Thursday, November 19, 2015

The View

“Is this going to be a hard hike? I don’t want to do a hard hike.” Gracy’s friend, Teri, announced as we neared the trailhead to Snow Slide Lake. 
“According to my book, it is considered a 'thigh burner'.” Gracy said, looking over to the back seat where her friend was sitting.
“I don’t want a thigh burner. You guys tricked me...” Teri complained, but then gave it a second thought... 
“You're lying to me...” She said, her voice getting higher in pitch as she convinced herself into thinking it was going be an easy hike.  
“You are just trying to scare me.” Teri concluded, and looked over to Callie, for reassurance, whose was also sitting in the back. 
“Don’t look at me, I’ve never been on this hike.” Callie said quickly, her eyes wide and flicking from Teri to Gracy. 
“Well I don’t want to do a hard hike today.” Teri concluded, and sat back in her seat as if the decision was final. 
“Okay, it’s an easy hike then.” Gracy said, but Teri didn’t miss the hint of sarcasm in Gracy’s voice. 
“Easy?! Easy meaning easy, or easy meaning hard?!” Teri asked Gracy, but shot Callie a look so sharp it could cut a diamond. 
“E, is this going to be a hard hike?” Callie asked me, getting herself out of the middle. 
“Yes. This is a 1.3 mile hike that is considered strenuous because of the steep trail.” I said bluntly. 
“Noooooo!” Teri hollered, making both Gracy and Callie laugh to see their friend so distraught.    

I personally didn’t know what would be worse: the steep hike up to Snow Slide Lake, or having to hear about it from three women who have no problem letting the world know how much they may dislike something. As usual my anxiety got the better of me, and the hike up was not too much of an issue. Gracy knew what she was in for from the beginning, Callie was looking forward to a strenuous hike, and Teri, despite her meltdown in the car, was looking for a fun adventure that she could share with her dog, Basil... And Basil was happy that our little dog, Kiwi, was coming along, even if Kiwi, the little brat, didn’t share Basil's enthusiasm.

When you are the only guy in a group of women that feel comfortable around you, the conversation can go south quickly. 
“I want my next hike to be on Jug Mountain.” Callie said, stepping up the steep path. 
“Our friend, Mike, said there is a big loop you can hike, and you can see a few lakes on the way.” Gracy said, slightly out of breath.  
“Whatever...” Teri said, “Callie just wants someone to climb her jug mountains.”
“Hell yeah!” Callie said, “These jugs are single right now.”
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Callie. You do not have jugs. You are what we would call athletic-sized.” Teri said, while I kept quiet like any sane man would do.   
“Whatever, Teri, it’s not like you have any room to talk.” Gracy blurted.
“I never said I had jugs.” Teri said, “I have...” Her voice trailing off as she thought about it.     
“Boise foothills?” I blurted out to finish Teri’s sentence, and her mouth dropped as she turned to look at me. 
“Aaaaaaaaaah ha ha!” Callie yelled, “Teri has foothills!” 
Gracy started laughing too as Teri turned my way and raised her hand, but it was not to slap me. 
“Oh my God, Erik, that was funny!” Teri said, keeping her hand up for a high five. I quickly gave her a high five, and after that we stopped to take a quick break before we headed the rest of the way to the lake. 

Gracy let out a little snicker that almost sounded like a chipmunk before she said, “Teri has foothills.”  
“I think that should be her new nickname.” Callie said, as she turned to continue hiking. 
“At least my foothills have a man. You are single.” Teri said bluntly.
“It’s true.” Callie said, then turned to me. 
“Erik, do you know any single guys that are interested in hiking and fly fishing?” Callie asked. 
“I’m sure I do.” I said.
“Hold on!” Gracy interrupted, “He also has to be over 6-feet so he is taller than her, has a good job so he is not a loser, and would eventually like to move to McCall someday.”
“I don’t know about all that, but if you want we can make a fly fishing-profile-dating video for you. I did bring my Go-Pro.” I said.
“Heck yeah, let’s do it!” Callie said with a new spring in her step. 

When walking up a steep trail, one of the best moments of the hike is getting the first glance of the lake. For me the first sight of the lake brings a whole new surge of energy, because now it is time to fish.

Both Teri and Gracy found a nice log to kick back on, as I videoed Callie putting together her fly rod. We quickly made our way to the lake and flicked out our flies, but nothing was interested. 
“Do you see all the frogs here?” I asked. 
“Yeah, they are everywhere.” Callie said. 
“I had to keep Basil from eating them.” Teri said, as her and Gracy came over to check out the lake.     

“I don’t see a single fish rising.” I said, as I flicked out my fly again.
“I’m not seeing anything either.” Callie answered back.
“Well, that means it’s time to go for a walk.” I said. 
“Like, around the lake?” Callie asked. 
“I’m down.” Callie agreed, and we took off.    

"Let me get some video of you hiking around the lake. It will look as if you are willing to go the extra effort to catch a fish."
“Hell yeah, I’m willing to go the extra effort!” Callie said with confidence, and I brought out the Go-Pro for more footage.

We came to an opening on the bank that would allow for some decent casting. Callie walked out on the fallen tree trunk, and flicked her fly into position. 
“Right there, right there!” I said quickly, as a small fish came up and took her fly. Callie had seen the take too, and had her rod lifted as I was yelling. 
“Dang!” She yelled, as her fish came unbuttoned. 
“It’s still hungry.” I encouraged, and Callie kept fishing.  

“This is going to be a sorry excuse for a video if you don’t catch a fish.” I said, as I switched off the camera and started fishing. 
“I know, right? Who would want to date me then?” Callie asked. 
“Not me.” I said, making her laugh. 
After several more attempts, and a lost fish, we decided to push on to the next spot.  

We had now almost walked the entire lake with nothing to show for it, and Gracy and Teri had walked in the opposite direction we had gone to meet us.
“Anything, Callie?” Gracy asked. 
“I had a bite, but it got away.” Callie said. 
“How about you?” Teri asked me. 
“I had one on, but it got away before I could grab it.” I said. 
“So none...” Teri said, putting her hand on her hips, “I thought you were suppose to be this great fisherman.” 
“Quiet, Foothills.” I snapped. 
“Oh snap!” Callie said with a smile.   
Just then a big gust of wind blew over the lake, making it that much harder for us to get a fly out. Callie was having trouble combating the wind, and she handed me her fly rod so that I could make a decent cast for her. WAM! A fish took, and I set the hook before I had time to hand Callie back her fly rod. 
“Here, take your rod.” I said, handing it to Callie while I grabbed the Go-Pro.      

Callie fought the fish while I filmed her bringing it in. Teri and Gracy watched with anticipation as Callie grabbed her fish and brought it up for a picture. 

“Does that really count?” Teri asked, “I mean, Erik made the cast.” 
“Yes, it counts for Callie. She would have made the cast if it wasn’t so windy out here.” I said, gesturing toward Callie. 
“Yeah!” Callie said defensively.
“We have a video!” I said happily, after Callie put her fish back into the lake. 
“Hells yeah!” She said happily, then put her rod away to hang out with Teri and Gracy. 
While the three of them stepped back and away from the water’s edge, I started casting where we had hooked into Callie’s fish, and immediately got another take.

I had looked up the stocking report for this lake before making the hike, and couldn't find any info on it. I have discovered that this usually means there are brook trout in the lake, and after another one caught, I figure that theory was sound. 

It was nice to finally find the hot spot on the lake, but a bit discouraging that not too far away was where I had started the trek around the lake; and if I had only gone left, instead of right, we would have gotten into fish much sooner.  Still, I do like hiking around every lake I go to, if I can, and catching a few fish was a nice way to end the day.

When you hike up a steep trail, you certainly get an idea of how steep the trail really is as you are heading back down. It is easy to lose your footing on the small, pebble-sized granite rocks that can sweep you off your feet in a fraction of a second. As we took our time selecting our footing down the path, Callie stepped on a larger rock she thought was secure. The rock gave way and Callie was able to catch herself from slipping as the rock slipped from under her, and started rolling towards Teri.

“Rock! Teri!” I yelled down to her, and I watched the rock slowly roll down the path. 
“If you send a rock downhill, and there is someone there, you have to yell ‘rock'.” I said to Callie but there was no real danger in this case, because the rock was slowly tumbling down like an awkward slinky. Teri stepped to the side as the rock slowly lobed its way by her feet, where it stopped and toppled awkwardly on her toe.  

“CALLIE! Your rock is crushing my toe!” Teri yelled up in disbelief that the rock had stopped on the edge of her shoe.
“That’s crazy!” Callie yelled. 
“I can’t believe it rolled the whole way down and stopped there.” Gracy said, laughing as well. 
Teri stood there patiently as we all made our way down to get a closer picture of the rock on her foot.    

“Is that thing even on your toe?” Gracy asked, after taking a closer look.
“Not really. It’s mostly on my shoe, but I can feel it a little on my toe.” Teri said, and then slipped her foot out from under the rock. Together the four of us made our way down to the car, and with no more incident to speak of.  

“Well that wasn’t so bad, huh guys?” Teri asked, as she took off her pack to place it in the back of the car. 
“What?! You bitched the whole way up!” Gracy said, as she got in the front seat of the car. 
“She bitched before we had even started hiking.” Callie reminded us. 
“What? No... I was just preparing...”  Teri said, failing to come up with a better excuse. She shut the back cab, and got in the car so we could head off the mountain. 
As we pulled into McCall, Gracy looked over into Ice Cream Alley and convinced everyone we needed to stop.  When we discovered Ice Cream Alley was out of 90% of their flavors, we crossed the street and order milkshakes from My Father’s Place. 
“Nothing like burning up lots of calories, and them packing them back on with a milkshake.” Callie said, after ordering a large
“Well, here’s to a productive day.” I said, holding my milkshake up as a salute to the day. 
“Here here.” Teri said, and the ladies lifted their milkshakes up to cheers the end of a fun day.

After a few weeks of editing, here is Callie’s fly fishing/dating video.