Over 50 years ago my brother Chris and I were playing on the huge railroad trestle that spanned the junction of two trout streams in the central Sierra Nevada.
The logging railroad had long since been abandoned, but the trestle still remained high above the creek as well as the redwood water tank that filled the long gone steam locomotives. In 1956 the tank still held water which was piped in by gravity flow from upstream. Our Dad would let us play in the old logging railroad ghost town while he caught dozens of trout in the creek. We would pull the rope that controlled the fill spout and get hit by a 12-inch wide stream of water. We had a great time playing in the water for several hours until our Dad came to chastise us for muddying up his trout stream.
By the 1970s the trestle had been destroyed by fire, and although the old water tank was still standing, it no longer held water. My new bride took a picture of me standing alongside the water tank as a young married guy in his 20s. It must have been good timing, because the water tank collapsed into a pile of redwood boards in the next winter’s snows. As the new millennium dawned I was teaching my son Donald to fish in the very same stream where my Dad had taught my brother and me. There were still a few piles of boards where the loggers cabins had stood, but the forest was inexorably erasing the signs of mans intrusions. Fishing was still just as good as it had always been. You could still catch and release 50 trout a day without too much trouble.
Last month, I decided to return to my old fishing haunts. My old high school buddy, Jeff West, had wanted to learn some basic fly fishing and we decided that Trestle Creek was a perfect place to try it. After 50 years there was almost no sign of any human activity at all. The only thing that remained was the creek and the fantastic trout fishing. Jeff and I had no trouble catching feisty wild rainbows. Another thing that had changed was that the hills seemed much steeper than before or was it that I was 50 years older and 50 pounds heavier?
On the drive out we stopped along the way to admire the old steam donkey that sits in the forest near the Boy Scouts Camp John Mensinger. Although it is still an impressive example of the ingenuity of a bygone age, the steam donkey is slowly is irretrievably rusting away and someday will disappear into the forest floor. As we turned Jeff’s jeep around we spotted a huge wild turkey accompanied by a clutch of about a dozen chicks. It made a great highpoint to a great day.
It was comforting to know that while most things are constantly changing, some things remain the same. While mans works crumble back into dust, the wild Trout of Trestle Creek remain as plentiful as ever and the wild turkeys still roam the woods for the scouts to see.
Until Next Week,