I got to make a few trips down to the coastside this winter and early spring. A chance to visit friends and fam and and to return to the watershed of my youth. I had a talk coming up, and I was supposed to tell a bunch of middle-schoolers why I liked being a fly fishing guide. This area started it all, my need to explore the outdoors, my need to share it with others. Getting back in touch to that initial feeling seemed like a good idea.
I first went to the headwaters of a steelhead stream behind my parents place. Exploring this little trickle was my genesis as a fly guide. Finding newts and crayfish and whatever else in the little pools was one of my favorite things to do.
Here’s a photo of that same water a few miles down the coast, where one of those creeks hits the ocean. I’ve caught a few steelhead, maybe a hundred yards from this spot.
I revisited a lot of the old trails. My parents took me hiking along this trail as far back as I remember. I almost stepped on a 3 foot rattlesnake just down the trail from here when I was 5. I remember walking past this old oak tree as one of my oldest memories.
Top of the mountain.
I found some new trails I hadn’t been on before. I thought I had explored almost every trail around these hills, but there were some great ones right nearby that had eluded me. The flora and fauna were amazing. Orchids, Iris, hawks flying overhead, deer peeking through the brush. I’m sure we probably had mountain lions watching us from afar, but not letting themselves be seen. There’s been a ton of sightings nearby. Here’s a cool game cam one of the locals set up a block from my parents place.
Some of the local flowers.
A little stream the next valley over.
I drove up and down the coastside a lot. The central California coast along highway 1 is famous for its views, something when you live there you might even forget, but I’m always reminded when I go back.
Hiking up Montara mountain. The trailhead is down there by the highway.
sunset on the coast
I returned to Tahoe and got to give my talk to the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience. It was a blast. So many questions and so much of that inquisitive feeling, that curiosity that sparks it all. These kids rocked. Giving presentations and talks has been becoming a larger part of my job description. I never would’ve seen myself as a public speaker in my youth, but I’m actually really digging this stuff now.
I’m making a few more trips off the mountain this spring. Looking forward to them, although the fishing locally has been really good lately. Still, I had some amazing bass fishing coming up and down the mountain the last few years, hoping to have some similar adventures.
Here’s a largemouth bass on a pheasant dragon, caught while kayak fishing last spring.
Here’s to exploring places, whether you’ve never been there before, or if its something you’ve seen a thousand times but just needed to look at again with new eyes. Take care – Dan