13 February 2011


John loves chuckin' meat. Browns love eating it.
Nnyep, 'bout on par for the course.
Back in Ch'Ch, sitting at a crossroad. John was delivered to the airport early in the a.m. yesterday, so once again it's just a coupla guys. We had a great time together, the three of us, but the van was tight no doubt. I really just wish we coulda turned the big guy on to a few more (big) fish in his three weeks down here, but hey, he caught more than I have since I arrived, so maybe I shouldn't feel so bad? Everyone's saying it's the worst season they can remember, but I needn't expound on that anymore. Being in New Zealand is enough of a consolation prize in and of itself, and in his time here John lived the quintessential Kiwi experience: chasing sheep, meat pies, Speights, Fergburger, sandflies, fish and chips, penguins and sea lions, Queenstown, tramping into huts, monster trout you have no chance of catching, whitebait, the beauty of Manchester after 10pm, some local color, and so on. So it's back to Montana for him, where I'm sure he'll proceed to freeze his bullocks off until April, when he has the distinct pleasure of flying up to the Yukon Delta in Alaska to assist his wife with evaluating over-winter survival of juvenile salmon in frozen beaver ponds, ie where he'll once again proceed to freeze his bullocks off again until... oh, maybe June? As fate would have it, I'll see him up there again around that time as I recently accepted a position for the crew leader on the Kwethluk River salmon weir. John and I first met on the Kwethluk two years ago when we both worked up there, and I can't say I'm terribly thrilled to be going back, but what it is. It's tough to turn down a good job offer when the one you're holding out for isn't a given... So it could be purgatory again, or it could be worse. Maybe not, I guess we'll see.

But what to do next? I need a ticket back stateside and that's hanging over my head. Should I stay or should I go? Who can complain about being in New Zealand for the winter not working? Who can't complain about one fish in two months and shitty weather and high water? I suppose I could be back in Maine freezing my bullocks off, shoveling snow for a paycheck, but obviously that's not appealing. But then I think about the tax man and the fun he's gonna have with me here in a few months and that might be even less appealing... I do love winter. I do love New Zealand. I don't like shoveling snow. I don't like not catching fish. I do like a little stability every now and then. I do like living on the road without a plan. I don't like rain and high water. I don't like waking up at 3am to plow heavy wet crud. Decisions, decisions. Perhaps this is just one of those instances where I just need to chill out as it will work itself out in due time. So until then, we shall fish.

Meat me at Hope

I'm not sure what direction we're headed, nor for how long we'll be out. We've got a handful of some backcountry rivers we'd like to get into and spend several days fishing each, all within reasonable distance of Ch'Ch, so I imagine that's where we'll start. It seems hardly worthwhile to travel too far when the desirable water south and west of here is receiving the brunt of the foul weather. La Nina; how I do loathe thee. Funny how just a simple letter would make all the difference in the world about my feelings towards you: Pac NZ = teh suck. Pac NW = the win. But I'm not skiing W3st Co@st powder, and you're not my friend down here.

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