We went up to Chico for a wonderful visit with Mike and Chelsie this Labor day weekend. We were busy shooting the guns, ( yes, I can hit the clay pigeons!) visiting the farmers market, checking out one of the top 10 quilt shops in the U.S. and Canada (items to be shown off at a later date) walking around Bidwell park and of course, fishing. The fishing trip is where the knee knocking comes in.
Mike had asked his very nice friend, Scott, about a place to fish. Scott, being the consummate outdoors-man, knew just the place. It was a short drive into the Sierra's, and down, down, down into the Feather River Valley. It was more like a gorge. The mountain sides were steep, craggy granite cliffs-it is a beautiful place. The Feather River is a good sized river and our destination was near the bottom of the hydro-electric dam. From our parking spot the river was quite a bit below us-straight below us. I figured there must be stairs, or some kind of a switchback type trail to get to the bottom. As an advanced-easy hiking Trail Tickler, I'm pretty confident about my hiking abilities. But this was not a hike to the bottom, this was a rope and piton cliff/rock climbing adventure-without the rope or pitons! There were a few places where I thought I was going to have to stay on the little gravel ledge for the rest of my life. Thankfully, Scott must be part mountain goat, and was able to help me get down in one piece. He wins the award for best Sherpa EVER! Once at the bottom, everyone put in their hooks and started having fun. David caught 3 fish on his first 4 casts. Number 4 cast was an 18 inch rainbow. I found a patch of blackberries between 2 big boulders, and feeling quite brave after my decent into the jaws of death, climbed, ungracefully, to do my bit of gathering while the others did the hunting. Too quickly the time came to head back up the cliff. I will frankly state that I was terrified and had to pray pretty hard for strength to make it up. It is hard when your legs feel like rubber and your heart is beating out of your throat! There were just 2 very awful parts and one rock slide and then we were all up to the top. (The majority of rocks being loose and wiggly added to the adventure.) Scott led us to another great fishing spot, which he assured us was easier to get to. I believed him, really! But I was happy to sit in the car and work on my knitting while listening to "The Prairie Home Companion" on the radio. Truth be told, my knees were still shaking! The rest enjoyed another hike down to the river and caught some beautiful fish. I enjoyed watching the sunlight fade from the mountain crest and the stars pop out from the sunroof of my jeep. It was the most memorable fishing trip to this point in my life. I am a bit proud of myself for pushing through my fear of heights and steep places so I could experience this beautiful part of California with my family. And our Sunday trout dinner was an excellent prize for all of our efforts.