Thursday

Reaching a dream! Fly fishing and managing my MS

A lovely memory popped up from a couple of summers ago - my trip to Hot Creek Ranch.  It's a bit too warm for me to be fly fishing around here so I'm enjoying this post again!

I just accomplished a feat never thought possible in past thirteen years. Between MS smarts, a great family and friend support, I just wrapped up a fly fishing trip at Hot Creek Ranch outside of Mammoth California.

With the right tools, experience and knowledge I took a trip that's been on my bucket list for years. Even one year ago I couldn't do this trip because of my MS. So grateful for my Friends, family, cooling vests, SPF shirts, gloves and neck wraps, cooling foods, and more which allowed me to make this trip. I am not a Wonder Woman. I am still learning. But I have learned many tricks!

Location. Hot Creek Ranch outside of Mammoth, California:

Have you ever been to hot creek ranch, mammoth? It's a private fly fishing ranch in the eastern sierras outside of Mammoth Lakes. I highly recommend it....dry fly only, no wading, completely barbless (to the point it needs to slip through your shirt cleanly), #20 or smaller flies, 6-7x, wind and clear as can be water. This is fly fisher speak. Basically, it's awesome!
Leaving Los Angeles. We head north. Eastern sierras here we come! Air conditioning a must for this girl with MS. 100F through the Owens valley. I keep my cooling vest handy. Even the sun coming in from the window can start to sap my energy. I am using a MediCool vest for this trip.
We Stopped at Alabama Hill Cafe in Lone Pine and missed them by 10 minutes. Bummer! They've got some great eats. Looking up at Mt Whitney always does something magical to me. We quickly get back into the AC of the car and head north. Onward to Bishop for food.
We head through Bishop and pick up some essentials. Jerky! Ok, jerky may not be high on the MS diet but it's high protein and fat, and good when out on river. We stocked up.
And then, We arrive! Nothing like being greeted by a big old American flag blowing in the wind.
The temps start cooling a bit as evening approaches. I stroll along the creek and Look back at cabins:
Fishing can be quite therapeutic. Fly fishing brings the sport to a whole new level. It is constantly reminding me of the importance of patience. The more I fly fish the better my MS seems to be. The constant balance of energy and regeneration.

I was also able to spend time with some of the best fly tiers and casters around. So much to learn and loving every minute. I'm fascinated by the fly fishing process.
Looking down stream from the bridge.

Hiding from the sun I head out with the girls. Under this mess of clothing is another cooling vest, neck wrap and sun protection. I wrapped the nck wrap up a bit before heading near the water so I wouldn't spook the fish.

My friends take me to the bluffs where there's a nice breeze and a bit of protection from the Eastern Sierra sun. 7:30am and it's still nice and cool.

Not much of a hatch going on but practicing casting, mending and getting a good drift. Missed a few. That's ok.
I fish with Barbara Komatsu in the morning. Her late husband was the beautiful fly tier and fisherman, Dennis Komatsu. I am blessed in so many ways. Barbara is a retired school teacher with a heart of gold and shared much vital knowledge with me. I stayed out a bit longer than planned as we were having such a good session. But then it was time. The temps were warming up and my cooling equipment wasn't so cool anymore. That's ok. Time to go in and cool off.
Some of my friends taking a break. Below, Marine Veteran and member of Project Healing Waters, Desiree, hooks a beautiful little brown trout.
The colors in the Eastern Sierras are always a bit amazing. My friend, Leigh Ann, tying one on before hitting the water. I was way too worn our from my morning adventure to fish or photograph so for evening I stayed cool and just walked to a couple little holes and watched my friends fish.
Leigh Ann took me under her wings the next day and we hooked up with a little rainbow. Priceless advice from everyone.  This is about the smallest trout ever but it was a great experience!
With fly fishing it's about the process more than the size for me. Still quite a newbie with flies I am just happy when I can hook up with one. That means that I:
  • Found a spot with fish
  • Matched the hatch
  • Didn't spook the fish
  • Casted
  • Mended if necessary
  • Got a good drift.
  • Eye on the fly
  • Set the hook
  • Tight lines
And yesterday I hooked up with a nice one! Lost it but that will come with more experience.
And that's what I love about fly fishing. It's the whole package.
Want to learn how to fly fish? I can hook you up with a great teacher!

I never imagined being able to take this trip since my MS ravaged my body so many years ago. But with some management, medicine, nutrition, and GOOD ATTITUDE, we can aim and learn to accomplish more in life.

Thank you for being my support group. For helping me every inch along the way. For some this may not seem like a lot. But for me it was the world!


















1 comment:

Amy Sparks said...

Thank you for sharing such a great memory. How beautiful!