My love of the outdoors started with my father and our annual camping trips to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. My appreciation of nature continued throughout my life and now I have the pleasure of taking my family on similar magical camping trips in the Catskills and Adirondacks here in New York State. I am also obsessed with fly fishing and try to get out on the river whenever I have the chance, no matter the weather. My plan is to chronicle my outdoor adventures and share them with my family, friends and whomever else is interested.
I remember hiking the Smoky Mountains when I was young, seeing black bears in the wild, and wading through the Little River, which runs through Elkmont Campground. My brother and I took classes on how to survive in the wilderness from the Park Rangers. We went on many lone hikes through the spider web of trails that sprung out from the campground. I caught my first fish in the Little River, a tiny rainbow trout, which my father happily filleted and fried upon my request. I suppose that’s what started my love of fishing. I always loved the way they look, speckled with a pink stripe down the side.
I still try to catch those elusive rainbow trout. I have graduated from the cane pole with a piece of corn I used when I was 4, to multiple fly rods and several boxes of flies. I fish year-round, once even in a snow storm. People think we are crazy, my buddy and I, but if you dress appropriately you stay comfortable. Winter fishing is nice because you have the river to yourself for the most part. During peak season at the Salmon River in Pulaski, NY, you are standing virtually shoulder to shoulder, casting in a symbiotic rhythm with a dozen other fisherman. I prefer wading a small creek on your own with only the sound of the wind in the trees, the birds, and the water swiftly rushing over rocks and past your knees on its way down the mountain. There is nothing quite like it.
I try to camp two or three times a year. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of camping with my father and brother. I remember learning how to build a fire (first wad the paper, then build a teepee of kindling around it, and surround that with the bigger pieces of wood), but you must know how to manage the fire as well. There is a saying about fire and marriage by Marnie Reed Crowell. “To keep the fire burning brightly there’s one easy rule: keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart—about a finger’s breadth—for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule.” My wife and I had that posted at our wedding, and it has served us well for the past 5 years. I want to recreate the childhood memories I am so fond of with my family, memories that my children will remember into adulthood.
We make annual trips to Mongaup Pond State Campground in the Catskills. We will also travel to the Adirondacks to camp. I fly fish the Salmon River for trout, bass, steelhead and salmon, and for trout in the Beaverkill River, Willowemoc and Esopus Creeks and the East Branch of the Delaware River in the Catskills, as well as the Housatonic and Farmington Rivers in CT. I will fish for striped bass on the fly in the ocean or smallmouth on the pond, and just about any other fish you can catch on the fly in any body of water. We also love to hike, and venture on more strenuous trails in the Adirondacks and Catskills, as well as local trails at home in Westchester County, NY.
I look forward to chronicling my adventures in the great outdoors. There are so many great experiences I don’t remember from my past, just flashes here and there. It will be nice to see my future adventures all laid out for my kids to look back on. I’m going to try to have some good ones. There are so many beautiful opportunities in the Hudson Valley, Catskills and beyond. Hopefully my family and those closest to me, will be a little better for the experience.