• Double D's Adventures

    Sorry I haven’t written in a while let’s just say my heart wasn’t in it. It has been a … shall we say … interesting … year, the painful end of a 25 year marriage, the end of my career at a company I thought I would retire from, a couple of minor heart attacks and another pair of stents to go with the pair I already own … … less than 18 months after the first ones and to cap it all off a 50th birthday, but actually I view that as a positive not a negative as I was here to have the 50th birthday. The pure good news however is that I am alive and kicking and have fishing experiences to share … … so life can’t really be too bad, can it.

    I had stopped on the way to the Nantahala to pick up some flies the other day and to check out the new fly shop and Bamboo rod building facilities of my friend Bill Oyster and believe me when I say they were first class and way too cool for a guy like Bill, when the young man at the fly shop asked me when I was going to write something again, well honestly I was surprised that anyone would even much notice that I hadn’t written anything lately and it startled me into thinking how long it had been and how much I enjoy writing these long winded fishing narratives…… so here goes one more just for the hell of it.

    We reach a point in our lives when we begin to accept the fact that we are getting older and that our physical capabilities are beginning to diminish and that we will simply have to accept a life where we can’t do some of the things that we might want to. I had settled into that role and was feeling way older than my 50 years. I saw a post on the internet early in the summer about one of my favorite streams of all time and it was by a man who had found the stream after identifying one of the photographs in my own story and searching it out for himself. I loved reading his great story but it made me sad to think I would never be able to hike into this difficult valley ever again and after that it made me mad. I spent some time thinking through the difficulties that I was having catching my breath and the fact that my chest hurt with minimal exertion and I decided to challenge my doctors and ask that they take a second look at my arteries and blood flow. Well that led to a trip to the hospital, another intimate close shave, cameras up the groin and 2 new stents. But as I woke up after the surgery and went through basic recovery, I realized that I felt wonderful and that my blood flow had never felt so good. So I spent 4 days a week walking in Georgia dreaming of the days when I could give myself a real hiking test in Colorado. I knew I really shouldn’t ever try the valley of my dreams again but at least I felt confident that I could handle the easy stuff at 10,000 feet once more.

    Cool colorful Colorado as their tags used to say, is still the place of my dreams. The place I wake up from heart surgery wondering if I will still be able to make this year’s trip... and no I didn’t exactly ask……… after all forgiveness is much better than permission isn’t it. Every adult in my family was against me going to Colorado and pushing too hard… and everyone who knows me knows … pushing less than too hard isn’t exactly an option …….. and all of my nearly adult kids (read that as the ones with my same emotionally maturity) were saying hell if you are going to go why don’t you take me with you. So sure enough I took two wonderful trips to Colorado this summer and fall one with each of my two boys. They were both very different trips but they were both a pure slice of heaven for me … … the place I love best, the boys I love the most: one at a time, and a little fly fishing to pass the time of day.

    The “Double D” adventure took place in the late part of July with Dick Davis and Drew Davis spending a week at the cabin in Creede. My heart stent surgery and the last heart attacks were less than a month old and I wasn’t sure what to expect so I was a little slow and shaky trying to figure out what the heck would happen. In hind sight I am pretty sure the first sets of stents collapsed pretty quickly after they went in as I never felt blood flow like this time. I just didn’t know what I was supposed to feel like and had no idea how good this whole blood flow concept should be……… but I was also a little scared that if I over did it then I would end up gasping for breath when climbing the stairs again. So naturally I did what all normal dis-functional macho assholes do……….. I ignored my fear and decided to just go for it.

    My first view of the river from the porch of the family cabin is still as magical as the first time I ever stood on that deck and looked at the mighty Rio Grande rolling by like a silver thread a hundred feet below. That was many years ago and no matter how times I see it, my breathing slows and my pulse just stops and slides into a rhythm that matches the water below and I feel like I am truly and completely at home.

    Spending time with my mother and my baby boy Drew (who is about to turn 21) was magical for me. Drew is struggling to find where and what he wants to make out of his life… … and at 50 I am still struggling with some of those same questions. So we got to spend time together and help each other work on our perspective and clarity while watching the sun set and the river roll. And if that setting won’t help you find your heart and soul then nothing will.

    We headed down to the river early the next day as the excitement wouldn’t let me sleep any more than a six year old boy on Christmas morning. Expectations were high but there is always a nagging concern that somehow the fish will be gone or that I will have somehow forgotten how to catch them. Which is why I whooped in delight as I saw the indicator dip and set the hook in that combination of instinctive hand slide tightening the line and full blown rod tip hook set … both arms moving opposite like a fist pump in reverse, a celebration of the moment. I looked up to catch Drew’s eye as he was fishing just across the current from me, but my moment of superiority was shattered by the sound of that wonderful top forty sensation: the hardy reel drag “rag”……. Drew was hooked up as well and it appeared his was bigger than mine. Not fifteen minutes into the first morning and the pair of double d’s were into a double.

    With a start like that you know the rest of the trip was bound to be a ringing success. We managed to catch fish out of all of the places you should and a few you shouldn’t. We fished the river behind the house most days. And with scenery like this why wouldn’t you.

    We did venture out to fish a pair of my favorite local small streams, one that is well known and one that is much more unknown but both fished like a dream. Browns dominated the popular one but it was a gorgeous place and a must fish location for me even though it is well known. It is a short half mile walk and is a flat trail so I wasn’t a heart risk.

    I bounced happily along catching more fish than I deserved and not really even paying that much attention to the fishing but simply enjoying the day and letting my mind run free on the current and sunlight in a pleasurable trance…… that is until I ran into this beaver damn which naturally got me pretty excited.

    I saw a sipper right under the tree line as I set up and for once I was able to put my dry dropper rig right up under that same tree line on the first cast. I was rewarded with a soft rise and managed a hook up, but as soon as the fish rolled back into the faster current I saw a second flash and felt another hard jolt of a hook set. I must admit I was somewhat confused until I clearly saw two fish trying to fight off the drag of the line. They both went in different directions but the tippet held. From there they tried to move more or less in the same direction and I soon had landed yet another type “double d” double for this trip. The dry fly fish taped at a shade under 15 inches and the smaller dropper fish at about 12. So I am claiming a 27inch fish on this one….. whadaya think.

    My son has been in a hunting trapping and fishing for food kick here lately and he wanted a fish dinner. I hadn’t kept many trout in the last 15 years or so but clearly we were in area that had a surplus of trout and the eco system actually would probably benefit from a couple less in the water, so we each kept a couple and Mom fixed a fish dinner just the way I remembered them from when I was a young boy. And damn it was good. Some of you more die hard catch and releasers may want to shield your eyes from these next to pictures but they are priceless to me as my family has many, many such shots from my 50 years of Colorado memories and I am betting many of you do as well.

    The other stream we fished isn’t exactly hidden but it gets virtually no true fishing pressure and I pray nearly every night that it stays that way. It isn’t an easy hike, it does raise the blood pressure and leave you heaving for oxygen in a few places, not like my magical valley but still a pretty tough short hike. But I had felt better than I had in years so damn the torpedoes full speed ahead. Even the hike in is beautiful for this little stream.

    The day started out sunny and fishy. We both had a grand slam of brown, bow, brook and rio g cutt within the first hour of fishing. This was one of those little streams that is so productive two people can fish side by-side and generally each catch at least one fish apiece from most of the likely looking spots. So we danced up river in total peace talking occasionally and giggling about a blown cast or bungled hook set a lot and most importantly just enjoying each other company.

    But just as in life the weather turned and the sound of thunder rumbled down the little canyon and the smell of rain was sharp and pungent on the rising wind.

    Drew and I went “to ground” under a rock outcropping and several large pine trees and just sat and talked and staid basically dry while the rain drenched the rest of the world. I can’t remember when I have enjoyed a conversation any more. It is unusual to have my son captured where he doesn’t have anywhere he can go or anything else he can entertain himself with other than talking to his old man. And I am no fool so I took advantage while I could. I would love to tell you we had a deep intellectual talk and solved each other’s long term life plans …. But we didn’t … we just enjoyed out time together and waited out the rain storm. Then went and caught a few more fish before the water began to color with the runoff from the rain, which obviously hadn’t fully run off my hat just yet either.

    After that we strolled back to the car feeling peaceful and content with the day and with the trip. I managed to catch a pair of pictures of the clearing skies.

    They seemed to capture my mood of the last year pretty well, the storm clouds are obviously still swirling around….. but the sun is coming out and softer weather is the predicted future………….. and with that I will leave the first leg of my Colorado trip and I hope you will join me for part two with a week of high country camping in early October for the changing of the aspen…….. and maybe a fish or two.

    Dick Davis
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Double D's Adventures started by rbaileydav View original post
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. mems's Avatar
      mems -
      Great story and nice pictures. Glad the old ticker held up. I would have eaten the brook trout, but browns are good as well. I haven't eaten a trout in a long time, but it is nice to make a meal every now and then. I am glad you had a good time and I know those memories are even more precious with your new out look on things. Here is to good health, and many more trips, Mems.
    1. Ernest's Avatar
      Ernest -

      I’m glad that you’re on the mend. I had a similar, maybe not as serious, heart problem about two years ago. I had one blockage, had one stent installed, and immediately felt better than I had in years. I’m a lot older than you are; I fish a little slower and a lot smarter than I did when I was young, and I enjoy it as much as ever. Exercise and diet (well, I’m not so good at the diet) are keeping me in the game. I’m studying the habits of an even older friend who catches his share of fish and takes regular naps on the banks of trout streams. You have a lot of fishing left. Stay healthy, fit, and strong.

      Friends and family who have seen their marriages end have hurt for a while, sometimes for quite a while, and then they’ve picked up and gone on with their lives. Later, they said they were good with the change.

      It’s normal to grieve the loss of a good job. I’ve been right sized out of two good jobs since the age of 50, and found other work that better suited me both times.

      Thanks for writing. Fish on, brother.

    1. gusstrand's Avatar
      gusstrand -
      Welcome back, Dick.

      Life is quite the freaking adventure, eh man? A downsize is what moved me from Oregon to Texas, and last summer, I found myself reporting to a person at the same level as I who needed my well planned ratio and staff of direct reports to maintain their own ratios in a the job/company I came here for - and thus also found myself the victim of my own good planning and another's lack thereof. A few months later I landed - the paycheck is skinnier, but the stress level is as well. I guess I'm trying to say I empathize with the job thing.

      But it's so good to see you posting, in good, or pretty good health. I was worried the ticker took you offline, honestly. We need to get your boys online here!

      The sharing, well, I'm grateful you're back, man. Don't be a stranger, or, well, don't be stranger than you already are. We like you that way. You are a part of smallstreams.
    1. ksbioteacher's Avatar
      ksbioteacher -

      I'm thankful you ran into the young guy at the fly shop that prompted you to write and share another of your "long winded fishing narratives". And what timing. I'm imagining that you spent most of the Thanksgiving break putting this and the next chapter together. Good thing you got re-stented and that going through it, turned out to be worthwhile so you could still return to altitude and attitude. Your personal photo is showing a much leaner flyfisherman than the guy that appeared in forums over 3 and 4 years ago. While there may not be as much of you to reflect for me it is your reflections and introspections that make your writing so compelling. Throw in a bit of southern flavored analogies/metaphors that make you scratch your head and you've got a winning combination. Thanks for sharing such an intimately personal story. And thanks for the images of all the landscapes and streams we both seem to explore. I don't think I'll ever get to retire there (or nearby) due to family but I am sure that like you, every year I am capable, I'll make the pilgrimage. That part of the high country has begun to define who I am.


      Maybe next summer.....I do know a stream or two with some excellent fishing that are not quite the walk.

      and...don't wait too long for chapter 2.
    1. rbaileydav's Avatar
      rbaileydav -
      thank you all............. yes i am strange but i take a perverse pride in that. This gorup has alwyas been home and i apologize for being gone for so long glad to be back for awhile.

    1. gusstrand's Avatar
      gusstrand -
      DD, mind if I make this a part of the front page?
    1. Lone Wulff's Avatar
      Lone Wulff -
      Excellent story and fishing report. I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait for part II. I know what you are going through with life’s dilemmas. I too, passed the half century mark this year. I haven’t had a heart attack yet, but it’s in the front of my mind. I spend most of my time sitting at a desk in a stressful job and rarely find the time to go running anymore. Slowly, I get more and more out of shape. I still make a lot of the hikes when I go fishing, but they are much more of a struggle than they were just three years ago. The way you reflected on your life got me to re-assess mine. Thanks.
    1. adam's Avatar
      adam -
      Heavy sh!t bro, sorry about the divorce, that alone will break your heart...

      I'm glad that you have found yourself though and happy to see you are back.

      Take care and wear yourself out hiking, biking, walking and fishing.
    1. Satoshi's Avatar
      Satoshi -
      Thank you for a great story.
      Yes,...things happen in life, but you can still fish.