“Did you sleep okay last night?”
“Yeah, it was great.”
This is a lie.
“Oh, good. Cuz those bunkbeds can be—iffy.”
“So, how do I get to this creek?”
“It’s just down the hill,” she says, pointing. “Go past the cabins and down the logging road until it ends. Then keep going.”
“Any idea what the fishing’s like?”
“Nah. It’s pretty small. Very small, actually. But I know there’s fish in it.”
Bleached-out slash and deadfall bar the way at the end of the logging road. I scrabble over, careful not to snag my waders. Then the going is easy. Gravity pulls me down the drainage until I find a trail. There I encounter a hiker who doesn’t notice me until I’m close enough to poke him with my rod. He flinches and emits a girlish squeak.
“God. Thought you were a bear or something.”
Soon I hear the water and quicken my pace. My rod tip waggles like a divining rod.
Getting to the water is tougher. Undergrowth and fallen timber guard its every bend. I collapse my rod and push through.
A sun-speckled riffle encompassed by tall pines hurries past. Boulders and logs cradle the water to form quiet falls and stepped pools. There is little space for casting. Definitely didn’t need the waders.
Just as Mama Java told me, it is a very small stream.
That the trout are also small is no surprise, then.
Nor are they a disappointment.