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ADVENTURES IN BLUELINING...Or how I spent my Father's Day.

Started by FT, June 19, 2006, 12:30:32 PM

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FT

MrsFT and I visited my Dad about noon yesterday, then decided to check out a lake west of Harrisonburg.  She likes to drown worms out of my little jon boat and I though I'd check out launching possibilities.  We didn't have any fishing gear with us, just a Sunday afternoon drive in the mountains.
After finding a launching spot, I asked her if she was up for a little adventure, and I headed on up a forest service road.  It follows a steam I've fished a few times and I wanted to check out the headwaters.  The stream is pretty low right now, but a potential next spring.    The forest road goes up the holler and connects to Jeep Trail.  Jeep Trail isn't a name, it's a warning. Don't bring no soccer mom, fancy chromed up, leather seated, overloaded, city dwelling SUV's up here, 'cause it'll chew 'em up and spit out pieces. You better have a old fashioned, lock in, HD cooling, skid plate'd,  rough as goat guts, 6 ply tires, with enough ground clearance to straddle a Shetland pony, honest to God 4 wheel drive. A winch, full tank of gas, logging chain, hiking boots and chain saw are highly recommended also. (Just so you know I didn't have any of the recommend equipment with me.)  At the top of Dunkle Holler, we headed west towards Meadow Knob.  At that point we became committed.     The road dropped down the ridge at what appeared to be a 25 degrees slope and looked like a freestone stream without the water.  To say it was washed out was an understatement.  We slipped, slid, skidded and bounced 200 hundred yards with only a couple "OOOOH   S***'s.  We've been crawling along at 5 mph for the last hour by now, and the gas gauge is starting to point closer to the E then I like.  We are starting the climb up Meadow Knob and getting along pretty good when we hit another wash.  Got out and recon'd it on foot.    It wasn't a pretty sight, one slip and we'd be 10 miles from the nearest house bottomed out on the skid plate.  Remember when I mentioned WINCH, as in not having one?  MrsFT spotted a hole in between the trees that looked wide enough to get through maybe. I tightened up the front hubs with a pipe wrench to make sure they didn't pop into free at the wrong time, shifted the transfer into low range, slammed the shifter into low, and uttered the second most famous words in the redneck vocabulary, "Ya better find something to hang on to,  it's afixing to get rough"
We blasted over the bank with the engine screaming and all 4 tires throwing a rooster tail of dirt and rocks.  That WAHOO you all heard was me when we crested the top still shiny side up.
Meadow Knob was beautiful.  40 acres on a 3000 ft peak with the Shenandoah Valley spread out below. We could see the Appalachian Mountains behind us, the Blue Ridge on the horizon to the east, the foot hills at our feet in the foreground with all the valley floor center stage.   One of the prettiest scenes I've ever seen.  We drank in the scenery and headed down.
I figured we were home free.  Wrong again.  At the second bumper deep mud hole, MrsFT said "are you having second thoughts yet?"  " Nope,  I had second thoughts back 2 hours ago.  Now I'm having 18th thoughts, by the way, do you have your walking shoes?  The gas gauge is touching the big E."
Right after the last mud hole, we  hit another washed out decent.  This one was so bad; I walked it before I attempted it, twice.  Cinched up my seatbelt, forgot to shift into low range, and eased over the edge.  At that point we started picking up too much speed, hit the brakes, locked up the rear wheels (wet brakes from the mud hole), the locked up wheels stalled the engine, the stalled engine caused a condition of no power steering and the fun began.  You ain't lived until you have skidded, bounced and bucked down the side of the mountain, trying to miss boulders, trees and gullies while try to restart a stalled engine.  Somebody was looking out for us and we made it.  From there on out it was repetitively uneventful.  4 hours after we went boldly where no sane man had gone before we saw the first beer can in the ditch and knew we were back in so-called civilization.
MrsFT may not be a flyfisher, but she is now definitely psycho.

Looking over the forest service map this morning with my morning coffee buddy, I spotted another jeep trail near Criders.  The adventure continues....
Oh, yeah, as typical 90% of the time bluelining, I didn't find a any water worth fishing.

Charter Member Shenandoah Valley Irregulars

Russ

Nice story.  i bet you had some fun ;D.  it reminds me of one time that i mistakenly went 4 wheeling in my company truck.  it's a 4wd ford ranger and i was grouse hunting.  Looking at my map I didn't think the road would be too bad, but once I got going I just HAD to see what was over the next ridge.  After a while of climbing over some serious stuff I came upon some people of 4 wheelers.  i asked them how rough the road ahead was and one of them said he couldn't believe i had gotten this far in my truck. :o.  That made me scared to go on, and i even took a GPS reading and called my dad with the coordinates just in case I got stuck and needed some help.  Everything turned out ok, but it was pretty exciting there for a bit.


badankles

LOL...i'm too much of a wimp to try something like that.  my commendation to MrsFT for hanging in there with you.   :o

when's a newbie no longer a newbie...

Woolly Bugger

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

larrybug

my lexus 400 is smooth as silk right where it belongs on the intersate at 90 mph.  remember to post picts next time so i can see them on my in car plasma


Brent G

Sounds like a great way to spend the day ft ...... ya need to get Mary a psycho hat to wear now also ..... she earned it !!

0--0

Brent G


pelcrk

Absolutely fantastic line ".....from there on out  it was repetitively uneventful ".

great story.

Best,

Steve

It's all good drifts

Damselfly

Now THAT was one of the best stories I've read in a long time!!!
And it makes me just wanta hug MsFT for hanging in there with ya, and even pointing out that slot between the trees- she's our kinda gal!
That musta got the heart pumping.

Remind me to navigate next time we blue-line....



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