When I was 3 years old, my Mom says she had to re-wallpaper my room because the cowboys and indians on the walls were too frightening for me.
I’ve never been afraid of the normal things i.e.: heights or public speaking. You know those long gravel beds on the side of downhill highway stretches? If I so much as glance at a truck arrester bed my heart rate doubles.
Last September, I was working my way up to a deep run that felt like it had potential in Mogul. As I worked my way upstream, I noticed what appeared to be a large fox of some sort. The picture I posted is reposted below.
From time to time, I’ve returned to that stretch. Sometimes the “fox” is there, sometimes not. Either way, I cross the river 100 yards downstream to avoid startling the wounded animal. The law says everything below the waterline is fair game, but guard foxes are not well read.
Last week I went back. The owners had signs posted, so in the interest of avoiding a heated conversation about waterlines with a property owner, and because I was afraid to test my 40m time in waders, I decided to keep my distance. I found some fish that were eager to participate as soon as the sun was off the water. Caddis and hare’s ears did the trick.
Evening crept in, and the sky was crystal clear. The range of color in a desert sunset is unreal, even without clouds.
On my way out, I unintentionally crossed back across the river a little early, thereby cutting the distance between me and the fox down to about 30 yards. He stared upstream, and wouldn’t even glance at me. Something was off. I started making “pssst” sounds like an angry librarian.
Desperately, I started hollering.
I slowly closed the distance between us, and then everything I knew for the last year was turned on its head.
Decoy on a post. Designed to turn in the wind. Real tail. Click the image to see my shame enlarged.