We’ve been err… enjoying a blitz of arctic cold here in Pinedale and I’ve been walking from house to gym to office and back to the house. Functioning as editor this week for the newspaper and rolling out several new projects with Fire Girl has left me only the gym to work out the day’s demons, and I’ve been feeling a nagging urge to be near some water.
It’s been one of those weeks.
So today I got a few things done in the office then headed over to Ripley’s to purchase a fishing license. Here in big Pinedale you can get a fishing license at the same place as your milk, bread, paint, car oil and guns. Truly one stop shopping. After a session with a clerk who told me on no uncertain terms, “We don’t get women in here after these,” I tucked my paperwork away and went home to pull out the gear.
I pulled on the winter gear and rigged up in the living room of the old vestry I’m sharing with two other reporters. The New York reporter sat in a nearby chair, watching me rig a double nymph rig and casually remarked how it seemed a little cold to go fishing.
My reply was something along the lines of “to hell with that” as I headed out the door.
The only open water I’ve been able to find in the vicinity is in the form of Pine Creek, a little creek flowing through Pinedale. The majority of the water is frozen over, but I’d found a stretch with some open water and hiked in.
That’s the thing about Pinedale. You can be on the edge of town and still have to hike in somewhere. I’ve been warned repeatedly about moose who make their home in the willows along the creek and while I saw sign I didn’t see any wintery moose.
I stayed out for a good few hours, pausing to deice the guides now and then. There was no sign of fish, as I somehow expected would be the case, but I felt the troubles and trauma of the week fade away with the quiet trickle of the water and the crackle of icing calving and drifting downstream. Something about the water is therapeutic. If I’m worried or upset I avoid the recommended booze and massage and simply go to the river.
I came back to the house with ice up to my thighs and the laces of my wading boots frozen solid. As I write this the reel is at the foot of my bed airing out and I’m defrosting with a mug of hot tea.
No fish were caught, nothing amazing happened. It was a quiet, solo afternoon on a creek with a fly rod and a camera.
And it made me happy.