June 2010

~Dave helping Lucas bring in a mighty salmon~

I like to be taken by surprise by people, the good way that is. I’ve learned through time that admiration for another person can be forged in many ways, and on Saturday I found myself first admiring a certain man for his quiet act of Fatherhood and later for his  more profound jaw dropping actions of a hero.

On Saturday the salmon fishing was a blaze of fish moving up the river which means everyone was having the time of their life. Shouts of “FISH ON” were at a constant interval and the crowd seemed to get bigger and bigger as the day wore on.

I first noticed Dave in the line up of fisherman because he was fishing differently than everyone else. He had his son positioned in front of him and every time it was his turn to cast, he would do so and then instantly hand Lucas the rod to drift through the current. Over and over they did this. When Lucas would feel the yank of a salmon at the end of the line, Dave would then help his son fight that big fish to the bank.

Now, perhaps a man teaching his son to fish isn’t such a big deal, but to me, on that day, it meant something pretty big. The fishing was crazy. The salmon were thick. Frenzy was in the air and Dave’s eyes could have glazed over like the rest of us and fished the run for all it was worth, for himself. He could have sat Lucas on the bank with the other kids to watch the action, but he didn’t. Instead, Lucas and Dave became a combined act of Father and Son. It was awesome to watch. Admirable.

I didn’t know Dave’s name until later that night and if the next part of my story didn’t happen, I believe I would have just remembered him as the man who impressed me with his act of Fatherhood up salmon fishing.

To paint the picture: There’s a reason I haven’t worn my waders over the last month. The river I’ve been going to is a vicious stretch of raging current. As far as I see it, there’s no reason to tempt even one foot in and risk getting swept down the gauntlet of current and body crushing boulders. However, there is one group of people,  the Natives, who frequently step into the water. I fish the mouth of a smaller river that only the Natives are allowed to venture up and use their dip nets or gafs in, so I can usually look upstream and watch them wading in (without waders) to catch their bounty. Their river is smaller, less swift, before it dumps into the bigger river, but it’s still dangerous.

Late Saturday night I standing on the bank with my line pulled in watching 3 other people in various states of fighting or netting fish when I heard a different sort of noise rising up over the defeaning sound of the river. I looked up at the bank to see people pointing furiously up the smaller river and I turned just in time to see a young Indian girls face float past me and out into the big river. I saw, just her face, just her panic stricken eyes. I felt sick and helpless as she swept past me. My voice instantly joined the other screams to help her and I dropped my rod and ran like so many other people downstream in a feeble attempt to …..what, I do not know.

I know this. Several people who had a small lead time on the girl tried to help her. Nets were extended out, a few people went into the water to try to help her, but the attempts proved to late, or not quite in reach, or just missed. At the time when the panic broke, Dave was walking down the bank. When he realized what had happened, he dropped his fishing gear and sprinted down the river to get ahead of the girl. I don’t know the exact details, or what was going through his mind, but I know he managed to get to a small window of opportunity and without regard to his own safety, he jumped into that unforgiving river and grabbed that young girl from certain death…

I still stand amazed at this mans show of courage, his selfless act of bravery and will never forget the feeling of admiration I felt overwhelm me as I approached him and asked if I could hug the man who just saved a girls life. I still smile at his response to me. He said, “I’m all wet, you’ll get soaked!” I didn’t care.

I don’t like the notion of unsung heroes. I want everyone to know that a man named Dave Crawford dove into a freezing, raging river to save a 17 year old girls life and it had a happy ending.
Dave was that young girls miracle that night, and a hero for all of us to admire.

~Lucas with his fish, Proud Dad looking on~ (blame the photographer, that's me, for the fuzzy picture)

(About the girl: From the information given to me. She was taken to the hospital right after the incident and treated for shock, hypothermia and the beating her lower body took over the rocks, but she’s ok thanks to Dave!)

{ 24 comments }

~Short Version of Lost~

When I wrote my first Lost Ad for the local Newspaper about my wayward waders, it went something like this:

LOST in the Great Outdoors and I’m still crying like a baby. Please help me find my sweet Blue and Gray Backpack that is cradling inside a precious pair of new Patagonia waders that I saved 5 years worth of pennies I found in grocery store parking lots to purchase. Only worn once, but I assure you –we bonded — Backpack is probably laying on the side of the highway between Loman, Idaho City and Kuna where we dropped off a friend. Backpack and waders are probably scared, lonely, possibly injured and wondering where in the hell I am. Please help! Sincerely and desperately, Rebecca Anne 208-***-****

However, when I clicked pay, the total amount for the ad cost more than the waders, so I modified it down to what you see in the picture above. The 4 line economy version. Then I waited. And I prayed to the Fly Fishing Gods. I might of pledged a few things to the underworld (like my soul) for a safe return, but by this last weekend I started to give up hope. That is until late Sunday afternoon when I came off the river from Salmon fishing and saw a missed unknown number on my phone. Insta-Hope as I called my voicemail.

My backpack and waders were found by a man with a heart of gold. You should all know that Kenny rocks and I’m not talking about the one who has the “G” in his name. I wanted to ditch Salmon fishing instantly to go retrieve my goods, but sadly my fishing party didn’t feel the same motivation I did and I had to wait until I got home late Monday night to make a mad dash to Kenny’s house. I tell ya, the reunion was euphoria and elation, a truly emotional moment — on my part that is—Kenny might have thought I was a bit nutso, but I didn’t care. I hugged my backpack that’s sporting a new badge of courage, black tire tracks. The waders inside looked perfect, not even a broken buckle and I have to mention, they were so happy to see me. Thank you Kenny!!!

You all may not of noticed. But the world is now spinning on its axis correctly once again. Carry on……

Now, BigerrFish asked in his comment on my –Kill me now, I lost my waders entry
What have you all………. Found? is the glass half empty or full……”

Now that my mind is no longer an empty water glass, I can answer that question. Beyond a 20 dollar bill I found once, my ‘found’ stories are a flatline. Nothing cool enough to even mention. Maybe it’s me, but it seems I’m destined to always find 1 single shoe on the side of the river. A shoe, just one.

So now that I’ve gone from misery to FOUND status, I can hear the found stories without a sniffle. Surely others out there can do better than a 20 dollar bill or a single shoe? What have you come across out there in the great outdoors? Did you find it’s owner or end up keeping it?

Rebecca aka, Official Water Swatter with proper waders again!!!

{ 12 comments }

The $500 Morel Mushroom

by Rebecca on June 15, 2010

in Outdoor Photo Journal

Ok, so this morel mushroom didn’t exactly cost $5oo dollars, but might as well have! When I look at this single picture I took over the weekend, I see the sum total and only proof of my positive experiences and my sad losses.

~Wild Idaho Morel Mushroom~

The math goes like this;
Several bags of Morel mushrooms picked
x
A lot of eating of said morel mushrooms 
+
A really great time with friends 
-
The point of discovering the tragic loss of $500 bucks worth of Backpack, Contents & Waders
=
Rebecca wishing she could give back the mushrooms
and do something different this last weekend.

Like Fly Fish, with my waders firmly strapped on……

{ 8 comments }

I’ve wrote it before here and I’ll probably write it again over time, but I absolutely hate losing flies. It isn’t about the monetary loss with the average 2 dollar fly at risk. No, for me it’s about ‘that’s my little trooper and I’d like it back pretty please’. I do understand that losing flies is part of the collateral damage when I cast them away from my protection precariously attached to tiny tippet into battle. Casualties happen, I get that, but I still mourn my little soldiers when I lose one.

So imagine how me, the Mother Bear Fly Protector, handles losing something in the Great Outdoors that falls into a bigger scale than say, a 2 dollar fly. Not so well.

I lost something yesterday that still has my stomach in knots and my mind twisted up into panicked loss mode.

Long story short: At the beginning of April I finally sucked it up and bought a REALLY nice pair of Patagonia waders. Hello Cha-Ching on the cost front. I took them down to the one river that was still open during the Idaho river lock down and tested them out. That would be one maiden voyage and I loved them. Since then I’ve done a lot of non-wadeable fishing so they have been waiting patiently for June 1st when the rivers opened back up. This weekend I went camping, not with fishing in mind, but morel mushroom picking on the agenda. However, I brought the pristine waders with me just in case I could get some little stream fly fishing in.

I didn’t. So when it was time to leave, I put the once used waders back into the backpack they had rode up in. An expensive day backpack at that, and handed my precious cargo to the official ‘pack the truck bed and go person’……..Fast forward to home. No backpack. Which means. Backpack lying either on dirt road or highway somewhere over 120 miles back….. Which means. No more Spendy Backpack. Which means. No Patagonia Waders. Which means. Puke. Which Means. I’m still sick and will remain sick for the pending future.

It’s not the first time I’ve lost something that was either expensive or important to me in the Great Outdoors. I’ve had some fishing gear that was stolen from me, but that isn’t the same as losing things and deserves a different type of blog entry (the who believes in break arms first and ask questions later quandary)—-Today I’m writing about simply losing things. Poof-Gone-Cry about it in your sleep or blog sort of kick to the gut.

The other item I lost in the Great Outdoors that the memory, years later, has the ability to bring a lump to the my throat and constrict my breathing abilities was a diamond.  A beautiful diamond pendant that I always wore around my neck and despite other opinions that I shouldn’t have been wearing it out fly fishing — seriously, no one needs to hear a stupid opinion like that AFTER it’s gone — was lost in the river. Devastated…

I’ve read that when things go missing a person is supposed to emotionally let them go and if they are meant to come back, well I guess presto, they come back. Well so far my diamond has never come back and unless some miracle happens over my waders that produces a happy ending, I’m not holding my breath.

Misery loves company, so today as I’m crying in my empty Patagonia waders box, I’m wondering about others out there. Who else has lost something in the Great Outdoors that they still feel a solid boot kick to the gut over? Nippers don’t count…..

Rebecca aka Waderless Water Swatter

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In Honor of all types of Fishing…

June 11, 2010

In the last 6 weeks I’ve somewhat fallen off the Fly Fishing wagon and traded in my version of Fine Wine fishing for a 12 pack of Keystone light. First I kept a perfectly good fly rod strapped to the front of a warp speed Bass Boat and tried my hand at fishing for Smallies [...]

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The Water Swatter and Other Fishy Nicknames

June 4, 2010

I could write about my last two weekends of salmon fishing, post some more gratuitous pictures of lunkers and spin some tales of pulled muscles and flying sinker missiles, but today, I think I’ll write about something else that occurs out on the banks of water. Fishing Nicknames. I think if you spend enough time in the Great Outdoors [...]

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Fishing, Intimate-(ly)

June 3, 2010

When you are fishing and the general rumor floating upstream is, “In So & So hole, they are catching 5 salmon every 5 minutes” and you let curiosity get the better of you, there’s a good chance  you’ll find yourself toying with a situation that looks a lot like temporary fishing insanity. Especially on Memorial Day Weekend. I gave it [...]

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