Camping Out

Still, I’m plagued by an uneasy feeling.  Whatever happened to treading lightly, the bare necessities, a simple life?  Wasn’t there a time that part of the point of fly fishing was to make do with less, not more?

I tell myself it’s not as bad as if I ventured to the water towing a fifth-wheel trailer.  Or driving a motor home or, dear God, a Sprinter van.  But that hardly relieves me of the gnawing sense that much as I’ve hoped to live a humble, conscientious life, trying to use only my fair share of the planet’s dwindling resources, if I died tomorrow I’d leave behind enough plastic-infused camping equipment to choke a family of gray whales.

Then again, how else do you get out there?  You certainly won’t last long standing on the side of the two-track with your begging bowl.  And I confess: I do like to keep ice around, for at least a day or two, for my evening gin and tonic.

It’s a tough call.  And for what?  Just over the divide, before the creek enters the refuge, you have a good shot at some small native trout, most of them willing to rise to a bushy, nondescript dry fly.  Plenty of birds in the refuge, as well, plus the chance to see a grizzly bear or even a wolf.  It’s always a gamble but, if you’re prepared, you can get in and get out and know you’ve been somewhere that can’t be found with any number of mouse clicks, nor even money can buy.

And the plastic overhead solar shower?

Might feel pretty nice before that ice-cold G & T.

Gray’s angling editor Scott Sadil fondly recalls long summer fishing trips while enjoying a VW van’s 255 air-conditioning: two windows down at 55 mph.