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Off-season Blues: The quiet and solitude.

It is at this point that I am missing not only my boat, but also the quiet and solitude of the river life. This past season I was solo through the majority of the guide season. Living and guiding out of the truck and boat may have seemed crazy to some but it was an amazing experience and I cannot wait to be back at it.

Mornings and evenings I would have the place to myself. Waking up riverside, having camp coffee while sun came up, watching, listening, feeling the world around me awaken. The evenings winding down to a silent simmer as the trees and river said goodnight to each other. Listening to the owls talk to each other, the elk and deer rustling in the thickets as they bed down. The smells of ponderosa pine, that fishy, wet, algae smell as the river perks up. The bugs…oh do I miss the sound of bugs flying around.

It’s loud in the off-season. The sounds of civilization, cars driving by, construction, television, phones ringing and beeping; the sometimes sweet and other times down right annoying cacophony of my children or the snoring of my lady. I miss the solitude and the quiet. The crackle of a warm fire as the wet logs spit and sizzle. The sound of my lantern and the camp stove…

I become addicted to it all, and the yearning for it to be my everyday grows more palpable every day of the off-season.

The cold bite of the morning air that is fought off by a strong hot cup of coffee and the screech of the blue heron as it hunts the banks. I love to be alone. A fact that to this day the people around seem to not quite grasp. There is something about being alone away from it all that makes you appreciate the time with others but also the time unplugged from it all.

In the off-season I feel like I have little purpose some days. The long wait until I am back in the embrace of the things that make me whole outside of my loved ones. It can drive one a little insane…the cabin fever, the want and need to just be out of it…but so into that other something anglers and outdoorsy people crave.

We are at the halfway point and now the real test of patience comes. Can I keep from going crazy? Every off season I feel like I can’t take it anymore but that waiting makes the end result so much sweeter. I’m coming river…your frozen call this time of year is subdued by the ice and snow that softens your voice…and I can’t wait to answer back with the loud and boisterous calls that are so prevalent when we are together. Soon…soon….

Tamarack.

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