After six years, the idea of camping in the North Carolina mountains has at long last taken hold. There is scenery, there are fish (some big ones) and plenty of hiking. Why it took more than half a decade to discover western North Carolina can only be attributed to me being a ‘late adopter’. Very late. I will lean on my fly-fisherman-to-end-all-fly-fisherman son in law, Tim, to tie me some Caddis and Adams, along with a few streamers (those drove the larger trout nuts). (We will call it a trade: I sent some French roast coffee ahead of Emma’s birth and later built Emma’s garden while I was up there to celebrate her grand arrival.)
Here is last week’s letter in its entirety.
May 29, 2012
Ellen/Reid: I got a big smile out of that shot of you holding your niece, Reid. One can only imagine the off-camera coaching you received. That was so good. She’s just a little bundle of joy, isn’t she?
Maybe by the time this arrives you will know about your plans for London. That sounds so adventurous, especially if you have something waiting for you when you return. That would be great. I’ve looked into tickets to the U.K., pricey but doable. I forgot this is an Olympic year and everything will be jacked up price-wise. But you only go around once, and it would be marvelous to get over there to share your experience at least for a long Thurs.-Sun. weekend. You’ve been quite the international traveler. By my count – and I could be wrong – you’ve been to Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Russia, Sweden, India. What am I missing?
We had a great time in the “mountains” just southwest of Asheville. We got one of the last camp sites in a state park, and oddly it was a secluded spot at the end of a road where we were really next to only one other couple and well away from the holiday zanies. We only went for Sunday night. After setting up the tent we went into Asheville and found an old time neighborhood bar for some of the best calamari I’ve ever had then went to the recovery house where Felicia’s son is staying, and that was a good, eye-opening experience. The house is well away from Asheville and is filled with guys who are battling the same demons. Addiction is just such an awful, insidious thing. After their Sunday night meal, everyone, including visitors (which was really just Felicia and me), had to say what they were thankful for and that was interesting. Everyone started with “I’m (insert name) and I’m an addict or alcoholic.” On the way back to camp we bought a couple of bundles of oak firewood and had a great time sipping a little wine, watching the fire, telling stories and just laughing. I went fishing twice, and caught trout both times, including a 2 pound brown trout of about 17-18 inches (Ellen, tell Tim that after the elation died down I downgraded the catch from 3 to 2 lbs.) plus a few plump rainbows, among the biggest I’ve ever caught, with one topping out in the 14” range. It’s true that the farther up you walk from the trail head, the bigger the fish get. Of course, I lost numerous flies due to poor casts but it was still great fun. North Carolina is so beautiful. If it just wasn’t for the reddest of redneck politics.
Ellen, we have our tickets for Friday, July 13. We get in about 1:30 p.m. and will rent a car so you don’t have to fuss with traffic or bundling little Emma up for the trip. We’ll also get a room to save you guys the hassle. That’s fine with us. We are excited to see the little one. She will be more than two months old by that time. Can’t wait to see you guys again. We will get out of your hair early Sunday for our 9 a.m. flight.
Will change a couple of rooms around upstairs in the next week or so in order to configure my office a little bit more efficiently. I want to be in the same room as the router and phone connections and reduce the number of wires snaking to and fro. So the double bed and the twin beds will be swapped out. It’s the behemoth desk that is the biggest challenge. But all-in-all it will be a far better working arrangement.
My workouts for Wyoming have started in semi-earnest. There’s got a long way to go and if I’d knock off the ice cream things would be that much easier on me. But its allure is strong and I wilt way too often. There are worse things. At least the ice cream is carb-free.