Whew! It’s been a little crazed around here with time in BC, then Ventura, then hustling to try to make up all the work and chores that accumulated while I was away. In short, I’ve been a little busy. But now I’m back and cranking up the blog again. Starting with British Columbia, and the Skeena in particular, which feels as much like home to me as where we actually live. That’s what it looks like, above.
We started with a few days of boat tinkering and party prep at the Hill house in Terrace. By Saturday, we were ready, and people poured in from all over the province to celebrate our great friend, Bruce Hill, on the anniversary of his passing. That’s my buddy Aaron Hill and Dr. Jacko prepping the lamb, above. What a feast! As if the lamb wasn’t enough, we made dozens of pizzas in the outdoor wood-fired oven, piled on the salads and veggies and desserts and wine, and wrapped it all up with a late-night bonfire. I think Bruce would approve.
Next day, Yvon, Rick, Aaron, Colin and I packed up our fish gear and headed up to The Shack. For more huge meals, more incredible wine (one older than me, and one older than Yvon), more fantastic stories, too many dogs to count, and more great friends stopping by to chat and eat. I should add that there were five gorgeous, pungent, fresh, black truffles from France that made their way into almost everything. That’s Yvon, above, demonstrating that his roast-lamb-and-barley soup could indeed support a spoon on its own.
Good thing the food and friends were good, because the fishing was not. We experienced historically low water–the Kispiox wasn’t even really fishable–and brutally chilly temps. We battled lines freezing up solid in the guides, and sheet ice forming on waders. We felt lucky to find even a few fish aggressive enough to chase down our flies. That’s a nice one from way up the Skeena, below. As someone said, “Fishing is just what we do to pass the time between meals.”
And yet, it was a time to be treasured, one I will savor for years to come. To Anne, Aaron, Julia, Yvon, Rick, Colin, Greg, Shannon, Gerald, Gail, the Clays, and all the rest of my northern family, a huge and mighty thanks. You are a blessing in my life.