NO ONE IS ACTUALLY FROM HERE
Like a lot of folks I’ve met here in Washington state I’m not originally from the PNW. I grew up in the woods of New Hampshire. I went to school and met my wife in Boston, and now we are raising our daughter here in Olympia. Family (both blood and found) have always been really important to me.
Visiting the East Coast doesn’t happen as frequently as we might like, so we typically end up making one or two jam packed excursions to see our friends and family each year. This year was no different, but it was a lot more exciting than usual. For many of my friends and relatives it was the first time hearing about Trxstle. It was their first time meeting our one year old daughter. And, it was my first time fly fishing the East coast.
“This year was no different, but it was a lot more exciting than usual…”
I should probably start with a bit of history. Fly fishing is an activity I didn’t pick up until I met my friend, and now business partner, John. As a kid, I used to bait fish all the time when we went camping but it was never more than just goofing off. In a similar fashion, John hadn’t had the opportunity to pilot a legit mountain bike. John had used his dated, but capable, bike to get him in to streams and rivers beyond closed forest service gates. This being the case, we traded. John had me reeling in 12″ rainbows on a 3wt while wading up a slot canyon after a 3 mile bushwhack in the middle of Summer. It was some of the best time I’ve spent outdoors and it had me hooked. Later that Fall, I introduced John to lift serviced riding at Stevens Pass.
Bringing it back home
On this trip I scheduled a simple day of fishing with my Cousin, Cam, on a local river about 20 minutes from my Mom’s place. It’s a well known spot just a few minutes outside of Troy, NH. It couldn’t have been a more perfect spot. The entrance to the dead end service road leading to the river was framed by a giant stone train trestle. It was overcast and drizzling and we estimated it wasn’t long until it would really open up.
On top of leaving my waders behind, I neglected to pack a rain coat and the only appropriate footwear available were my running shoes. I wasn’t about to let that stop me so we went for it anyways. Long story short, we had a tough time convincing any of the fish our flies were real. After a relaxing couple hours trying to catch fish while taking pictures of the ages old road infrastructure, we called it.
“After a relaxing couple hours trying to catch fish while taking pictures of the ages old road infrastructure, we called it”
Then there were bikes
The third leg of my family’s trip landed us in Boston. Old friends? Check. Barbecue? Check. New brewery products to try? Check. Best of all: mountain bikes? Check! The tight knit bike community in Boston never disappoints a wayward son. Myself and three of my closest friends crammed into a car laden with bikes and got in a solid 10 mile ride on some new-to-me single track. It’s been a busy year so this was the first time I’d ridden in a while. Leave it to your old friends and a borrowed 1998 stump jumper to remind you why you love mountain biking. It will certainly put you back in the swing of things.
The people and places are as important as the activity
It’s easy to reminisce about places we’ve been, but fly fishing has given me the chance to explore my familiar old home with new eyes. Taking new hobbies to places we’ve been changes our perception of them and makes them new again. This is the first time I’ve stopped to explore a river I’ve driven by hundreds of times. More importantly, it was the first time I’d ever been fishing with family. Fly fishing gave us a reason to spend and afternoon hanging out and catching up. We talked about our plans for the future and wondered who actually did catch all the fish in that river.
In sort of the reverse way, mountain biking, something I’ve done for a long time, helps me maintain a connection to the people and places I love. While our hobbies keep us sane and let us escape from every day tasks, they also create space for bonds to form. New hobbies for new bonds and old hobbies to maintain them. When I find a connection I need to renew this Summer my first thought will be to lend that person a bike and a fly rod and head to the woods.