February 21st, 2005

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Enchanted Forest

By Ailsa McIntosh (SheTies),British Columbia

As a country girl growing up on acreage I was what you would call a typical tomboy. Catching frogs and raising tadpoles was one of the more popular activities at that time. My friends and I embarked upon countless adventures around our neighbourhood. We would trek to the lake just down the road by racing through the forest surrounding our houses. The local deer wore trails through the ferns and trees and we used them to navigate our way through the drooping evergreen branches. After spotting some "bear brownies" on one of our favourite paths we decided to stop using the deer trails.

One of our favourite destinations was a creek only about half a kilometre away from my house. With dirty knobby knees we would climb onto our bikes and ride the short distance to the creek. My best friend at the time had those little plastic beads on her spokes and we provoked an old dog to bark every time we road by, without fail, with the metallic clanking of her bike. When we arrived at the creek we would slam on our brakes to see who could skid the farthest while spewing up dust and pebbles with childish glee.

In order to get to the creek we clambered down a steep rocky slope, grasping small saplings in an effort to control our rate of descent with our hands smelling of moss and sticky with tree sap we would pause victoriously and look back up the hill to the road where we had hidden our bikes. Triumphantly walking away along the damp spongy ground we travelled the short distance to the creek under the heavy canopy of trees. There was one ancient stump stubbornly standing it's ground against the unrelenting assault of time. A thick shroud of moss embraced the stump as droplets of dew sparkled in an extravagant dance with the sunlight winking down through the trees. A few small, glossy orange-capped mushrooms snacked voraciously on the slowly decomposing wood. The air was always thick with the pungent smell of the damp leaves, moss and earth. Dark leathery ferns added their own heavy musk to the perfume of the forest.

At the road there is a large culvert, about twenty feet in diameter, that attempts to control the grinding effects of the creek on the roadbed. Dark creek water surges through the culvert and splashes down into the large pool we used to swim in as children. Crayfish would sway menacingly in an effort to discourage us from plucking them from the sanctuary of their various nooks and crannies. There aren't a lot of fish in that particular pond but the occasional trout would rise to take little red and black ants that had fallen from the branches that reached down to tickle the waters surface. Lazy ripples would extend their embrace outwards after a trout gently sipped an insect from the grip of the surface film.

It had been a couple of years since my last visit to my old childhood hide-out. I'm not sure how many more times I will risk life and limb clambering my way down that rock slope, but I have no plans on stopping yet. I don't go there to fish! I go there to relax; throw pebbles into the water; to listen to the forest breathe. Sometimes we can get consumed by our pursuit of fish and take our surroundings for granted. Fishing can take us to amazingly beautiful locales; try to make sure you experience the location not just the fishing it has to offer. ~ Ailsa McIntosh (SheTies)

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