The cold mountain stream water weaves between and over the shallow pebbles and rocks of a wider section of the creek. The water than narrows into a nice rippling run flowing into an opaque deep pool. At the end of the pool small waves bounce against a bark stripped, half submerged, tree trunk that guides the water towards the opposite bank. From there the water flows against a four foot high mud bank, under an outgrowing bush, and continues weaving its way to a downed hemlock that lies across the creek. The water exit’s the hemlock between fresh pine boughs in wavy riffles. Below this, the main creek picks up a feeder mountain run off, and again flows over rocks, spreading over a wider section. The creek than narrows some as its waters flows around my hip boots. It enters a deep pool with a submerged tree branch against a seven foot high bank. The bank juts out like a peninsula down around the bend before me. The whole while, a drizzly rain sprinkles the water as the sun peeks out, now and then, from behind gray cloud cover adding a little flavor to the peaceful April forest.
I stand in ankle deep water roll casting a latex caddis in front of the protruding branch along the far bank. A splash and I instantly turn my head, downstream, to see a black furry, short eared, animal swimming across a deeper pool of the creek. Not more than 20 yards downstream, off the end of the peninsula, a black bear had plopped into the water. I watch as it doggy paddles across the pool towards the 4 foot sloped muddy bank. With a scampering hunched motion it makes its way up the slope and stands on all fours, motionless, as water drips from his sleek black coat. Water flings from the bears fur in every direction as the bear shakes its body like a furry dog after a bath. He looks both ways than lopes across the right-a-way access lane that runs from the main road, through private property, than into the Allegheny National Forest. The bear disappears among the pines and wooded forest.
I turn my head and continue to fish the waters on this weekday birthday outing. Just another birthday memory while fishing the ANF.