Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Camping/Fishing Trip...

The Whitetop Laurel Creek begins in the mountains of southwestern Virginia and flows down to the small town of Damascus. Along the way it is joined by a number of other streams and eventually ends up in the Holston River. I drove from Louisville to Damascus early this week to get in a few days of fishing... and to take "Sacerdos 1" on her maiden camping trip. I must say that the fishing, as well as the overnight camping were excellent. The scenery in the mountains was beautiful, and the truck proved to be a suitable home. The mountains have received more than their share of rain this year, and the river was up and rusty in color. With a storm the day I got there, and one overnight, the river was on the rise. This didn't keep me from catching about a half-dozen wild rainbow trout in the 12" range. The wild fish always seem to have the brightest colors and the most fight in them. The rainbows lived up to their reputation of being fantastic jumpers when caught, leaping out of the water. Another notable thing about the trip was the tremendous access that the stream enjoys. The "Virginia Creeper" trail (a former railroad right-of-way that was converted into a 30+ mile biking/hiking trail) parallels the river for quite a while and provides some great access for fishermen. The Appalachian Trail also utilizes part of this right-of-way as well, before it disappears into the rhododendron of the mountains. Here's some pics:

One of the many existing trestles spanning the creek on the "Virginia Creeper Trail:"

A beautiful wild rainbow trout:

"Sacerdos 1" on her maiden voyage:

A storm blew-in overnight, but the truck kept me high and dry:

The Appalachian Trail crosses the Virginia Creeper Trail along the creek:

Another view of the creek:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Summer, in a Nutshell...

Besides spending my weekdays at the Tribunal, where I have set up my "Summer Thesis Writing Camp" (kind of like summer camp for canonists...), I have recently come upon a fishing hole here in Kentucky. If you've seen this blog then you know that I have taken up (lock, stock, and barrel) the leisure activity of fly fishing. One of the real bright spots of my time in Washington, DC (other than studying canon law of course...) has been my Fridays up fishing at the Gunpowder River in Maryland. It's a beautiful place (my "mental health getaway" during the school year). Sadly, I have been without such a place here at home. That was until this week. At the recommendation of a fly fisher here in the area I checked out Otter Creek, which runs through the Fort Knox military base, just south of Louisville. It's not quite the Gunpowder, but it has fish, and is a reasonably beautiful little stream. And, its only a 30 minute drive! After jumping through the hoops to get a fishing permit from the Army, I drove down Tuesday and spent the day exploring the new stream. While the largest fish I landed was only about 6-8", I caught a good number of them (I'm guessing a dozen or so) and the stream was quite serene. Take a look for yourself:

Here's my "Base Camp" at the Louisville Tribunal:

P.S. - What a great thing it was... applying for the fishing permit at Ft. Knox, they go over the map of the base to let you know where you are permitted to go and where you are not. A position on the map was marked in yellow and I was advised that permission to enter the area was never granted. The reason... UNEXPLODED ORDINANCE! Yeah, I'll be staying out of there.