The hike down doesn't seem so bad. Gravity helps the descent, as does lively conversation with like-minded friends. You're at the water in no time, wanting to hike in even a bit further to prolong the time spent fishing back upstream.
The hike up and out on the other hand is hellish. A precipitous vertical incline. The kind where it's almost impossible to fall down. Rather, one falls forward. Switchbacks are clearly forbidden in this Appalachian holler. Probably best that way, discourages the riff-raff from returning.
And for good reason. The wild, native brook trout fishing can be as stellar as the fish are beautiful. Tiny, technicolored jewels, hiding in plain sight. Fragile in nature, but here, thriving, largely protected from external pressures.
On this day however, it was a bit cool and (as I'm told) a few weeks before things get "really good."
That was okay, sharing the water with a skilled fishing partner, we ended up doing just fine after a bit of experimentation. Leap frogging pocket and plunge, we found wet flies successful, but beadhead nymphs invaluable.
After about six hours of fishing, that hike back out bellowed in a taunting, sadistic tone. It had let us in to sample some of its treasures, now we had to pay the steep price of admission upon exit.
Almost five full days following, my knees and thighs remain in debt.
Oh, the places we go for brook trout.