Camping and fishing over the 4th

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Took the family camping over the 4th and the weekend. With hot weather down in the settlements, I was really looking forward to waking up to some 50 degree weather. On the way into camp, as I left the last of civilization, the thermometer read 90 degrees. 15 minutes later as I was turning onto the campground road, it read 76. :)

I had planned to use this trip to go back and visit a stream I love and one I haven't fished since it was burned in the forest fires from back in '16.

Though it's not a stream that a reasonable man ought to fish solo, I'm not always reasonable. And sometimes, that's just the way I want it.

If you know anything about fishing in the southern Appalachians, you know what's usually in store after you climb above these:

This particular stream has a series of waterfalls that must be scaled. Above one, at the foot of another, is a giant (for this stream size) plunge pool.

It usually has a generous population of these...

And then another set of falls

And when you finally scrape and scramble and emerge torn, bleeding, and covered in soot from the charred remains of laurel limbs, the landscape changes from deep, shadowy gorge into a sun-dappled meandering freestone stream, absolutely crawling with speckled trout.

After about 200 yards of fishing, I had landed so many 5-7" specks, it was laughable. I probably spent 2 hours fishing 200 yards because I caught fish in every single pocket of water. At this point, the fish began to get a little better, with a few topping out around 9 inches.

Though the fish were getting larger and there was still a few hundred yards of fishing before the last set of falls that I've never tried to go above, a loud crack of thunder reminded me that I was in some very rough country alone and I didn't want to get caught in a flash flood, so I bid adieu to this lovely stream and headed for the truck.

Rain began to fall long before I got back to the truck, and I decided to hit a section of the stream below the falls and try for the other two species of the Appalachian slam.

This little brown got me 2/3 of the way there.

And finishing in an aerial display and several mad dashes for the deep, this feisty little rainbow saw me home.

There is just nothing I've found more peaceful than fishing. No cars, no cell phones, no deadlines, and in many cases like this, no people. I just feel a connection with the land, experiencing it as I believe God intended.