A Day To Remember

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I sat back in my chair relaxing before dinner. As I talked with some of the people in my group, I began to reflect on what an amazing day we had: from the sunrise, to the bears, and last but not least the trout. The trout on this river were the most colorful out of the whole trip. When we woke up that morning, it seemed like any other morning: a little gloomy, cold, and windy but soon it turned into something incredible.

The floatplane ride to get to the small pond was long as usual even though I slept most of the trip, again as usual. Even the beautiful hills and mountains couldn’t keep me awake. Once we had landed and unloaded the floatplane, we all took at least one item if not more and began to hike over the hill. As soon as I made it over I noticed the sunrise; its golden yellow glow shining over the mountaintop, giving off a sensation that made me feel as though this day was going to be like no other. That is until I got ushered over to look at the bear, that unfortunately was blocking our path. His light fur was almost glowing in the sunlight. After we had gotten our gear and all six of us in a three-man raft we started down the river. It was incredibly packed in the small raft 6 people plus their gear squeezed into a 3-man raft. Four people had paddles, Elliot (one of our guides), Kyle (our other guide), Kenneth, and me; it was hard to keep from knocking into each other with our paddles in the cramped raft. Even as tight of a fit as it was, it was hard not to enjoy all the beauty that surrounded us along the riverbank: from the small, tan, and red rock cliffs on the bank of the river to the swirling water, blue with an orange ting in the morning light. “This is one of the most beautiful mornings I had ever seen.” I thought to my self, and I hadn’t even seen the fish or a bear up close.

After a thirty-minute float to get to “Freddie’s Bar,” we all got out and unloaded the raft. It took a while to get ready to fish because we didn’t set anything up before we left to try and hurry up in order to get to this bar. Looking around, you could see bear paw prints all over the place; I sat wondering what these bears look like; little did I know I would soon find out. Once we had rigged everything up, I began ripping casts as far as I could, this time though, as opposed to every other day so far, I had enough room so I wasn’t snagging bushes behind me and I could really see how far I can cast. Not long after I started casting, when I looked downstream, I saw another grizzly bear; this one slowly lumbering down the bank towards us. It was pretty intimidating watching this big animal, though it was small for a grizzly bear, walking at us not paying attention to us at all, his blondish fur shining in the light. Eventually he got within 40 to 50 yards of us, turned and swam across the river and slowly walked along the other side of the bank just as he was before. I asked my self, “I wonder how many bears we will see to day?”

Not long afterwards I caught my first fish of the day. Our guides had mentioned that these are the prettiest rainbows possible, and now I knew why. They had the most vibrant colors, they had more and darker black spots than any other trout on the trip. Soon after, dad hooked a huge 26” trout. It took 30 minutes to land the monster. He took off down the river towards a pile of bush only to be pulled away just in time. He was the biggest and prettiest of all throughout the entire trip. Every once in a while, another bear would come walking along the bank looking for salmon, their beautiful coats ranging from blonde to light brown shining in the bright sunlight of the only sunny day we had all trip. After lunch Don, my dad’s friend that went with us on the trip, caught a beautiful arctic char; his silvery underside a large contrast to his dark back, his red and yellow spots standing out on his dark back, and shining vibrant yellow lips. It was, in my mind, the pretties and most colorful fish of the entire trip.

As my guide instructed me where to put my next cast, he said “Holy crap! Is that a trout?!” When I looked where he was pointing, I saw a trout as big as the sockeye salmon around but there was a distinct color difference. I put a cast up stream letting the fly drift by, once, twice, three times not a single hit. But I wasn’t giving up on this fish; unfortunately, he soon gave up on us, losing interest in where he was waiting. Not long after lunch, I hooked a fish that took off like a torpedo downstream. I had to keep enough pressure on him to just barely keep tension but not so much he would break the line. Against all my efforts to keep him on he came unhooked less than 3 minutes into the fight. For the next ten or fifteen minutes I was basically depressed; though it took only one bear to walk by to cheer me back up, because of its beautiful fur glowing in the sunlight.

Though a day may start out bad and seem to get better only to get worse, it doesn’t take much to change that when you are in a place as beautiful as a National Park in Alaska.





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