Fly Fishing & Family – May 7 – 21, 2018

Remiss: “lacking care or attention to duty; negligent: it would be very remiss of me not to pass on that information | the government has been remiss in its duties.”

I think that about covers my attention to our blog since May 6. Not that we haven’t been insanely busy. Not that our attention hasn’t been subject to the demands of learning, connecting, fishing, or reconnecting with family. And rain. Days and days of rain and grey skies.

This morning, in a span of an hour we’ve driven from Delaware through Maryland and into Virginia. We’re in the DelMarVa region.  There didn’t seem to be much of a difference from Delaware to Maryland but the second we crossed into Virginia there was a marked difference. Gone were the new style strip malls with the usual tenants (Smoothie King, fast food restaurants, Sally Beauty, Nail Salon du jour…) set off by stretches of tidy homes and farms. The farms continued but with a difference – we decided that the properties looked less tended somehow.

Last night we glamped at Trap Pond State Park in Delaware. So named because in the 1700’s a stream was damed to funnel water through an iron mill, gone for more years than it existed. The pond is an impoundment and now part of the Delaware recreational offerings. Set in a mixed loblolly pine and hardwood forest surrounding the dam end of the pond. The cats loved walking on the deep duff. The sun came out in the afternoon yesterday. The sky is blue. We’re shedding those rainy blues.

Visiting with family in Delaware was so much fun.

One day we went with Barb’s niece, Andrea, to Philadelphia. The train took us right to the historical center of town and we walked around in the rain while visiting the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Reading Station Market didn’t spit us out for a couple of hours – what a place! We had lunch, ate ice cream, bought bagels and oogled the people and shops crammed into the historic market.

Barb’s brother and his friend, Jane, took us to dinner and the symphony one night. It was Mahler’s Seventh… I am not a fan. Though there were a few passages in the five movements that were not confusing, boring or disjointed, neither of us could fall into the music. Then there was the day Jane drove Chris and the two of us out to Cape May for birding. We walked on the beach, on trails, verges of fields and through sanctuaries hunting for Cape May Warblers (who did not reveal themselves). It was a warm day with clouds scudding overhead – a day perfect for birding and touristing.

We also met the extended family for lunch in Wilmington, down by the water. It was sure fun to see Halle and Riley who have both grown tall and poised and Claudia and Corinne who changed much as well. We don’t get out here enough to keep track of their triumphs and since we aren’t using FB regularly, we feel really out of touch.

The week before that… hum. Lots. We parked the RV at Frost Valley YMCH Horse Camp for five days. The Roads Scholar program, Fly Fishing for Beginners, took place at the ranch. The first day we learned about the history of Fly Fishing and the Catskills. It was on the Neversink and Beaverkill Rivers that European anglers demonstrated the grace and joy of fly fishing to American anglers. Hallowed ground, er, waters.

That afternoon learned to cast out on the big central lawn. Eleven hopeful anglers flinging line out with more and less accuracy, over and over. At dinner folks commented on how much shoulder action they had seen. We learned that fly fishing like medicine and psychotherapy is a practice. The more you practice, the better your body remembers how to do it and the more you learn about reading rivers and streams the better your chances of catching fish.

The next days we got into streams and the famed rivers. We even got to fish the Willowemoc River. The days were cold, grey and misty, the sun playing slight of hand. I’m not sure anyone escaped cold feet. We learned about flies and went to an Orvis store in Roscoe, New York for supplies.

Our indomitable instructor, Oleh Czmola is a guide and teacher there in the Catskills. He was patient, kind, devoted and always excited to share his expertise and love for fly fishing with each of us. Nothing seemed to dampen the joy Oleh got from teaching or from seeing our little successes. Barb and I both had a lot of fun and didn’t take even one photo!

The Frost Valley YMCA Staff, including Nicky Macy our group leader, Amy who made food for us, Michael and Laurie who helped with teaching made our stay comfortable and fun.

The lodge had a big fireplace indoors and one out on the deck next to a stream. It was lovely talking to Gene and Maggie, Marilyn and Phil, John, Vince and the others while the fire crackled and warmed us anglers up. I got great book ideas from Maggie and Gene (and have ordered same or picked up from Overdrive electronic library).

After we left Wilmington, we headed for 13-South thru Virginia, the road is in good condition and the towns along the way offered pleasant viewing as we cruise along. A nice change of scenery is ahead though – a practical transportation solution and tourist attraction.

The Chesapeake Bridge-Tunnel! What an undertaking it was to build an over twenty-three mile crossing to accommodate cars, trucks and deep draft ships. Begun in 1960, the bridge-tunnel was opened to traffic in 1964. Twelve miles of low-level trestle, two bridges, two one-mile tunnels, two miles of causeway, and four man made islands compose this engineering marvel. One of the tunnels takes the traveler ninety feet deep! Driving the bridge-tunnel is fun – from the heights to the depths it makes short work of crossing Chesapeake Bay.

As it happens, we reached the south side at rush hour. We’ve managed to avoid traffic jams so far of this trip but this one made up for all the other’s we had slithered past. Thanks to a really nice trucker, we merged when necessary and got to 17 South so that we could find our (privately owned) campground adjacent to the Great Dismal Swamp.