The Great Vernal Hope (with Nu Canoes)

When you live in the nation’s rainforest, no matter what the inhabitants will cheerily tell you, winter can be rough. Especially when you are not among the spey steel tribe who looks forward to lashing hypothermic downpours and chest deep snow water.

But sometime, usually about this time of year. Funny things begin to transpire. It snows five inches in town one day. The next it is 58 degrees and you hear a frog croak. Then the trill of a red-winged blackbird. You look into the murk of the local bass p0nds for panfish schooling in the shoals. You scan for that first lily pad.

And when it snows again the next day and it all shuts down — you simply mentally go straight to August. As Ray Carver, Warren Miller, Tom Robbins and a host of diverse creative types have learned: there is no more glorious place to be than the Puget Sound in August. The salmon are running, the sweet corn is coming in, and every day is 75-85 degrees with light breezes off the water. While Chicago, NYC, and the Southern cities are battling air-conditi0ner-induced rolling blackouts, and the rivers in ID, MT, and CO are as lethargic as the fish — salmon and sea-run cutthroat are patrolling the points and salt chucks from Olympia to Blaine. Drop your crab pots, and start scanning for candlefish balls.

As a pean to the glory of summer and days that lay ahead, thought I’d share some warm weather images shot last summer by Jed Conklin when he visited from Spokanistan. The boats are Nu Canoes, a local company here in B-ham that has been making innovative hybrid sit-atops for several years. Wide, stable and with a small square stern — pop a small electric motor on one and they are fairly ideal saltchuck chase vehicles and we also run them for smallmouth over structure that full size craft can’t handle. Thanks to Blake for hooking us up with these, and plans are already in the works: two Nu Canoes plus two 2×4’s plus some tie-downs, a pallete, some plywood, and a lawn chair… and I think this would make a fairly epic, if bucolic, bass boat/party barge.

Summertime; bring it on.


party rafting/dragging for kings



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