by Mark Littleton
I got a call from Randal last week. He just got back from a fishing
trip to Idaho and he was so happy and excited that he was babbling.
It was hard to tell what he was talking about, some places in Idaho
will do that to you. I could pick up snippets, things like "beautiful
place", "big fish", and "so relaxed". "We've got to get up there,
are you still going?" he said.
You bet. We planned a trip to the North Fork of the Clearwater
almost as soon as we got back from our fishing/camping trip to the
South Fork Snake last year. The part of the river we are going to
is in the middle of nowhere - perfect. Six days in the wilderness
with nothing bigger to worry about than what you are having for
dinner. I need a trip like that. None of us has ever been there
but I have a good feeling about this place.
I once got a jolt of 220 volts of electricity trying to fix a
clothes dryer (before I figured out that you should probably unplug
them before working on them). When I woke up, I had this wonderful
sense of well being. All was right with the world. No wonder they
use electroshock therapy for depression. Going camping for a week
has a similar effect and is usually safer (not always, but that's
There is something about a weeklong camping fishing trip that
you can't get anywhere else. Modern American life is full of worry,
the job, the kids, money, the stock market, Al Qaida. It's a wonder
we ever get any sleep. A day or two on the river is great therapy
but it really takes at least 3 days to really unspool and shut off
that little voice in your head that is constantly yammering about
all the things you need to do, and all of the unsolvable problems
hanging over your head. Once you get that little voice shut up,
you can revert to true trout bum status. Fish, eat, sleep- this
is the road to nirvana. If you could read my mind on day three of
a camping trip you would find - nothing. Living a civilized life
can cause you to lose your bearings. A week of the simple life of
being a full time trout bum clears the mind and restores perspective.
Human beings weren't really cut out for modern life. This life
is full of stress. When we experience stress, we are biologically
wired to fight or flee. Both of these reactions tend to be socially
unacceptable in most situations, so instead we sit quietly while
our blood pressure goes through the roof. This is why there are
so many crazies in the world.
Some people go their whole life without going on a weeklong camping
trip. I don't know how they do it. Maybe they work on their dryers