We left Seattle on a hot summer day. It has been hot in Seattle, so this was nothing new. We have semi planned a route, but it mostly was “keep the ocean on the left” and “stop when we feel like it”. We hit the border where we declared that we had an illegal firearm. Oops. I guess you can big a large canister of bear spray into Canada, but a small pepper spray on your key chain is not allowed. We were detained, and the dogs were put in a kennel while they searched our meticulously packed car. The border patrol made sure to take things out and let us repack the car we had just packed a few hours ago. Not being deterred, we witnessed an amazing sunset and moonrise (at the same time) as we drove through Vancouver.
We arrived in Squamish around 9:30 or 10 at night. We had heard about the world famous rock climbing and hoped to camp near the crag. We arrived on a Thursday and thought that the weekend crowd from Seattle and Vancouver might not be there yet. Boy were we wrong. An international crowd of typical climbers were at the campground by the hundreds. Now I love vagabonds, gypsies, and dirtbags as much as the next climber, but arriving late, it just didn’t feel right. We left a small circle of didgeridoo players in the rearview mirror and we proceeded back to the privately run campground we had passed just a couple of kilometers before.
This is low tide at one of my favorite places. Just a few minutes from the ever popular Hiram M. Chittenden locks in Ballard is a tiny little beach that some berry pickers, bud light drinkers, and myself know about. The fish swim by in large numbers, but the people have their noses pressed to the windows at the fish ladder at the locks. Today, I saw some huge Chinook Salmon and it got me pumped for the future. Mostly my fishing future. When I first moved to Seattle and lived on a boat in Ballard, I would walk down to this beach with Lando and let him run around off leash. He loved it when the geese were visiting.
My grandfather told me stories about growing up in England while bombs were falling. They would hide in doorways hoping not to be blown up. My father went to military school. I have no such affiliation. My friends have be in the armed forces. I have nothing against the choices that people have made.
I have been spending time at the local VA. What I have seen are not heroes, but victims of war. There are no heroes in war. Is a hero someone that kills more people than the next person? Or is the hero the person that cleans up your excrement because you can’t control your bodily function because of the war? My heroes are people that stand up to speak out against all wars.
I haven’t felt like my freedoms have ever been threatened. I am not scared of an invading army. I don’t own a gun. I try to mind my own business and just enjoy my life. Today, I caught a Chum Salmon and thought of my grandfather. He valued education. He also loved shooting guns. If I had to categorize him, he would fit into the box labeled, “Republican”. I let my fish go. Live and let live.
We hit Victoria for the typical tourist scene. The food was fantastic, the weather was still nice, and we got to sleep in real beds.We skipped tea at the Empress, but had a similar experience (at half the price) at the Gatsby Mansion.
It was a great end to an amazing vacation. We drove over to Sidney to take the ferry to Anacortes. We arrived home exhausted and happy. Now back to dog running and nursing school.
When Derek calls to tell you that he will be at your house at 4 AM it is hard not to be angry. Then you think that you might, you just might, finally catch a steelhead. The weather is terrible for fishing, hot and sunny. But you set your alarm and do it anyway.
Leland taught me the importance of naps, but I was glad to wake up and take a picture of Derek as the sun was rising over our first spot. Even when the fishing is slow, it is nice to see the absolute beauty of the outdoors.As the sun climbed higher, the naps were initially more enjoyable, but at a certain point in the day it becomes uncomfortable to nap in waders. The water was low and as the clocked ticked onward, I began losing hope in my chance for my first steelhead. Derek pulled in a few non steelhead fish. He was not as impressed as I was. I have thought that the Skykomish is as barren as it gets. On the way back to the car, I got the biggest surprise of the day. I brought in a king salmon. What?! Out of nowhere we landed this little guy. Thanks for a great day Derek!We are now ready to get that steelhead!