Tag Archives: Brown Trout

Mitosis Egg!

I set out filming Fly Hacks to help people understand the “why” and “how come” that I find myself asking when watching other videos. Anyone can bake a cake by recipe, but knowing how and why certain ingredients are used can lead you to make better cakes. I feel the same with flies. We can copy other patterns, but when we understand what we are doing, we can take an idea further. I hope my readers and watchers can take my patterns further. It is more about how you can use a material than it is about what new materials are out there.

 


Reflection

cbwThey say the eyes are the window to the soul. When, if ever do we see our own? Throughout life, our shortcomings and judgment from others shapes our self image. Those things that we may think we really are. Who are we?

Staring down at the cold, moving water of the river, it began with a simple question. The journey to this water was difficult. As all “uncharted” sections of river are. I asked, “Why?”. Why did I drive for three hours to get to a place that required over an hour worth of hiking to get to? There was not a person to be seen in the canyon, not a single car in the parking lot. Emptiness. The river rushed through a place untrodden while a similar river rushed through my heart. I was here not because it was exciting, but because I needed to connect with something so similar to who I am. Searching for fish is only an excuse to search for something within myself. For the first time this year, I was able to think.

My fingers dipped into the river, the cold water like refreshing air, a gasping inhale after holding your breath too long. It brings to mind those visionaries whose psychic abilities only function upon touch of an old item to see if it has spirits attached to it. That water moving against skin flashed visions of those spirits. Among all of this, this canyon, the coyotes, the eagles, the heron, there is a river that represents life. More importantly, it bore my own reflection. Looking upstream to waters I have seen before, this day I had to move beyond my comfort zone. Downstream, to the future, to the heart of the river, to the heart of me.

I hiked down in an attempt to wear myself out, to get the feeling that I would never make it out. I needed to feel like I was alive and that life is fragile. Continuing on, I passed beautiful sections of water that held fish, passing bend and pool, log jams and riffles for no reason but to get to a destination that I never knew existed. To see if the river stopped where no one was looking, to see if it ever gives up or gets tired. What I found is that the river is absolute, it is relentless, it shapes the world around it yet allows the world to direct it.

Even though I was not aware, I had stumbled upon what I was looking for. It was a hole containing an abundance of fish. With every few casts, the river began to yield the treasure it held beneath that magical separation of water and air. As good as it seemed, above and below this hole seemed to be dead and void of fish. Even hiking out from the canyon I fished to no avail. Looking back at the path I had taken, I realized what the river was trying to say. I had taken this path that lead to a place. That path is where I stand now and looking upstream at the sunset, that path is directing me to a new horizon. To a sunrise that never seems to lose her grandeur. Reflecting upon the looking glass, I saw my reflection conjured by the river. Maybe I had found what I had been searching for all along.cbrowncbow


I’m Alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not much to say here… The season is tapering off and I need to put forth more effort into editing some things. Here is a snack.


…And Then, There Was Chaos

clouds_edited-1There is no order without chaos, or at least that is how the old adage plays. As silly as it may sound, this statement is not as confounding as people make it out to be. It is not the age old question of the chicken or the egg. In fact, as philosophies evolve, we often realize that some things can not be put under the microscope to be analyzed. Often, our energy is often spent more efficiently and wisely elsewhere. Frankly, the statement of order and chaos is just that, a statement. Some tend to get lost in the definition of it all. Lost in some kind of philosophical wormhole of paradoxical bliss. We find the answer is still the statement, because the statement is the answer. We should really be asking what the question is.

Waking up on the wrong side of the river (in the city) comes with complications that I have yet to find a friendly relationship with. To bring a good example to light, traffic. As much as the highway seems like a river, it is far from behaving anything like one. It goes both up and down hills and generally breaks all of the rules that Newton set into stone. These were my thoughts as I drove to work, preparing a fake smile to people who expected it. Life had become a pattern. A pattern with very limited time to accomplish the things that I wanted. I watched people following the same pattern, some in love with that life, some just continuing on because they assume there is no other choice. Something had to give.

Around lunch I received a text, “Are you coming this weekend?”  Even though it was only a question, I had to say yes. I did this to force myself out of a pattern that I had grown so used to. Such a dry life spent waiting for days off to fish. The only excitement in my life was found drifting the fly down a mildly tumultuous path to serve as a platter for the upscale type of fish. After my fun had been spent, the situation became real again and it was back to the pattern. My escape plan had been forged into an alchemists dream. Twenty-four hours to move from Colorado Springs to Taos.IMGP0814

After work, I packed my things to travel to greener pastures. Pastures that weren’t really green at all. Pastures who are more of a conglomeration of sand, mountains, and water. I knew the cut in pay, I knew that it might mean longer hours, I knew there might be less time on the water, at the very least I would be talking fishing. This was the means to dedicate myself more to the sport and restoration, more time to write, more time to be creative, more time to live. There is no paycheck in the world that could take me away. After four hours of driving through mountains with snow-packed roads and police pulling stranded citizens from the side of the road in unrelenting snow, I had arrived at my new home. Taos, New Mexico. The land of milk and honey… Or maybe just art and fly fishing. btcolor

Now, a month has gone by and my trout senses are reset to New Mexico. The chaos and dust has settled. In the midst of it all, I have still found a way to fish being only 20 minutes away from great water. Through all of the chaos, life just ironed itself out. Around every turn, every hiccup that may have ended in disaster, it all worked out and life hangs in the balance of chaos and order. Chaos that seems to settle if life continues to follow the path of the river. Tumultuous, yet controlled by mother nature. I’ll continue drifting this canyon until my time comes to reach the ocean.IMGP0880


Death Between Lives

The thermometer in my car read -3 degrees. The snow fell relentlessly as I curled up in my driver seat, praying that my heater would miraculously spring back to life to warm bones that reflected the outside temperature. I shivered knowing that I shouldn’t, my body had no sugars to process for heat. Hours ago, the sun had already made its way over the pass with ease. Something that, in the moment preceding hypothermia, my car and I envied. If I could just make it over the pass and get moving, heat would slowly pour through the vents and save my life. That was only a wish. I covered myself with a slew of winter gear and waited for the sun to make its way over the pass yet again to warm not only the road, but my slowly fading body heat.Vailsnow1

Years ago, while running a guitar shop in Las Cruces, a very warm day brought on a cold revelation. Sitting outside I watched a truck barreling down the road driving at a speed around 70mph in a 35mph zone. Before I could contemplate what a terrible and careless driver this man was, I heard something that sounded like an explosion. I ran to the sound and aid of someone that I had never known. When I had arrived, it was too late and the speeding driver opened his door to find the man who I never knew lying in his own back seat, passing into another world. The man was probably on his way somewhere, never thinking the place he was headed would no longer involve a car. The driver sat on a curb waiting for judgement to be passed upon him as well. I turned and walked away after a short statement. It was in that moment I realized no matter how safe you think you are, your card can be pulled in an instant at any given time.Pansnow1

The thermometer read -12 and inside my car was not much warmer. I rubbed my hands together to generate heat for my slowly numbing fingertips. Out of nowhere, I felt an audible chuckle become an uproar of laughter. The movement helped and the laugh originated from the thought of the previous day. The thought of laughter with my friend on the Frying Pan River and my freezing fingertips that day. In fact, the whole trip and the reason I was stranded here in the snow was due to wanting to test a new fly on a river filled with extremely picky fish. John suggested that we fish the Colorado that morning because he had left his waders in another state, in another car. I somehow talked him into fishing the Pan without the use of waders. While we stood on the banks of the river, fish flew out of the water and we cursed each fish for the taunting. It took a while for us to get into the swing of the river again. For John, it had been three months since he wet his line. For me, I had been fishing the Arkansas tailwater too much. As we changed flies, we picked up the occasional fish, but nothing seemed to work until John switched to a dry, and I to a streamer. The two dumbest flies we could have ever chosen. A “Chewbacca Bugger” and a Parachute Adams were our flies of choice and neither of us expected what was about to happen. Laughter exploded from the walls of the canyon as we began catching fish that we never thought we would catch on flies we never thought would work, on a snowy February afternoon.IMGP0542

That night, John and I ate dinner joking about the waitress the evening before and “Seasoned Fries” that were ordinary fries coated in black pepper.When John asked, she called them “Regular Seasoned Fries” and our confusion as to whether or not they were seasoned or regular was quelled. The food packed my stomach full. As John and I departed, I sat in my car. The last thing I wanted was to drive home in the snow. I threw on my winter gear and drove away unknowingly into a storm. By the time I had pulled out of Glenwood Canyon, I was already worried and running low on gasoline as well as funds in my bank account. The snow began to collect on the road and my car slid aimlessly down the highway, in chaotic control with a white-knuckled driver behind the wheel. Through the town of Eagle, the snow began worsen. My foggy headlights barely piercing the veil of white that fell before me. Vail pass was next, but before I reached the city of Vail, my car nearly spun out of control. Driving time was over and the only thing possible for me to do was wait in a Safeway (ironic, right?) parking lot. As the hours ticked away and my body temperature dropped, the thought of the previous day eventually put me to sleep.fryingpan1

4:00am -17 degrees… I woke up from the cold with a gasp and subsequent cough. Unable to feel my lips and finding it difficult to move, I got out of my car and walked a lap. With feeling once again in my extremities, I had to move. I had to drive. Leaving the Safeway parking lot was difficult, knowing that I might be stranded on the side of the road rather than a parking lot where I could call for help. Even the snow on the road made it tough. With only a couple of hours of sleep, I found myself spinning my tires up the onramp. Inching closer and closer to my destination, I rocked back and forth trying to push my car up the hill. Movement meant heat. As my car skittered onto the icy highway, I heard a familiar sound. A sound I had not heard in over a month. My heater had kicked on! I turned all of the dials to the hottest possible settings. Slowly, the cab warmed to a temperature capable of baking bread. I basked in its heat and breathed a sigh of relief. It was not my time… yet. With a little bit of determination and a lot of luck, I made it over the pass and down into the town of Silverthorne. At 5am, I knew of a place to sleep until it was warm enough to fish. I did just that.IMGP0554oldbuddy2

This new day was never supposed to happen. I should have been dead, or at the very least, at work. This day was a new one, the day after I didn’t die. As I cleaned my waders, I thought about the man I had never known. I wondered if he had passed on a day that he truly enjoyed, that was full of love and fulfillment. While fishing that day, I asked the same to myself. The answer was a resounding, “No”. My love is the river, and my heart belongs there, I was born to die on it. With the fresh thought of death in my mind, I realized that the only value of life is to find your fulfillment. The only way to accomplish fulfillment is to chase your dreams. The following day at work, I wrote a letter of resignation.IMGP0548


The Great Chill

It was a hot summer. I say “was” because now, as I sit in my room contemplating, summer is over. The trip I am writing about was that very last day… Or so I thought.
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The Taylor River is probably the most awkward and unseasonably cold river on earth, no matter what the season. I forget this every time I make the journey, but being a good little prepared back country guy, I’m always prepared for snow. Even in July. As I waited in construction traffic, I took a nap, well deserved after a 3am rise. My mind began to wander off with the river that flowed next to me, a vision of things to come and things that were. The power of the river, limitless. Something more than the fish and technical prowess of the river drew me here. Much like the Arkansas, when you step into the river, you feel the power of a glacier fed creek that drains into the vast expanse of ocean to be lifted and frozen and deposited back to the glacier from where it began. It floors me every single time, the power and majesty of the water. I look at what we have become, the destructive force of humanity, that no longer allows this river to flow into the ocean by means of a delta but rather sewage and human waste. Something that brings us so much life, a thing from which we were born, is also something we take for granted. No matter its fate, she is still here. For now.

A quick pointed rapping on my window woke me up as a pilot car and flag man anxiously awaited my journey up the canyon now warmed by the sun. I was not in such a hurry. I knew she waited patiently for me, as I, for her. The power of the river was subdued by her own exhalation. She had spent her energy breathing life to the world below. A world now in slow decay who also awaited patiently for her exhale again, in spring. Yet we still fight over how much we can use. How much we can take away for our own personal gain. For our crops, for our yards, for our showers, toilets, carwashes, electricity, tv, makeup, and clothes. For our energy drinks, diet pills, Starbucks coffee, oil refining, recycling processing, and every little thing that makes our existance. I had to stop myself there.
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Anyway, I geared up. Not with waders, but with my cold weather gear. Twenty-eight degrees will make you rethink the process. I wasn’t ready for it yet. I left colorado springs at well over sixty, even at three am. A brief acclimation time took place as I walked down to the river, but once I was there, I would forget completely. The river had decided to give up her treasure to me.
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The day wore on, fisherman expecting “hawgs” and “pigs” came and went with empty nets. Not willing to brave the cold long enough to entice the unwilling meatheads below. Many times I was approached and asked what I was using. I’ve learned my lesson after being called a “smartass” (yelled at me 3 times) on the Frying Pan for using a caddis. Most times in tailwater, I keep my headphones on and eyes to the water. This time I proclaimed “wooly bugger” which was the gods honest truth. However, it was shrugged off by most fisherman. After my stint in the Taylor, I moved on to camp. The next day brought excitement.
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The next morning, the sun hid behind the canyon walls. I froze. Fishing the Taylor in the wee hours before getting a foothold into higher ground. She gave me small gifts, but I had to move on.
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To explore. Then, I found it. Untouched, unexplored, unblemished, unnamed, and far away from man. What exactly happened there shall forever remain a mystery to the readers of this, but there were fish, and there is still hope after all. Maybe that is why the Taylor River is so cold. Maybe she is just sad and alone, like the ones who appreciate her the most, the ones who feed her.
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What Dreams Are Made Of

There is a particular section of the South Platte River in Colorado that they nicknamed “The Dream Stream”. Who are “they”? I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that they need a stern talking to. Granted, in this context, dream simply means a state of perfection. Boring. With that being said, my mind automatically races to the irrational. For example, a place where the tables are turned, and while underwater you fish into the atmosphere for hot air balloons with gargantuan insects leading the way like reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh. With this thought, I really had to see what I was missing out on.
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The grass broke away before me. A slow downhill slope created by millions of years of water flowing through a nearly level valley. No trees, rocks, or marmot here, just a long slow walk into the unknown. The path arrow straight, from fence following fly fishermen, and a damn fine fence to boot! Trust me, you’ll have time to appreciate it on the hike in. Did I say hike? I really meant walk. The long plains grass issued forth moths and no big terrestrials, just boring, normal grass. Looking forward, the trail pinpointed into nothing. Much like a long straight road in Arizona or Nevada, it seemed to get smaller and smaller until disappearing into some void of another dimension. Truth be told, it might be a tenth of a mile, but it feels longer when you are awaiting Dali’s “Persistance of Memory”. Keep analyzing the fence, it helps.
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Upon arrival, you won’t be awestruck by what you find. No melting clocks, no insects pulling hot air balloons, and you didn’t even forget your pants. Lucky you! Just a plain old boring river with gigantic trout. After catching a few fish, I wondered what exactly makes this place dreamy. I sat on the bank next to a quiet bend pool, quietly pondering the dreamy origin of the river. Slow water, no cover, tons of fisherman, big fish (plus), quiet, slow flowing, relaxing… quiet, trickling water… relaxing, quiet… My sitting turned to laying as I was lulled to sleep by the river. That was it! I had found the reason for the dream part of the stream! It gently sails you off to sleep, to dream of the place you thought you might visit. The river was so quiet that the splashing of fish was my alarm clock. I woke up to the sound. My eyes cracked open to a perfectly clear blue sky, with little black dots. I rubbed my eyes, blinked, still there. I tried to focus on one, but there were blankets of them drifting in the breeze. I sat up and Amy’s Ant splashed the surface and was gulped in the same moment. The fish waited for these bugs. Fish after fish for a good 20 minutes and the blankets of bugs were gone, so were the fish.
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This continued for the rest of the day in the same bend. Sleep, alarm, bugs, fish. Every single time, I looked at the sky for those bugs. If they weren’t there, I went back to sleep. When I woke up for the last time, I smiled a smile that you can’t wipe off. The sun was setting as I walked back to my car. I didn’t even notice the fence. It wasn’t the most beautiful scene, as would be a high country sunrise. It worked as my lone cowboy ride off into the sunset and away from a place that I might never return to.
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Lost and Found Pt: 2 (The River)

The River is code named “Lost and Found” after Annette and the fact that this river is so overlooked. The day started early after an all night snoring competition between John and I. If there was a ranking system for snoring, I’m sure I know the top 10 competitors in the world and he and I would rank in the top 5. As it stands, the winner is still yet to be determined as there was no “official” judge.

Without a hitch we were off to fish while other campers dreamed of home after a long weekend that seemed a great idea at the time, but after a few days in the forest with family, things get rough. We looked over the river with great anticipation saw fish from the road as we geared up. They were feeding. They were massive. They were ripe for the picking and it wasn’t long before John’s resident skills paid off.image

The fish here surprised me everytime, like hooking into a freight train moving solidly up a hill. Not only that, but these fish were brilliant swimmers to the extreme and put a wicked bend in the Sage One that it has never seen. The rod did play the larger fish better than I thought it would. Still, even with its superb construction, I lost fish and flies by the dozens. Some fish would strike so hard and so fast that they would break the 6x tippet before I even realized a fish had taken the fly. Frustrating. After some time, I did begin to find the groove and landed some of my own.image

Days 1 and 2 on “Lost and Found” drained the life from me. Between the sun, extremely difficult terrain, fighting fish, and casting, everything hurt. I even felt as though my rod was starting to feel lethargic, on the last limb, ready to throw in the towel, or die trying. Every step worth every cast worth every fish.image

Toward the end of the second day, I found the hole of holes on the river. I deemed it “The Chute”. It was the last pocket of water twenty feet from some wicked whitewater. Let me give you a quick rundown of fish before I explain the difficulty here. The fish in the river were averaging 16-19″ and a 12-14″ fish was around one in ten. 20″+ fish were about one in three and nearly impossible to land. For the days we were here, I needed to land a 20. So many times I set the hook into them. So many times I caught a glimpse of the fish before it was gone forever into the depths of Lost and Found. I cast into The Chute and pulled out a few fish (most importantly one containing 2 of John’s flies from the previous day), but there was one I that nearly gave me a heart attack. I saw a flash and set, solid hook set, no movement. I thought I had been snagged on a rock until I moved forward and saw its back vaguely beneath the current. It was a fish and it had the Hail Mary locked in its jaw. I pulled harder lifting the fishes head into the current. It did not like that at all. Off it went. It is said that a rainbow trout can accelerate to 23mph in one second. This fish easily broke that record and flew through the air like a salmon trying to get to his headwaters to spawn. My reel screamed in pain as the fish swam full speed down The Chute and into the deep run 50 yards downstream as I gave chase on land at a much slower pace. I made it to a slow pool along the run to work the fish. As I was settling in, the fish violently shook its head and both my flies and fish were gone. It was time to go. We moved on, to higher country.


Guess Who’s BACK!!!!!!!!

CHI-KOW!!!! For those in the know, that’s a karate chop. After all of this time i finally found the app to upload a blog post… From my phone! How amazing is this world we live in? This thing we call technology. Just wow. I’m a pretty happy camper right now and i feel the need to recap this entire year. Granted, I’ve probably lost all of my readers, but it’s like a new beginning for me into an era of technology. My “konnetic” rod has been giving me advice on the future and says that i should really get with the times. Heck, even Sanders has begun the “neofly” slang without me.

It all began on a cold night, the kind of night fishing dreams are made of. I remember it perfectly. March something, 2012 was the date originally a pristine white on the calendar now carried the burden of a big black “X”. The gravestone of a buried day. The screams of drunken teenage skiers pierced the quiet dead cold night. I tied on the desk lit by a tiny lamp in the ancient hotel room. “The Usual” seemed to be the bug of bugs this winter season. The more I tied, the more i grew tired. My winter gear was in the laundry below the party. No sleep, the gear will find new legs.

The morning began and i was off to a late start so I figured, “why not do some fact finding at a local shop?” After shopping for a few, I saw it. My new fishing buddy. The one that would be with me for the rest of my life, the one to talk to me when I’m feeling lonely, the one to pick me up when I’m down. “The One” Who says you can’t buy love? Some may call me a sellout, Nate, John T. In my defence, I’ve had my old rod for the past 15 or so years. Time for a new one, and Nate, you have broken more 100 dollar rods in your life than this one cost.

When I finally made it up the Taylor, it was -8 degrees. Some may say that is too cold for fishing, but they were rising. The One was at home fishing with me, it new it’s fate. Since then, The One and I have…

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Caught Blue River brutes,

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11 Mile maniacs,

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Crystal River crazies,

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Frying Pan-handlers,

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And participated in the g-town beat-down.

Also, not pictured was a natural tiger trout and some other assorted very large fish. The One was also with me when… I slid down the side of a mountain, was sucked into a river, almost broke my leg and hand and arm (all different occasions), nearly froze to death, attacked by bees and ants, and nearly struck by lightning.

This is what you have been missing and I apologize for the stories that I couldn’t tell, but today begins a new beginning. A very exciting and fun beginning. I’m ready? Are you?


The Best Bad Good Day Ever

Recently Sanders and I made a trip to one of the most fishy looking rivers on the planet Earth. The South Platte. To me, fishy is technical, confusing, and incredibly hard to fish. Just my style. Fishing isn’t really fun unless you work at it. This day was that very definition of the word fun. It was the best bad good day a person could have. Good: Watching healthy fish feed in every seam. Bad: Well, I guess that deserves a story.

The day started early with a phone call that I thought was my alarm. It was Sanders, I answered.

Me: Hello?

Sanders: You ready?

Me: (thinking Sanders was lost in my part of town trying to get directions) Where are you?

Sanders: In front of your house.

Me: What time is it?

Sanders: 6:00 am

Me: Shit! I’ll be out there in a minute.

As I scurried out the door trailing my boots, bag, and fly rod behind me I thought that even the best good bad days ever begin with a hitch, right? My hair was matted down from the pillow and there were creases in my face from sleep. It’s ok when you are fishing. I guess that applies when I’m not at work. It was cold in the morning. In the rush, it went unnoticed. Before I knew it we were off. Then again, maybe I didn’t know. I hadn’t yet fully awakened. To the gas station for crullers and coffee! Closed. Ok, to the river!

If I remember correctly it was in the teens. That’s too cold for fishing. Not because it is hard to endure, but because of line freeze. Being from New Mexico, I know cold. It is a place where fishing in the morning is a pipe dream with days that start from 0 and go up from there into the 50’s. Here, it’s just cold. All day. That canyon never saw 35 that day.

When we peeled ourselves from the warm car to greet the river I was chilled to the bone. Must have been 33 degrees. I’m not cold when the temps drop below 33 or when they are above 35 or so, but when it is in the 30’s woah nellie. We gawked at the river and the fish that were crowded therein. I walked along the ice that had collected on the waters edge. I had forgotten to bring the studded soles and was slipping around in the snow and ice. I felt like a child. I knew at some point it would give way, and it did. I’m glad I was wearing waders. I was ecstatic that the water was only knee deep. Hiking over snow covered boulders where the river was impassible was impossible. This is what I needed. Punishment. Punishment for a prior skunking. After wetting the lines in a few pools and coming up with nothing, I was only left with hope. Then, when we least expected it, success!

All of the time driving was worth it. Enduring the cold, worth it. Falling through the ice, worth it. Scrambling out of the house, worth it. Sanders stealing my glasses and holding them hostage, worth… Wait, that wasn’t really worth it. A day with a good friend and a few fish in the cold is the best bad good day I can think of.

Lesson 17: Test ice before walking on it. You never know how deep the water really is.