. Jim and I are long time friends since Junior High or before and we are forever bonded by the experiential. We both now agree on one fact though, "We are too old for this shit."
Next trip is Ludicrous Lake. A report will eventually follow with embellishment.
I do have to remember one thing though and that is the days are long, but the years are short.

Uck Uck Uck, bitches
7,589 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Lot's of folks have stories...fishing stories...etc...I sort of thought I would write one up that happened years ago...and after the haze of wounding faded we laugh about it...We all have such stories...I was thinking about wriiting one called "I fergit..."...you can imagine what that might be about...
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