A year ago this week, I made a trip to my childhood home in Vermont to try and capture several stories for publication. For the next seven days I will be sharing photos and short snippets from that week. So much has changed in my life in the last 18-months that I have simply not had a chance to dig into these stories and start writing and submitting them. Therefore, these will be the first glimpses of some of the events that occurred over the five-day stretch I spent near the Canadian border. I had fully intended to go back this summer, but COVID put an end to those plans. My parents may be moving to Florida this year, so the trip may have been my last trip "home".
First, I wrote an article in March of 2020 for On The Water about a huge trout I caught with my friend Jordan when I was a kid. That story was inspired by the photo you are looking at here.
I had just arrived in Vermont after the long drive north, and had stopped in at my friends pizza place (Stones Throw of Vermont). The shop was absolutely packed, and Silas and Tyler (my best friends from High School) couldn’t even take 30 seconds to come greet me. They looked weary and overwhelmed, and I decided to take my leave and come back after they closed, so we could catch up.
I decided to head down to the falls I used to fish, which I haven’t even been near for at least 10-years. I figured I’d just mess around and see if I could take any interesting photos. I tried driving down the access road we used to use as kids, but it was not how I remembered and I had to carefully back out before I got stuck. I then parked on the side of the road and grabbed my ultra-light 5-ft spinning rod and clipped on a tiny gold kastmaster, and headed down the path. I chose the spinning rod for nostalgia's sake.
I had no intention on catching anything- the water being so low and warm- but I ended up catching this beautiful brown trout in the same pool I caught that massive brown some 20 years before. And, just like in the story, this trout also succumbed to the fight, and it was a mixed moment of pleasure and sadness, just like all those years before (although, this time around I ate the fish). It felt so oddly familiar and I was almost dizzy from déjà vu. The inspiration for the article cited above came immediately, and I just sat down on a huge boulder, took in the rushing river, and thought about that day so long ago. Once it was full dark, I headed back to the car, and quickly recorded my a few thoughts in my phone. I then went to my parents house and cleaned the fish in the dark, before returning to my friends pizza shop, where we drank homemade dandelion and spruce liquor, and talked of the old days.
To date, A Bike, a Bucket, and a Brown is one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written.