It seems to me that today’s kids have so many distractions in the forms of video games, internet, cell phones (hell this list could go on and on) that they are missing out on the simple pleasures of life. I have a 14 year old son that is completely and absolutely obsessed with football, and from overhearing him now and again I suspect a girl named Trinity fits in that list of priorities somewhere. The past few years I have been working diligently to get him to go out with me so I could share some of my passions with him. He’s a teenager and I understand he has other priorities, so I don’t push too hard which leads to me getting stood up a lot, but every now and again he joins me for a day behind the dogs, or wet wading the Arkansas River casting stimulators to brown trout, and when he does, I truly believes he enjoys it. It may not be nearly as fun as playing football with the neighborhood kids, or as exciting as texting girls at odd hours of the night, but I think he enjoys it and I sincerely hope that I am teaching him that enjoying life’s simple pleasures can often be one of the most pleasurable things there is.
I’ll give you an example… My son was recently gifted a nice little TFO 5wt and reel because he had slowly been showing an interest in fly fishing with me. Conveniently I was just introduced to a pretty nice little mountain creek that isn’t too far from home that would allow us to be able to fish the morning and yet he could still be home in time to play football or text Trinity. Perfect for a little day excursion… We set a date for Saturday morning and when the day came he was almost excited as I was. We have had quite a bit of rain the past few weeks and most of the water around us is pretty stained and fast so I thought this creek might be a good idea as it is tail water and is usually clear when the other local water isn’t. However when we arrived at the creek it was quickly obvious that they were letting water out of the dam that feeds this particular stretch of water, and the creek was far from fishable. I was extremely disappointed because I REALLY wanted today to be the day that fired up his interest in fly fishing, but the creek was very muddy and most likely dangerous to wade.
Not being one to give up easily I suggested that perhaps we walk along the trails that border the creek and scout out pools to fish once the water cleared. To my surprise he quickly agreed and we immediately set out hiking up the creek for a good 3 miles or so taking pictures, and keeping track of pools that we thought we would be productive once the water cleared. We walked along just talking and enjoying one another’s company. The subjects ranged from Lewis and Clark to Broncos football and a whole myriad of subjects in between. We had been walking for a bit when he suggested that we stop and build a small campfire and cook the hotdogs that we had brought along to cook for lunch. I selected a nice shaded spot under a cedar just a few yards from the bank of the creek as location for lunch, and I set him about the task of finding a few rocks while I dug a small hole in the soft sandy soil that would serve as our fire pit. Next I had him make a small fire ring around the shallow hole I had dug, and set him out to find an assortment of small sticks and larger sticks to feed our fire. Once he had everything we needed for our fire, I pulled the waterproof matches and a bit of fire starter from my pack and showed him how make a teepee out of the sticks and before long we had a small fire going that would be perfect for roasting hot dogs.
For the next hour we just sat in the shade and listened to noise of the creek as it rushed by on its way to join the Arkansas River just a few miles from where we sat and enjoyed one charred hotdog after another until we were both full and content. Afterwards we continued to feed our little fire and watched in silence as the little flames jumped and danced with the slight changes in the wind. It didn’t take long till the little fire had consumed all of our offerings and it was time to pack up and head back to the truck for the ride home. I showed him my method for putting out a fire which just simply consists of wetting the coals with water from the creek, then adding a layer of soil, more water, and finally one more layer of soil. The rocks were returned to their original locations and I explained to him that we should always try to leave nature as we found it. The conversation back to the truck was nothing but plans when to do this again and I couldn’t have been happier…