Amber and I packed the following into our (now) little car Friday afternoon: Crosby (1 year old son), 2 dogs, 2 tarps, 1 large tent, firewood, miscellaneous camping gear, foraging equipment, and fly fishing gear. By 6 o’clock we were clear of the Knoxville city limits and headed toward Nantahala NF and a night of heavy rains. This would mark the first time, since having Crosby, that we’ve taken the dogs camping with us. It was more like camping with 3 children. They are well behaved dogs, but you still have to get them back on point every now and again. Crosby managed to fill up his diaper about half way up the Cherohala skyway, so I had the joy of standing in the rain, changing his diaper, while the dogs ran amuck at Eagle gap.
Pulled into camp around 8:00, and the rain let up just enough to set up the tent and tarps without getting everything completely soaked. We put Crosby to sleep in the tent and sat under the tarp drinking cold beer, eating egg salad sandwiches, listening to the rain, and talking about the next days plans. Amber is a master forager, and I could tell she was chomping at the bit to explore this eastern sloping temperate rain forest. We retired to bed around 11 and were awoken by storms throughout the night.
Woke up around 7 the next morning and was very surprised to find that our campsite wasn’t a complete swamp. Had some camp coffee and pancakes, quickly put on my wading boots, and hit the road not knowing what to expect on the water. I bushwacked through the rhododendron, down into the creek gorge, and stepped out onto the creek only to find perfect water. Dry fly fishing started off being pretty hot, but I never seemed to be able to keep any of the decent fish on. By 9:00, the nymph bite was on and I was catching fish in nearly every run. I rarely take a net to the mountains, but I was glad to have it with me for this guy.
This one went about 15”, took a double standard nymph, and was released to live another day. With 3 small trout in the creel bag, I had fished my way back to camp by around 11, so I climbed up out of the gorge to find that Amber had been quite successful in her activities.
We packed up early that afternoon and headed home. That night we had fried fish, fried morels, & ramps that had been tossed into some bacon grease. Deodorant is no match for the rank stench of wild leeks coming from my pores 2 days after the fact.
Hope everyone had a good weekend.