Captain White Legs and First Mate Abalone the Knife Blade
Over Spring break my dog and I got out on a local creek. We had been checking out different areas that might allow for a kayak launch and landing and finally decided on our path for a half-day adventure. Abalone had never been on a Kayak before, but she loves to swim and she had been really patient with me over my busy finals week at school, so I had to bring her along to say “Thanks.” We pushed off from shore a few miles from our intended landing point with no idea what to expect. We knew the flow was slow so rapids were unlikely, but there would almost certainly be some swift riffles and fallen tree snags that we might have to portage around or over.
Abalone took to the boat straight away, leaning into the turns, ducking under branches and low hanging thorny Himalaya blackberry vines. She especially liked the speedy riffles.
We stopped off to fish the slack pools, though Abalone couldn’t help but get out and “fetch” a fallen tree or too…and continually jump in whenever a fish was detected.
The bottom line was it seemed quite unlikely that I was going to land a fish on this trip. But then again, the bass are on beds right now and seem not to be at all interested in feeding anyway.
Shifting my focus, I began finding lures right and left! If I wasn’t going to get a fish at least I could get some pricy fishing gear! In the branches and submerged root snags I ended up significantly expanding my tackle box. It also seemed that every slack water spot held a bobber or two.
While searching the brush I saw a bass jump and try to snatch a hummingbird from the air. He missed, and Abalone jumped in after him… so again, I knew I wasn’t catching that fish! A few moments later I glanced at some overhanging brush, and there, situated on the tip of a branch where the bird had been hovering, was a small ornately camouflaged hummingbird nest with one egg and one newly hatched feather-less chick! So cool to see!
We kept paddling and after two minimal portages, came around a bend and spied a small cluster of willow-loving gems…oyster mushrooms!
I waded across and using my Grandpa’s old knife, I filled my hat with a bounty of fungi!
A little later I snatched up a handful of wild mint!
Though I never landed a fish that day, I saw some nice ones, otters, raptors, and Abalone and I enjoyed all the rest of the sights and smells of a mellow day on the water in this stunningly beautiful riparian corridor.
When we got home and I unloaded the kayak and asked abalone if she liked her new boat. She promptly hopped back up onto the seat and lay down. I took that as a firm “Yes!”
Though I would love to say that I found a flock of wild turkey’s on public land and brought one home at the start of the spring season, the only birds I have seen have been in odd locations safely in the confines of suburban areas. With no fish or game we settled for pork chops and green beans as a nice meal to complement our wild harvested oyster mushroom stuffing. Not too bad!
A few days later I enjoyed a sweet cup of fresh wild mint tea while examining all of the new additions to my tackle box.
Remember, even if the fish aren’t biting, it is still nice to trek out to the more wild side of things– and if you take your dog along she will appreciate it completely.
Keep the old ways alive!