My return to work was chaotic to say the least. With the dawning of a new regional contractor came added reports and increased responsibilities and accountability's. In typical fashion little to no direction or communication accompanied my inheritance. To say my work week was busy would be a tremendous understatement and the weekend was before me in the blink of an eye. I knew little of the current river conditions nor did I care. What I did know was that I needed to get to the cabin for a couple of days of the good life.
It was raining when I left home and continued to do so most of the way. As an after thought while merging on to I-75 I decided to check the weather network forecast via my blackberry. I was surprised to learn I was driving into what would prove to be the snowstorm of the year. The storm was of little concern to me as I seemed to have had a good jump on it and was most likely going to end up blown out of proportion by the God fearing media. I decided to shoot JBR a quick text to see if he wanted to hook up for a few drifts on the weekend. He was quick to reply with intentions of hunkering down for the storm that was already wreaking havoc on Traverse City. The remainder of my journey found undesirable road conditions but carried out uneventfully with patience. I settled in at the cabin with morning plans of shoveling, plumbing, and an afternoon river session.
I awoke early Saturday morning to a winter wonderland. The storm had dumped about 7-8" of heavy wet snow in the Wellston area. The trees were over weighted and bowed under the heavy load. The road to the cabin was blocked with bent snow laden trees and the entire scene was beautifully surreal. There was a calm sense of peace and tranquility and for a brief moment it was as if time stood still. The utter silence was occasionally broken buy random tree limbs succumbing to the heavy burden of snow throughout the forest. Fortunately for me my plow guy managed to manipulate the maze of fallen trees on the road in and arrived to clear out my lane. We chatted briefly and he informed me of increased snowfalls to the north and vast power outages throughout the North-West portion of the state. We parted ways and I got to my morning chores with optimistic visions of a deserted river for my afternoon session.
Finally the time had come and I eagerly donned my gear and made the drive to the river access. There were minor tell-tale signs of morning traffic but arriving to her banks I was pleased to have the place to myself. The storm system was still upon us and snow continued to fall and accumulate as I fished. JBR had informed me of an estimated 16" on the ground in Traverse with further accumulations underway. As expected the fishing was tough and aside from frozen feet and a nasty chill I had only a couple shakers and one blown opportunity to show for my efforts. With grand expectations of Brethern's finest pizza for dinner I made the hike out of the river valley. Little did I know the storm had knocked out the phone and electricity in Brethren and the store was closed. After a late impromptu chicken bacon nacho dinner and some BL's I was soon off to bed.
Sunday morning came quick and along with it a cold bite in the air. The evening temps dropped and was evident by the multitude of ice sickles lining the front porch. I decided right then and there that I would not be fishing this morning but would spend a leisurely morning on the couch with my laptop, WFN, and the trusty Woodstove. Visions of fumbling around the river in the biting cold fighting frozen guides and aching feet were definitely not on my radar. This lasted for about two hours until I found inspiration from Dave Mercer, Pete Mainia and the now blue skies and melting ice sickles observed outside the front windows. The storm system had passed and the late morning sun was warming things up nicely. I knew there was a strong probability that things would take a turn for the better on the river and I owed it to myself to put forth the effort to validate this suspicion.
Once again I geared up and made my way to the access. The well beaten trail spoke to the morning traffic but again I arrived to a lonely shoreline. For the next two hours I was repeatedly reminded why it's imperative to get to the river after a storm front blows through. The fishing was outstanding and in the blink of an eye I had managed more quality fish than any one man deserves. Certainly a gift and reward for the prior days struggles and certainly a reminder to follow ones instincts.
On a side note the HeroDrifter Loafers ran well. The killer high vis orange target is a God send for my aging eyes. With some minor tweaks we just might be on to something special.