November 5, 2022
October 8, 2022
It was going to be a rain-soaked Labor Day weekend in the Smokies, but the fish are wet anyway, right? So I made the long trek up to Cherokee, North Carolina for the annual getaway, but decided to stay in a motel rather than camp this time.
The first day of fishing was pretty soggy in the morning. I headed up to a small headwaters tributary where I encountered just enough fish to make the raindrops a secondary concern. I was fortunate enough to get into browns, rainbows, and one brook trout. Unfortunately the brook trout was a bit camera shy and didn't have the patience for me to get my phone out for a picture.
I also took this opportunity to fish two new-to-me tenkara rods, the river peak Pop Star and the river peak KIWAMI 33. Both rods had their pros and cons and created unique fishing experiences in their own way.
Following the afternoon on stream, and after a quick stop back at the motel for a shower and some dry clothes, I headed off to the rodeo for some evening entertainment. This was the second year in a row I went to the Labor Day weekend rodeo in Cherokee and it was very entertaining.
Despite another wet start, day two actually ended up being a pretty nice day with the clouds giving way for most of the late morning and early afternoon. Knowing this forecast, I started my outing a little bit late as well, and decided to fish a very well known waterway inside the Park.
A fair amount of fish were caught, although nothing of impressive size. Nonetheless, I had a great time wandering around the stream, hopping over rocks, and navigating downed trees. With the previous day's rod testing over, my trusty Nissin Royal Stage 320 was put into action on these trout. Man, I love that rod.
Before leaving, I stopped by Mingus Mill, a park landmark I had never visited. It was a cool, old water driven grist mill. Really interesting to see how it worked on the inside.
I was also fortunate that the resident elk were out in one of the nearby fields, with a bull keeping tabs on his harem.
As the clouds cover got heavier and it was apparent the rain was on its way, I said goodbye to the elk and headed back to town. Hungry, I decided to grab a bite to eat at a Mexican restaurant across the street from my motel. If possible, I always like to have a nice sit-down meal on the last night of these getaways, and this was no exception. The food was definitely tasty.
Belly full, it was time to call it a night before the long drive home the next morning.
While I don't like being away from my family and friends, I do really enjoy these end of summer "solo" trips to the Smokies. Despite the fog and rain, this one was a clear success on many fronts, and it's soothing to know that I have a little escape to look forward to each year. Cherokee, see you again in '23!
August 7, 2022
I thought it would be appropriate to give what amounts to and end of summer update. The last post written was about an early June trip to the Driftless, and a few things have happened since then.
Nothing huge, and honestly, not much (if any) fishing, but stuff worth chronicling nonetheless, if only for future personal reference. (When you have a blog as old as this one, it's fun to revisit posts of years past from time to time).
|We had steel drums at summer work happy hour... that was fun!|
New York City
We didn't really have a "big" summer vacation as a family this year. That said, we did spend a long weekend in New York City right before the 4th of July. Now I'm not a big fan of NYC, I'd prefer to retreat to the mountains as opposed to the city any day, but with Broadway re-opening after being largely closed due to the pandemic, we thought it would be a good opportunity to go see some shows.
See, Lilly is really (and I mean really) into theater (theatre?) and wants to pursue theater design in college in a few years. She's obsessed with set & costume design, props, and puppetry, and is an encyclopedia of theater knowledge, just like an avid angler would be with fly patterns.
In all, it was a fun trip, although it was really, really hot outside. Luckily most of our activities were indoors. I didn't go to all the shows that Lilly & K.C. attended (I did see "Into the Woods") but while they were occupied I wandered around Manhattan eating ever tasty thing I encountered. They just don't have food in Jacksonville like the kind you can find in Northeast.
Lilly & I did have a little father/daughter time at the American Museum of Natural History while K.C. was seeing Moulin Rouge solo. So I got to enjoy a little bit of "outdoors" stuff, even though most of it was taxidermy. I love spending time with Lilly, especially now that she's older (she's so intelligent and has a very unique mind). Lilly seemed to enjoy herself too. She loves all animals, although I'm sure she would have preferred ones that were alive.
A Date with Rona
Well the one unexpected souvenir I took back from our trip to NYC was a bout with coronavirus. I had gone the whole two years or so without getting it, but I started feeling symptoms that put me on the shelf for about a week. It wasn't too bad (I've been vaccinated), but nobody likes to deal with aches, fever, and congestion.
K.C. got it too, and it seemed to hit her a little harder than me, but interestingly Lilly seemed to dodge it. She had it during the last school year so perhaps she had some fresher antibodies. Who knows... either way, the virus' visit to our house, and its lingering effects, kind of limited most activities through mid to late July.
Tenkara Angler Stuff
While I haven't really fished much (other than in the neighborhood), we have been busy over at Tenkara Angler. We re-launched our "Level Line Podcast" at the end of June and spent some time talking to Bill, Amanda, & Nate about a recent tenkara event they participated in up in New Hampshire. It was a fun conversation and we're looking forward to doing more of these.
We also published a few articles, the most popular being the "Big Fish Tenkara Rod Guide" which lists many of the tenkara & fixed line rods available to chase fish way bigger than the ones I catch. We also posted a video from 2016 that Jason Sparks dug up of a Tom Sadler tenkara demonstration. That one was fun to watch, it was like going in a time machine! I sure miss those days.
Remember how I mentioned Lilly's love for theater? Well, she got to spend time at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) at the end of July pursuing her passion. It was her first (I guess) unofficial college visit, and one she earned herself by winning a scholarship to attend the week-long seminar. She had two workshops, one in fashion design and the other in production design (costumes & sets).
It was weird dropping her off and helping her set up her dorm room for the week. I'm not sure I'm ready to do that for real in two years. I'm happy to report the little bohemian inside her thrived in the classes, I never heard her quite so talkative, exited, and expressive giving us the debrief after we went to pick her up.
I have two rad little nephews, and they and their equally rad parents (K.C.'s brother and his wife) came to visit us this past week for a few days. The boys can be a handful, but it's fun to have little kids running around the house again... cartoons on TV... and toys scattered all over the place. Especially when those kids are not yours.
Labor Day Weekend Smokies?
Which kind of brings me to present day. Lilly actually goes back to school this week, Junior year of high school! So in effect, our summer is over. (Although somebody needs to tell Mother Nature that, it's been 98 degrees here every day for like ever).
I am going to try to sneak up to the mountains one more time before the NFL season starts and my weekends get consumed by work. I'll most likely make the run up to Cherokee that I've done each of the past two years (2020, 2021)... but who knows, maybe North Georgia will be more manageable. I definitely will need to get away somewhere, a trout streams have been running through my head since I left Wisconsin.