March 6th, 2006

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Wading with Our Women
By lee s, CA

We live in California so some of our steelhead excursions may be somewhat different than others experience. Often we have plenty of company, and some personal travel is required to find a bit of solitude. This was 'sorta the situation at the Mad River this day for my bride and I.

There is a run below the hatchery where multitudes of fishers gather to ply the water for the fish that gather there. One of the sacrifices one must accept to homestead here is the occasional intrusion of anglers wading across the stream, to access the other side. The other side contains the logging road to gain access to miles of upstream, away from the multitudes. This run is also the only wadeable run for quite some distance. Sometimes though, it IS about three ribs deep...and I'm 6'4" and a rotund 300#.

Anyway, this day, like most of our days afield, we try to be alert to any new observations that bring us new knowledge that might come in handy at a later time. This day we learned two new things.

As my bride and I were crossing the stream and the water came to about mid-calf on me (knee deep to my bride), we noticed a bit of shivering in our bride as she hung on.

As the water got to about mid-thigh on me (about butt-deep on my bride), I noticed a bit of shrieking emanating from my lovely bride.

As the water got butt-deep to me (waist deep to my bride), I noticed the shrieking rise in crescendo and my bride's upper extremities beginning to flail enthusiastically.

Waist deep for me (how deep for my bride?) seemed to bring forth absolute crescendo in shrieking but complete abeyance of upper extremity flailing. Seems my lovely bride was busy hanging on as her lower extremities lost all purchase of the bottom and they commenced to furl like a flag in the wind.

The process seemed to reverse as we traversed to the far bank and lost depth.

Apparently the entertainment value of these actions were far better than the lone fisher flailing and shrieking down river mid-stream. HIS entertainment usually requires personal involvement by at least one or two persons along their route. The fishers on the far bank that we had to interrupt, accepted our apology for our intrusion quite gleefully.

I was a bit surprised to see our lovely bride smiling and conversing with the other fishers also. So far the only bruises and contusions were incidental to the sometimes extreme flailing that had recently occurred.

The return crossing that afternoon was as uneventful as the first crossing.

However, upon leaving the water and gaining a bit of ground, the shrieking and flailing did reoccur, and all of my bride's extremities did now seem involved.

Strange, I didn't remember limping earlier...?

    Lesson one:

    Flailing subsides abruptly as the feet lose purchase... shrieking does not.

    Lesson two:

    The bank of the river with the vehicle on it is the most dangerous.

Safe wading and tight lines... ~ lee s

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