Skip to content

Fly Fishing Alone in Alaska

June 10, 2019

I was very young when I started to Fly fish, it must have been when I was around 12 years old. My family had property right at the Avenue of the Giants, an area that is in many car commercials today. I’m sure you have seen the area, the slick new cars rolling through the giant redwoods, it is located in southern humboldt county California. Every summer on the last day of school in Eureka,  my Mom would pick my sister’s and I up from St Bernards and we would head south, the ford station wagon, filled to the brim with everything that would fit , including our collie, “Cheers”. During my childhood every summer we spent at our “ranch”, it wasn’t a ranch in the sense of having cattle, even though there were always a few head owned by our caretaker. But, a quarter section in the heart of the Redwoods, more of a family resort, with many cousins with cottages spread out around the heart of the property. The swimming pool was the meeting spot for everyone it was the center of all activity, the Moms in their one piece swim suits, and the kids in and out of the pool all day long. The Dads were off working  until the weekends, then it was a full house.

Our property , named “Englewood”, bordered the famous Eel River. Known for its great Salmon and Steelhead runs, the Eel when I was young was a premier river, anglers from all over use to come and fish winter Steelhead. For good reason, the runs were tremendous, and very large Steelhead were caught usually around Christmas.

My fishing started during the summer months, young steelies, a big fish was around 12 inches, and if one was lucky, he might land one up to 17-18 inches. This usually took place in the Fall, when the “half pounder ” run starts. But, practice makes perfect, and I worked hard at getting the technique of the down and across, covering water, I did this all summer.

I might have been 13 years young when I started to get more serious during the summer and Fall of that year. I remember becoming interested in the different types of flies, and walking the mile or so to the general store in Redcrest California. Here they sold patterns tied by some locals, and some from Japan that were very bright colored. I don’t remember the prices, but if my memory is close, the local flies were around .75 cents, and the Japanese flies were around .50 cents. These were almost all “wet flies”.

That winter I was given Ray Bergmans , “Trout “. I use to study the plates of different flies, fascinated with the colors and different styles of fly patterns. It was the basic down and across cast , swinging flies, and covering the water. One fall one of my uncles knew I was fishing quite a bit, and asked if I would like to walk down to the river and wet some flies. He had heard that the half ponder run had started and that some other folks were having good luck. So, down the hill we went, My uncle Ed wasn’t quite set up upon arrival, so he was streamside getting organized, when I hooked into one of the real “half ponders”. This fish wasn’t the summer parr, but a ocean going steelhead. It was moving through the water so fast I could barely hang on, but hang on I did. The line got got on itself so the reel would not spin, I remember the fish wanting to run despite the reel not functioning, and trying to get away,  it ran itself right up on the gravel beach, where is  flopped and jumped non stop. I thought this is my fish, so I dropped the rod and ran the 30 yards or so to pounce on the beached steelie. Just before I reached the sand covered trout, it worked its way back into the river, my line and rod following behind. I jumped into the cold water and just in time to get ahold of my fly rod before it reached the deeper part of the river. I turned to see my Uncle Ed reaction to the large trout, only to find him on the ground, rolling and laughing so hard his face was completely red, he had tears rolling down his face, my guess is that just a bit of pee may have been leaked into his waders as well. I landed the fish, it was the largest trout I had ever landed, well, I was only 13, so I felt pretty good about the whole ordeal.

As a teenager, I fished  mainly the Eel River, but , once I had my drivers license, I started to expand my horizons. And, I was able to drive out and fish the lower Eel River during the winter months outside of Fortuna and Ferndale. and drive out and fish the Mad river outside of the town of Arcata and Blue Lake. During the summers when I got older, we started to hike in the Trinity Alps just to the East of Eureka, about half way to the town of Redding. There are nice streams to fish in the Alps, but the main attraction are the alpine lakes. Here are very willing planted trout  that do not know the difference  from  a Japanese fluorescent  fly, or a local, match the hatch fly tied for that month of the year, for that specific lake, they just eat whatever looks good to them.

After high school, I attended the University of Gonzaga, just for one year. I thought I would maybe play basketball there. At that time, GU was not the power house they are today, it was a program that was struggling, this was 1975, before John Stockman, he was playing at Gonzaga Prep, and fast becoming well know for his ball handling, and tough defense. Johns father owned the local beer pub , the “bulldog”, in which I spent more that a few hours consuming beverage. Johns father asked me if I was going to play for GU, and I told him I was on the fence because they had already used all their scholarships, and they wanted me to start out with the freshman team. The varsity players were asking me to play, telling me that I could really help them out, but the coaching staff wanted me to cut my hair, no scholarship, and starting with the freshman team. This was not very appealing so, I passed on playing. I knew that I was in Spokane for only one year.

That summer three friends and I went up to Canada to camp and fish. One of my friends borrowed his Moms station wagon, so we loaded it up with gear, and headed north. The plan was to see Banff and maybe go further North. We drove onto the outskirts of Calgary, where we could see a good sized river, the Bow. We knew nothing about this river, it was 1975, when we approached the overlook above the Bow, we were horrified to find washing machines, car bodies, all sorts of garbage in this very nice looking river. The man who was helping us getting gas asked, “so, did you guys come here to fish the Bow river’? He could see our Fly rods in the very back, we were all speechless, we couldn’t tell if this Canadian was trying to pull one over on the yanks, or what. So, we replied, “No, we came to fish the pristine waters of Banff”, now the gas attendant  was speechless. He finally blurted out,  this Bow river is the best river for trout in the entire country”. We laughed and told him thank you, but we are heading for Banff, I’m sure we made his day.

In 1976 I went to the University of Santa Clara, this is my fathers and both sisters alma mater. I was trying to attend Colorado State.  When I arrived at the university, my transcripts were not transferred from Gonzaga, and I could not start until the 2nd semester, so, my parents told me that I could attend Santa Clara. Just down the road Bill Gates was working in a garage making his first prototype computer, yes, it is a good neighborhood. Stanford University was just down the road as well, but, not much in the way of fishing , and I was looking forward to transferring to the university of Montana, trout u.

That summer I did get out and did hike a few times in Trinity Alps, and got to fish a bit, it felt so good to be out of the city environment, and back in the Trinity Alps. In the fall I drove up to the town of Missoula Montana and started at the University Of Montana. I will never forget the drive up, especially the last 100 miles. I decide to take the route up along the Clearwater River and the Lochsa River. It was just one of those blue bird fall days, clear as a bell, not a cloud in the sky, warm , but not hot. I had a Toyota Land Cruiser, with a soft top which was down, to take in the smells, the views, and the sun. It was stunning, it is etched into my brain forever. The vibrant fall colors that adorn the hillsides above the crystal clear Lochsa River, and the ultra blue sky above made for a goose bump ride for 100 miles. This area is true wilderness, the largest wild area in the lower 48 states. In the fall the tamarack trees turn orange, so you have the red, orange and dark green all together along the mountains above the river, it is quite something to see.

While attending the U of M, my fishing skills quickly increased, I had friends that were good Fly Fishermen, and we all learned together, helping each other with what ever we knew. Right through the campus, the Clark Fork river flowed clean and strong, and back in 1977 that stretch of water had very fine fishing. We use to bring our rods to class in the afternoons, so we could walk down to the river and catch the afternoon hatch. I remember one afternoon, the river was low, and clear, before runoff., there was a hatch of Pale Morning Duns, it was late afternoon, and fish were rising pretty hard. A buddy had given me a few yellow soft hackles, in a size 16, his instructions were to fish down and across. Well, I knew this technique better than most, so this was completely natural to me. My third cast I hooked a very strong trout, it was difficult to land because of the huge rocks along the shoreline, but, I did manage to get the fatty in and I killed him. The hatch seemed to have stopped abruptly, so , I took my huge trout , placed it in the basket on the front of my  bicycle, and rode home with the tail of the brute hanging way over the basket. On the ride home people were pointing  and smiling at what must have seemed  very funny to most, a guy, riding his bike with in one hand his fly rod, and a huge trout sticking out of his basket.

 

Advertisements

Driving on the Other Side ( Part 33)

April 23, 2016

The Ford Taurus follows a shady, curvy, rough road,  that after hours finally arrives at a small parking lot parallel to a weed infested spring creek. The creek flows through a small canyon, heavily forested,  with steep canyon walls that allow limited direct sunlight. During the mid-day sunlight, which lasts for close to 4-5 hours, the terrestrial insect life is extremely active. Grasshoppers, Beetles, Ants, and Cicadas are flying, jumping and crawling everywhere. The boys arrived just at the start of the activity, late morning. Mark exits the Ford to stretch and take in the beauty of the moment. ” My goodness, what a fine day”, exclaims Mark has he moves toward the weed-choked creek. Billy moves toward the back of Fish mobile to start assembling rods, waders and selecting flies for the fishing session. Billy ask, “so, how long would you like to fish Mark, we shouldn’t stay too long, the girls are going to be way ahead of us”.  Mark replies, ” Well Billy, we have only a few hours, after the sun goes behind the mountains, it’s over, these bugs need the heat of the rays to keep them moving. I’d say three hours should be plenty if it’s like it usually fishes. What you want to start with is a good size hopper, like a #10, or #8, and they are not picky about what hopper you use, they see very few flies”. From the parking lot, Bender makes a long cast into the middle of a short riffle. Just as the imitation grasshopper hits the surface of the creek, it disappears, Billy is running creekside trying to control a golden, heavily black spotted brown trout that is trying to break him off in the weeds. Mark saw the take, ” nice fish dude, the first cast, oh man, this is going to be fun, they are on today, came from Mark standing just above the “Gin Clear” creek.

nz spring creek

The girls are traveling slowly, not in a hurry at all, stopping to take photos on this fine sunny morning. They see a small “to go” restaurant that serves, grilled cheese and pineapple sandwiches, lamb chops, deep fried, and the specialty, garlic chips( fries) with an assortment of deep-fried fish, snapper, clams, etc…The man behind the counter who looked like Beetle Bailey was dressed in white from head to toe, even wore a white apron, over his white shirt and white trousers. His head was adorned with a white paper hat, regulations, keeping it all legal. ” what’ you have lasses”, came from the cartoon character’s unshaven face. Kelly still a bit high from earlier, stares at the blue lettered (of course on white) menu that is perched just above the head of the owner. Jane was first to order, ” it all looks so good, wow, I’ll have the lamb chops, garlic chips, and a chocolate shake”. Mr. clean from behind the counter shouts, ” I knew it, Yanks, I could tell by the way you dress, different clothes you know, even knew before you opened your mouths”. The two looks at each other, simultaneously say, ” busted”, then, both bend over laughing way harder than they should. Kelly orders the grilled cheese and pineapple, with of course the garlic chips, and 50/50  apple /orange drink. Back in the car and headed North, Jane pulls out the pipe once again. They both break into, ” back on the road again, neither can carry a tune and right now, don’t care.

Billy went upstream, Mark headed down, they were to return at 2:00 pm at the parking lot. Bender was focused, changing flies to see what the trout wouldn’t eat, rather than what they would, the fishing was incredible. After landing four fish, all over four pounds, Bender took the hopper off and wanted to experiment with smaller flies, he put on a size #14 red ant. Walking up the bank Billy stared at the water looking for any sign of a rising trout, it didn’t take long. On his side of the creek, ten yards upstream, he spots a small nose protruding through the surface film. About two feet from shore, and feeding whenever anything went over him. In a small depression, with a smooth current, Bender watched the nose appear on a regular cadence. The bank was grassy, about a foot in height, in places overhanging the creek. Billy always fishes with extra long leaders, 15-17 footers, depending on the wind, usually down to 5x, but with the weed growth of the Spring Creek, Bender elects to fish with 4x to give himself a chance of landing a large Trout. Bender had no idea the size of the trout in pursuit, but he was thinking it maybe was in the 6lb category. The first cast is perfect, it lands around two feet above the nose, and floats downstream without moving. The nose turns into a large mouth, has it inhales the #14 Red Ant, Bender sets the hook, and all hell breaks loose. Airborne is a 30+ inch Brown Trout, bending, and slashing, gills flaring, as the beast rose two feet above the surface, it’s an image that Billy will never forget. As it lands on its side, it quickly shakes itself to reality, and heads into the thickest weed clump in the immediate area, and is free once again.

It was a longish walk back to the parking lot for Bender, shaking his head the whole way, trying to figure out just what he could have done to land the golden beast. Mark was back at the car waiting, ” hey man we better hit the road, or we will never catch those two women”, Billy looks up at the sound of Marks’ voice, to catch himself, and try to quit thinking of what had occurred. Mark, ” That was epic, dude did you get some, what was your largest? Whoa, they were on today, never seen it so good here” Bender just smiled as he put everything back in the Ford, not saying a word. Mark was persistent, ” come on man, what happened, you must have hooked a monster, didn’t you? I hooked into some real pigs, landed five fish that were from 5lbs to 8lbs being the largest, what the hell did you hook into?” Billy smiled and said, ” it’s a long drive, I’ll tell you all about it, but you’re right, we need to get going”

It’s late afternoon as the two ladies decide to wait for Billy and Mark at a Pub, they don’t want to get too far ahead. They spot a light brown colored sign that reads DB, and they both decide this is their favorite beer in New Zealand, so it just made sense to wait for them here. The pub had rooms as well, it can be seen from the road, they both say in perfect unison, ” spot on”. Kelly and Jane get plastered, have a pub Tea, or dinner, and pass out before 8:00 pm. The boys catch up around 9:30, find both gals snoring, re-enter the pub to tell fishing stories and drink until it closes. Billy turns to Mark as they head off to bed and says, ” that was the largest Trout I have ever seen, it won, I’ll never forget the jump”. I think I’m done fishing this trip, I’m going to see if Jane wants to head to Fiji a few days earlier, I’m ready to start the Honeymoon.” Mark replies, ” I don’t blame you, that is one fine gal you’re going to be calling your wife, you’re a lucky man Billy Bender”.

Billy and Jane spend a week on a private Island in Fiji, Billy splurges and takes Jane to Turtle Island. Its just Billy, Jane, and a Butler, who is out of sight and appears only on command, to bring them anything their hearts desire, at anytime day or night.

images Fiji

 

After their week in Paradise, Jane returns to Denver to packs up and move to Great Falls Montana, to live out the rest of her days as Mrs. Jane Bender, and to become a legend at Century 21. Becoming the top sales agent in the entire Northern Rockies.

Kelly and Mark spend a week together traveling around the Northern part of New Zealand. Kelly’s extended vacation comes to an end, and she returns to work back in Denver for Century 21. Mark goes to Hawaii for another week, before heading back to Montana to get ready for another guiding season on the rivers of Montana.

Billy returns to Great Falls and quits working for DA Davidson, much to everyone’s surprise. He becomes a full-time fishing guide on the Mighty Missouri River, running into Mark a couple of times a month. They both plan a return trip to New Zealand, with the southern Spring Creek high on their list, Billy cannot forget that big trout who got the better of him, he will return.

 

THE END

Driving On The Other Side ( Part 32 )

March 8, 2015

It was early when Bender awoke to find the drapes lightly blowing, with each movement, allowing the numbing cold air into the room. Billy moved toward the source of the winter like a culprit, while shutting the tall, narrow, tinted glass window, he was paralyzed by the beauty of a full, brilliantly white setting moon. The surface of the entire lake glimmered, one side was brilliantly illuminated, in complete contrast directly across the side of the Mountains were in total blackness. There was a bite in the air for a fine summer evening, the winds coming off the glaciers from the west, then across the enormous Lake, to hit the window where Billy is staring out, contemplating how his life just did a 180* in less than a few days, in a foreign country, at the bottom of the planet.

188431_1747188034216_1074246236_31880769_1562543_n

As the moon fell, the sun was just starting to rise, it was a perfect passing of light. Bender felt fortunate, the love of his life will now be his life partner, in addition, he was reinstated at work, plus, he had two more weeks to Fly Fish, a week in New Zealand, and a week in Fiji. Oh, and he just flashed on, the fact that he will be on a constant Honeymoon with the most fun, beautiful, sexist, woman he had ever met. Billy watched Jane sleep, first from across the room, then he laid next to her, moving her blonde hair off to the side so he could lightly kiss her cheek, forehead, and the top of her head. It wasn’t Jane’s best moment, after three days of hiking, sleeping on the ground, she was exhausted, not to mention last nights feast, and, way too many drinks. One of the world true beauties was dead to the world, simi snoring, mouth wide open, drooling onto her oversized ultra white pillow. Billy thought she looked as beautiful as any women he’d ever seen, he absolutely loved her.

Next door Kelly couldn’t sleep, Montana Mark was cutting z’s as loud as she had ever heard, and Kelly’s ex-husband was a famous snorer. She got up and took a hot shower, packed her bags, then needed some coffee and a light breakfast. Bender was sitting at the far end of the dining room at a table for four, drinking coffee, in his mind, planning the day. Kelly approached, “Good Morning,  Janie still sleeping?” Bender, ” Good Morning Kelly, yes,  Janie is out like a light, what a fun time last night !”.  Kelly, ” I’ll say, congrats on finally making an honest woman of Jane, you know she was ready to pop”.  The two eat breakfast and decided that Bender and Montana Mark will travel together,  the girls will drive the land Cruzer and meet them at the top of the South Island in the town of Nelson. This way, the girls can complete their original plan on doing everything together, since Kelly was nice enough to pay for the entire trip, Jane felt an obligation with her co/worker/good friend. Billy and Montana Mark, who both love to Fly Fish, can do what they want, and fish their way up to Nelson.

A few hours later everyone was up, packed, and ready to start the journey North. Jane and Kelly in the Land Cruzer, and behind them in the fish mobile, ( Taurus Station wagon) Montana Mark and Billy brought up the rear. Jane, ” I’m glad we will be together for the last week of our trip, you know, I have a lot of questions about being married, and you, recently divorced, who better to ask”. Kelly, ” well girl, ask away, we have nothing but time”. Jane opens the glove box to find the pipe and just a small amount of the redbud that was left over from the trip down. Jane, ” Oh goodie, there is plenty for us to get really stoned, this will be a blast, after last night, I need this, after the long hike and last night, I’m a little beat up, this is just what the DR ordered”. Montana Mark exclaims, ” Bender, look man, the girls are getting stoned, I could really use a few hits to ease off this hangover, let’s pull them over”. Billy, ” Mark don’t worry”, and opens the armrest on the right side of the driver’s seat. Inside is a half ounce of big, fat, long, green buds with Red hairs, that are completely covered with a fine white dusting. Montana Mark, ” wow, that’s just a beautiful vision, my friend”. Mark loaded a small pipe,  the cab of the rental car filled with the smell of sweet smoke, the occupants took turns, then Bender said, ” Mark, lets fish, I’m into it, do you have any spots near here, it’s the perfect time of the day”. Mark, ” you know, there is a Spring Creek, not too far from here and, it’s on the way, nice big browns”. Bender, ” Nice, let me know where, and when we are getting close, we should tell the girls, let’s pull them over”. As the light blue ford catches up to the Land Cruzer, Mark motioned the girls to pull over and they do. Just as the four arrive at Lake Wanaka, there is a split in the road. Highway 6 heads to the west coast, and Highway 8 heads over to the East coast  After the girls get the info, they say see’ya and keep going North-East. The boys take a left ( West) and head toward this secret Spring creek, that has huge brown trout that like to eat hoppers and cicadas…..

Driving On The Other Side ( Part 31 )

March 7, 2015

The Sun has started to set, the brilliant colors radiating and reflecting off the distant mountains, and illuminating the newly converted “honeymoon suite”. Purple, red, and orange elongated rays pierce the windows that look out over the emerald green Queenstown Lake, it is the magic hour of a long day for everyone. Bender enters the master bedroom after a long, hot shower to see Jane stretched out, atop of ultra white sheets, moving her honey blonde hair behind her right ear, so she can stare in disbelief over her stunning, shiny, new ring.  Bender, ” my god girl, you look unbelievable”, Jane turns toward the bathroom to find Billy drying off with an extra large, fluffy, light blue towel. Jane takes turns looking first at her ring, then back at Bender, then back at her ring, she sighs and says, ” Billy Bender, you have made me the happiest girl in New Zealand, thank you, Billy, thank you for everything!” Bender bends down, a drop of water from Billy’s wet hair lands just above Janie’s Bellybutton on the flat part of her stomach. Jane asks playfully, ” are you going to lick that off of me?” Then she laughs, and leans back, opening up to invite Bender in. Billy is excited, he leans in and licks the droplet from her belly button, moves north kissing his way until he finally finds Jane’s warm, welcoming, wet mouth. He kisses his new bride soft and long, their tongues dancing and darting, their lips barely touching. Then Jane spots the red illuminated numbers on the digital clock that read 7:35, “Oh shit we are going to be late” exclaims the honey blonde. Billy jumps up and says,” you’d better get in that shower”

queenstown

The view from the table overlooking the lake was stunning, the two couples were in an unusually cheerful mood, everything was perfect. Drinks arrived, and Bender stands to make a small speech, ” today I asked Jane to marry me, and I feel like the luckiest man in the world, Jane said yes”. Clapping came from the other end of the table with Kelly and Mark jumping up to congratulate Billy and Jane.” Wow dude nice, good for you ” came from Montana Mark, Kelly broke into tears and hugged Jane, “Oh baby you deserve this so much, you waited so long, I’m so happy for both of you”. Jane with her arm outstretched, and her hand pointing toward the ceiling proudly displayed her new acquisition. Kelly, ” it’s gorgeous, wow, that is just striking, beautiful, very tasteful,” came from the recently divorced tall, thin Redhead.  Billy and Mark gave each other a guy hug off to the side, and congratulation was complete. Bender announces that there is a set menu, and everything has already been arranged, there will be a five-course meal and he hopes that everyone will be satisfied.

During the first course of fresh oysters, cocktail sauce and a fresh lemon wedge, the question came from Kelly, ” so, what’s the plan, what now, we have one week left before having to fly out of Auckland, what do you think?” Jane asks, ” So Mark, what are your plans? Do you have to be anyplace soon? In which Mark replies, Janie, no, I have three more months here in New Zealand, then I’m planning on spending a month in Fiji, then back to Montana, and back to work. Kelly looks at Mark like he is an alien and says, “wow, now that is a vacation dude, I’m so jealous, nice!” The second course arrives,  golden brown grilled lobster, ( Crayfish, the locals call them bugs”) Billy pipes in and says, ” I found out two days ago that I was reinstated at work, thank god, but my vacation is over on Jan. 5. That gives me two weeks before I have to be back. I was thinking we could drive both cars north to Auckland, Kelly you can fly back and Jane and I can spend a week in Fiji on the return”.

Everyone is famished and the food just seems to disappear, The rest of the meal, consisted of a beautiful fresh green salad, grilled lamb chops, and a grilled red snapper. After the long hike, drinks, and lovemaking, this group ate quite a bit of food. After dinner, drinks and coffee and one portion of fresh peach cobbler a la mode ( shared by all ), completed the feast. Jane outdid herself and announced that she cannot move a muscle and if Billy could carry her to the honeymoon suite. Kelly turned and smiled at Montana Mark  and asked, ” You ready for round three big boy?” As all four patrons stare out of the window toward the lake, lights of the Village of Queenstown, sparkle like the small diamonds on Janie’s new ring. The three hikers and Billy weave their way upstairs, and return to bed, tomorrow will be a big day.

Driving on the Other Side ( Part 30 )

February 21, 2015

queenstown 2 Upon arriving in Queenstown around noon, Bender finds a nice Hotel, books two suites, both with a view of the Lake, a perfect setting for popping the big question to his lustful love, Jane. Everything needed to be perfect, Billy starts to make a list of everything he will need to pull this off. He cannot forget about Kelly, she will have to be an integral part of the plan if this will be successful. Bender found out at the front desk that the Ferry that comes from Sand Fly Point, arrives, right at 4;00 pm. Four hours to get everything ready for the Magic to take place, he will need flowers, lots of flowers, clothes, Bender will need to go shopping for Himself and his new Bride to be, and he cannot forget about the tall redhead Kelly and her needs. He will also need some kind of a temporary ring, he could just say it’s an engagement ring, that way, Jane will be able to choose one that she adores, once they return to the States. Bender heads downstairs to speak with a bellhop, they can make anything happen for the right price. He finds out where to go shopping, and is told there is a Jewelry Store on the corner, down towards the lake, After looking at six different styles of rings and getting more advise than Billy asked, he decides on a 1 caret dark blue Lapus stone, surrounded with tiny white diamonds. The ring is spectacular, Bender hopes, for an engagement ring, it will be enough to help influence Jane into saying  YES! The Bellhop is making the arrangements for all the flowers, and dinner reservations at one of the top Restaurants in Queenstown that sits seven stories high above the Lake, with an indescribable view that one never forgets. There will be cold champagne waiting in the Suite for the new guest to arrive. Things are starting to come together, Billy goes down the list and checks off all the completed items. “Let’s see what I’m forgetting “, Billy asked himself out loud.  “clothes, darn, almost forgot, now, I think I remember, Jane’s foot size and dress size, but I have no clue what size Kelly would be. I might just send Jane a text and get the sizes correct, or this will be all for nothing. If she can receive a text”. NZ Ferry The trio of hikers make it to their destination to Sand Fly Point with little time to spare, it is 1:45 pm when they finally set foot on the ferry that will take them back to the busy tourist town of Queenstown. Kelly, ” thank god we made it, I could not stay one more night out sleeping on the ground, I’m going to have a double Martini as soon as we get checked into a hotel”. Jane is more interested in food, ” I’m going to have a double chocolate Sunday with lots of crushed nuts, whipped cream with a cherry on top, I can’t wait,” sighed the dirty blonde. Mark, on the other hand, was not thinking of drink, nor food, but, rather the dirty blonde he had his arms around that he was kissing the back of her neck and ears, with each flicker of his tongue, he could hear her purr. All three were wanting different vices and were glad to be sailing back to civilization. Just then, there was a sound that seemed very distinctive, but yet distant at the same time. It was coming from Jane’s Backpack, she opened the top pocket to find her phone vibrating and making this noise that is very familiar, but not in this setting. Kelly asks, ” Janie, what is it? Is there something wrong?’ Jane replies, “no, nothing wrong, it’s Billy, he is waiting for us in Queenstown, and he wants to know our shoe and dress sizes, hmm, now what do you think he is up to?” ferry nz moving Bender has everything ready to go in the suites, even displaying dresses, laid out on the beds and on the floor below, shoes to match, for both Jane and Kelly. There are Flower arrangements throughout both rooms, the smell is pungent and sweet, the colors nearly overwhelming. Billy places the Ring box on the table along with the champagne, fruit basket, and cheese and cracker platter. After everything is ready, he heads toward the pier with two bouquets of fresh, colorful flowers, Billy is finally ready for the life-changing event of marriage, with the gal he has loved nearly his entire life, he can see the ferry coming fast from the other side of the lake. Bender is nervous, then the “what if’s” start to play with his mind, it seemed like the ferry would never arrive. Jane turns back toward Mark and looks him straight in the eyes, she says,” Sorry, this isn’t going to happen between us, I’m really sorry, but, this is a game changer. This man who is waiting for me in Queenstown, is the love of my life, I think he is going to ask me to marry him, finally!’ Kelly laughs and says, ” well, what do you know, it looks like Billy Bender is going to make an honest woman of you, this might be interesting”. Just then Kelly turns her attention toward Mark and winks at him to let him know that he is not completely out of luck, ” well Marko, I guess it’s you and me, what do you say?’ It didn’t take a second before Mark replied with, ” your on Kelly, there is no way I want to be in the middle of a possible wedding, I wish you all the luck in the world Janie, no hard feelings from me, nothing but good vibes”.The ferry horn blasted their arrival into the pier at Queenstown. From the back of the ferry, Jane could see Billy waiting with a huge bouquet of brilliantly colored flowers, it was quite a sight after sleeping on the ground for the past three nights. Bender waited as hikers disembarked from the sizable ferry, most of the people were quite young, 18-30 years old, about 40 hikers, dirty from their journey, passed by with their backpacks, hiking boots, and most wore shorts. Then, the last to arrive was Janie and Kelly and it looked like an American male that appeared to be mid-thirties, that was walking with Kelly. Jane ran into Billy’s arms, dropping her pack just before leaping into Benders strong, hairy arms and chest, and kissed him with a hot, wet mouth, not stopping for quite a while, until Bender noticed that behind Jane, awkwardly stood Kelly and her American friend.  It took strength to pry Jane from his lips, but, Bender still holding Jane tight, greeted Kelly, gave her one of the bunches of flowers, and was introduced to her new friend named Mark. The four of them headed up to the Hotel and the awaiting two suites. Billy turns to Mark and asks, ” do you have some clean clothes with you, by any chance?’ Mark shakes his head and says, ” no, I sure don’t have anything that isn’t smelling like a campfire”. Bender, “You can use some of mine Mark, we are about the same size. I’m taking everyone out to a very special dinner, and since you are a friend of Kelly’s you are more than welcome to join us Mark, and the room is already paid for, so it’s all taken care of” docked ferry nz The couples both go to each’s adjoining suites, as the door starts to shut, Billy leans out and tells Kelly and Mark that dinner will be at 8:00 pm, and to be ready by 7:45. You could hear the sighs from far away, as both gals enter the rooms filled with the floral arrangements, and if one listened closely, you could hear wild laughter and the popping of Champagne corks coming from each room.

Driving on the Other Side (Part 29)

February 15, 2014

Image

Bender couldn’t sleep in anticipation of his big day. He was up and ready, it was only 5:00 AM, so he packed his bags, loaded the Taurus station wagon (fish rig), then waited for Jack in the Kitchen, making coffee and toast. Jack appeared in fine form, in green loden from head to toe, he was ready for the morning’s fishing, he always eats after fishing, not before. On the drive upstream, Billy told Jack about the large Yellow Mayflies that he saw the night before, and how the trout were keying in on them, slurping them from the surface.  Jack, ” Oh yes, we use to go out in the late evenings when Ann was younger, and it was always a treat to hook a few with those small “canary flies”, but it’s been some time that I’ve fished that late, not as young as I use to be Billy, must be a bit safer these days. Jack pulls into a new part of the river that Billy did not see the day before and parks just feet from the river. Both men exit the Land Cruzer, Jack ask Billy which direction he would prefer, Billy says he’ll go downstream and fish back up to the car, and Jack would start right there and work his way up above.

It was just starting to get light, there were Caddis hatching and flying about, it was easy to see what would work as far as flies were concerned. Jack hooked a nice trout on about his 5th cast, he was pleased, he hoped that Billy might notice. Bender had walked downstream and found a rather large pool, with trees and bushes overhanging the deepest part, he was certain there must be huge brown trout hiding under the branches. He waited for sometime before he saw a very small rise, just where he thought he might see one, right against the bank, under a large tree branch, just where the current started to straighten. Bender moved very slowly and quietly from below where he spotted the rise, getting close enough in order to make a perfect presentation. Then, again, the fish came to the surface to feed, Billy had him dialed in, and made the cast, the size 14 CDC Caddis floated right at the spot where Billy saw him feed. Very slowly a nose appeared and sucked in the high floating fly. Bender was surprised on the size of this enormous brown trout, it leaped out of the water, so high in fact that it wrapped itself over the branch that it was hiding under, and quickly broke off. It all happened so fast, it was hard for Billy to take in, but, Bender thought the fish would have gone at least 6-7 lbs. Jack, on the other hand, was having much better luck, landing five trout, the largest around 3lbs, and the smallest around 1 lb, but, all nice, healthy brown trout.

Bender couldn’t concentrate, he kept thinking he’d better get going,  pop the big question to Jane. His mind was racing, a ring, well, better to buy one back home, get one she really wants and not something I pick out, or I’ll never hear the end of it, he thought. He started to head back to the Land Cruzer and to check up on Jack, who was on the same page and walking downstream toward the truck. They put the rods up, then proceeded back toward the house.  Jack, “so, how did it go? Any good one’s Billy?” Bender, ” tell you the truth, I hooked a very nice brown who jumped so high it rapped me on a branch, that was my morning,  how about you?  On the drive back to the house Jack explained to Billy just how sorry Heddy and he were with Ann being so pre-occupied, and how they both wish things could have worked out.

After a hearty breakfast, Billy was ready to move south, take Highway 8 all the way to Queenstown, and find out the best way to hook back up with Jane and Kelly. Cell service was very spotty, only working in some places, Billy would need to investigate just how he was going to pull this little move off, because now, he knew he wanted to marry Jane, and be with her for the rest of his life. What he did not consider, did Jane want to be with him, forever..?

After hiking straight for six hours, the girls were getting a bit winded. Mark, on the other hand, was in great shape and knew if they did not slow him down, that he could get off the trail that day, or at least that night. They had hiked past the hut # 2 and were heading toward Hut # 3, they had around five more hours to make it to the 3rd hut. Both Jane and Kelly decided it was too much, that the Hut # 3 would be where they would sleep that night, and get out and off the trail the following day.  Once the trio got to the third hut, they found out that at Sandfly Point, where the ferry comes to take you back to Queenstown, leaves at 2:00 PM, and only 2:00 PM, and the name Sand Fly Point, was named that for a good reason, it was no place to camp! The trio felt very lucky, this way they could get up early and beat the ferry right at 2:00, and head back the next day. The 3rd Hut was crowded, and only a few beds were open, and the “no see ums” , and Sand flies, made sleeping outside impossible. Kelly turns to Jane and says, ” we can sleep together, wouldn’t be the first time Jane”. “OK, it’s so crowded in here that sleeping with MR Hard Cock might be a bad idea, I can wait a couple of nights when we can be alone”. Kelly, “does that mean you two didn’t do it last night’? Jane, ” no, there were people walking around, it was not the place, of course, he wanted to, but I said no, you’ve got to wait, and it is worth waiting for, he said no problem, and we kissed some then went to sleep. Funny, I really wanted to while we were hiking, then, last night, I started thinking about Billy, I wonder what he is up too anyway”?.

Driving on the Other Side ( Part 28 )

February 15, 2014

After cleaning up and changing clothes, Billy came downstairs to enter into “Cocktail Hour”, a nightly routine in the home of the Hunters. Both Jack and Heddy were dressed for dinner and were waiting for their guest to make an appearance. Jack inquires, ” what will you have Billy?” Bender with a nice smile replies, “Red Wine, please”. The three sit and make small talk, the main topic is Fly Fishing, it is the, where’s, how’s, best fishing, Salmon vs Trout, etc…On the coffee table in front of the couch is a silver platter adorned with Smoked Salmon, Wild Boar, and dried Red Stag. The polite small talk continues, until the phone rings, Heddy answers, it’s Ann, she wants to know everything. Heddy tells Ann about the great catch Billy had earlier, in detail, Ann is thrilled and wants to speak with Billy. ” Oh, that is just wonderful, your largest trout ever, on my River? That is so great! Wish I could have been there, it would have been so much fun!” Came from an excited Ann Hunter. ” Billy, the reason I’m calling is to let you know, that I’m having to Fly to France for another photo shoot, it’s some promotional shoot for the movie, and unfortunately, I cannot say no, so I’m off in a couple of hours, flying straight from Sydney. I’m very sorry, I’m just so busy right now, it would have been a blast, hope you understand”, came from Ann. Billy replied, ” no problem, your parents are fantastic, I’m having a great time, just wish you could have been here, but, maybe another time”. Jack and Heddy looked at each other, they knew what that meant, Ann wasn’t coming, and Billy was leaving.  Billy handed the phone to Jack so he could say good night, Heddy with tight white colored lips says to Billy, ” I’m so sorry for both of you, the girl is just so busy right now, I wish she could slow down some, but I guess she has to do what she has to do, oh well.

The dinner was a lamb stew, it was spectacular, the conversation not so much, all three were extremely disappointed, and Jack finally said to Billy, ” you know your welcome to stay as long as you’d like, Heddy and I both enjoy your company, and it’s nice to have a guest for a change of pace. If you’d like to stay and fish, you’re more than welcome, we both mean this sincerely, it’s up to you”. With a half smile, Billy says, ” thank you both, your great host, I feel like I need to meet up with some old friends who are hiking the Milford Track, they should be just about through, I could head over that way and meet them at the Trails end and surprise them. If you don’t mind, I would really enjoy wetting a line in the early AM, then head out before mid-day”. Jack, ” of course, do you mind if I join you in the AM, I’d enjoy to fish with you once again before your off”. Bender snaps, ” Jack, that would be great, I’m off to bed, see you in the wee hours, say 6:00?” Jack and Heddy both say goodnight and head off to bed, Billy goes outside for a walk down by the river.

It’s a Moonlit night, calm, and warm, rare for a summer night in New Zealand. Sitting on the grassy bank above the cool waters of the Hunter, Bender can hear trout slurping some kind of bugs from the surface of the water. In the light of the Moon, he can now see rings where the trout were feeding, and just like a few nights earlier at Kate’s pond, Billy can see huge Yellow Mayflies hatching and flying off the river like poor flying helicopters.

Bender’s mind is not on fishing, but rather on women, two in particular. Jane, and Ann, at this point it looks like Ann was just a fantasy, beautiful, talented, athletic, successful, and worldly. Due to her age, and job demands, Ann was not a realistic option, unfortunately, they met at a time that just wouldn’t work, as Billy thought of what might have been, it just wasn’t going to happen. But, on the other hand, Jane re-enters Benders life at a time where Billy thinks he just might be ready now to spend the rest of his life with the most Beautiful women he has ever known. This could work, and of all the women Billy Bender has ever known, Jannie was the one who he never could forget. They were two peas in a pod, mutt, and Jeff, Ying and yang… That was it, tomorrow he would drive to the Trailhead of the Milford Track and find Janie and Kelly, and see if this could work, would Jane Greenfield  be the one, after all these years, it looked like it was just meant to be, why else would he re-unite with her at the end of the earth?

Kelly awoke with the sun, the other hikers were still sleeping in their bunks, on her way to the outhouse, she spots the two sleeping bags that are packed together under a large tree near the creek. “Janie, Jane, Janiiieee” came from the curious Redhead, who wanted to know what exactly what transpired the night before. Ahead of blonde hair semi rises off her pillow, to see Kelly standing over her with a wad of Toilet paper in hand. ” What time is it”? as the blonde hair returns to the comfort of the small white pillow. “Kelly, what are you doing up so early, we have a short day hiking today, let’s sleep some, go back to bed”. A frustrated Kelly replies, ” I can’t, I’m up, let’s get going before the sand flies and no-see-ums wake up, they were just awful yesterday, maybe we could hike out today if we start early, come on Janie. Let’s go sleep in a real bed, and eat some fresh seafood, have a nice bottle of wine, let’s get going!” Mark is up and listening to the conversation, he pipes in, “well, we could do the big hike out, but that means getting going now, and hiking all day, but we could do it, long day, but it can be done”. Kelly, ” hear that Jane, we can be out of here today, let’s do it, let us get going”. Jane, ” OK, let’s do it, I’m not digging these biting bugs, and the ground is a bit hard, and that is not the only thing that is hard”, Jane is giggling, at Kelly’s expense. The Three break camp in a hurry, and start their very long hike out, Kelly leads the way.

%d bloggers like this: