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Just got home from a trip that was really special to me, Tammy, my wife of the last 29 years, went with me on her first backpacking trip. She loves the outdoors and has went on tons of day hikes and car camping trips but this is the very first time that she has actually backpacked, and not just an overnight, but 3 days and 2 nights of back country adventure. Oh, and as you can see from the pic our 3 dogs went along for their first trip as well. I have to say it was really fantastic to share one of my favorite places in the world and my love of backpacking and back country camping with her and I think she had a great time as well.
We left before 5 am on Saturday to drive the 6 hours to the trail head, this was preceded by weeks of planning and preparation. Tammy was carrying an Osprey Exos 48 with about 20 pounds of gear. We planned to hike 3 miles to one of my favorite camping sites and I was worried sick that someone would have beaten us to that site, if so, it would be a little more than a mile to the next site. My fears were well founded, there was a very nice couple camped exactly in the spot that I had planned to camp. We chatted with them for a bit but then decided to head on up the trail to the next place I had in mind. Tammy was getting pretty tired, walking in was all up hill, she was a trooper and kept putting one foot in front of the other. This was my view for most of the walk.
After a little over 2 hours of walking and almost 5 miles of trail we get to the second campsite and thank goodness it was totally empty. We picked out the best tent site and started setting up. The dogs were roaming around enjoying being out in the woods and then all the sudden my older dog started running in circles and yelping and then my pup started doing the same. It seems they had found a yellow jackets nest and the bees were just boiling out of a hole at the base of a stump that was mere feet from our tent site. After getting the dogs away and letting the bees settle down we very carefully took our tent down and found a new spot.
Got the tent up in the new spot.
The dogs approve of the new site and are ready for a rest with no little stinging devils!
Got everything up, had some rest and now ready to see if the fish are biting. If you follow this blog at all or know me personally, then you know that I am completely and absolutely addicted to fly fishing for trout and especially Southern Appalachian brook trout. By now, you should have put two and two together and figured out that we were literally camped on the bank of one of the finest trout streams in western North Carolina.
Due to the higher than normal temps this fall the leaves have not really started changing yet but the fish did not get the memo and were in their full fall spawn glory. The fish I caught on this trip were some of the most gorgeous I have ever caught, anywhere, their colors really were fantastic.
I have to say that this trip was as close to perfect as possible, the weather was fantastic, I was with my favorite person in the entire world and the fish were biting, there is only one thing that could have made it better, if our son Joe could have been there as well. Joe if you're reading this we really need to put together a family trip this spring!!!
I think that Tammy really enjoyed herself and we are already planning the next back country adventure, Thanksgiving this year very well may be spent on a creek bank.
See you on the creek, Chris