At one time I used to do long road trips with my friend East Texas Red. Our destination was the mountain west. We would spell one another off driving across the US getting out to the west as fast as we could. I remember one trip we made it to Cody Wyoming near the east gate of Yellowstone in 36 hours. By the time we got there I was bleary-eyed and exhausted, in need of food that didn’t come from a gas station and in need of a good night’s sleep to recover. We found a motel room and walked over to the Irma, apparently once Buffalo Bill’s joint, for prime rib. At that time the prime rib in that place came in three sizes, the smallest bigger than any human ought to tackle. We recovered from the crazy drive there in Cody and fly fished our way wherever it was we were going that particular trip. The destination didn’t matter. We were in the mountains with nothing better to do than chase trout and life was good.
Once I made the trip west on my own. I was headed for a button accordion camp in the Sierras with stops along the way in Idaho to enjoy a little fishing with Ken. Funny the things that stick out in your memory. We camped at Box Canyon on the Henry’s Fork and went off fishing for the day. A crazy wind came up and a brief rainstorm appeared out of nowhere. At the very same time, mayflies started emerging from the stream. The storm drowned the bugs as they struggled to dry their wings and fly off and the trout went crazy feeding on the injuried mayflies. The problem was that the wind became so intense, casting was impossible. The entire surreal event lasted just a short few minutes. Later, at dark, we pulled into the campsite to find my tent missing in action. Ken’s was there but mine had vanished. The same wind we experienced on the river blew my tent off the pegs and into the trees. Amazingly, it was fine, just relocated.
I’m thinking of a more modest solo road trip this year. This isn’t set in stone. For now let’s say it’s an idea for a big circle. The idea is to drive to Sarnia, cross into Michigan and head up the lower peninsula to Grayling. Maybe stop at Grayling and fish the Holy Waters then continue north to the Mackinac Bridge and the UP. On the UP, west to Escanaba, maybe fish the Sturgeon or Whitefish Rivers and up to Gwinn, Robert Travers country, over to Munising and east to Seney to fish The Fox and a couple other streams I’m aquainted with in the area. Then east to Sault Ste Marie and back into Canada, across to Sudbury and back south.
I have a fondness for those trout streams on the Upper Michigan Peninsula that is hard for me to explain. I’ve fished through there a few times and always really enjoy myself. I think of them as literary fly fishing waters because two well-known authors wrote about fishing there. Hemingway wrote The Big Two-Hearted River back in the 1920s. The Big Two-Hearted is an actual river. I’ve been there. Apparently it was The Fox though that Hemingway liked to fish. That’s understandable. The Fox is a gorgeous stream. West on the UP, Robert Travers wrote about fishing his beloved Escanaba and other local streams in books like Trout Madness, a personal fave.
I’m hoping to go in early summer, as soon as the black flies are more or less done.