What's around the next bend, has a heavy pull on me. Ask anyone who has fished with me and they'll probably tell you I like walking as much as I do fishing. Over freestone boulder banks, down scree slopes, up feeder creeks. A full day spent covering ground on the trot is a day well spent from where I stand. If you're feet and back don't hurt at the end of the day you're maybe just not doing it right.
But ,with one dog that won't listen and can't sit still for two seconds and another that can't hear or stay upright for more than five minutes, along for the trip that just wasn't going to happen.
So instead we changed up the plan. Instead of getting up early and being first on the water ready to have a full day out, we'd take our time with breakfast, work on some training with pup, maybe do a little reading before lunch before setting out in search of some water that met a certain criteria for the day.
- Decent access to the river, (scree slopes and tricky descents were out)
- Enough good holding water within a short distance (enough to keep a guy busy for a few hours anyways)
- A nice sandy spot on the bank to theoretically stretch out, relax and waste away the day a bit. (like I said, theoretically, bird dog pups don't lend themselves well to this for very long)
This all proved rather difficult to find somedays, taking us down rough double track and dusty old backroads, that left our teeth rattled, skid plates scraped and everything coated in a fine gritty powder and all we'd find was a dead end or a lost cause.
But often enough we found what we were looking for.
And we'd get to show the pup some fish and how to cross rivers and hopefully let the old girl show him what being a good fishing dog looks like. And we'd swim in the heat of the day and swat the horseflies away and sip beer on the banks while we coloured in some tan lines.
And then we'd get off the water and search of a camp that wasn't too close to a road, near the water and with plenty of room for the pup to run. Hopefully that place would be devoid of dead gophers to roll in, hallucinogenic cow shit to chew, and human vomit from the previous long weekend to eat.
Somedays we succeeded rather quickly and had ourselves a nice quiet leisurely evening, other times we were setting up in the dark and a bit frazzled.
But eventually we'd have a fire going, a bottle of wine open and two dogs dozing in the truck. And we'd be under the stars, drinking in the campfire light, drunk on the moonlight.
And it was good.
And then we'd wake up and do it all again the next day.
And that, that was even better.