Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dunking in a Pigeon River Fork

Dunking in a Pigeon River Fork, NC
Dec. 24, 2011

 Cold-clear mountain water rushes through the forest between laurel banks. White capped waves rise up from the surging of current beneath, against submerged rocks, rocks bigger than ones fist. Bigger boulders peak out separating the rush of surface water into uncontrolled cross currents. Large rock formations cause drop-offs, pools and ledges. Off these ledges water gushes over in clear brute-full force plunging into deep pools, the sound deafening. The falling water, into these pools, implodes from beneath, boiling than rising to the top, foaming, in white churning swirls.

Looking through the rush of this clear mountain stream, its bed is a mass of uneven colorful rock. No sand or small pebbles can be noticed within as they are washed up against the banks. Walking across is of uncertainty as these round and sometimes edged rocks shift beneath ones weight. One wrong step, one overconfident stride or miscalculation of cross current can slip ones step and throw you off balance. Your feet reach below for something solid as you reach out your hand for a near by obstacle, be it above or below the surface, to keep you upright.
 You’ll first feel the coldness of water upon your hand and beneath your instantly soaked sleeve. Soon you’ll feel the chill of the mountain stream creeping down inside your waders upon your backside. You’ll gasp from the sudden temperature change, from warm body heat beneath duo-fold and fleece, to the accumulation of seeping frigid water upon your skin! You hurriedly, with no uncertain terms, feel and guide your way to the shallows and more stable ground. You gasp again as the frigid water, against your body, starts to absorb into your clothing to a slightly more tolerable temperature. You look around and find you are no closer in crossing the stream as when you first started out.
 After finding a safer place to cross you continue to fish for a short while before calling it quits.

 Back at the vehicle you find the beer, that quenches your thirst, is in no way as chilled as the mountain water you absorbed earlier.

The few fish you caught in the tumbling, risky water is rewarding and at least something to show for your effort. You smile in satisfaction after you change into warm clothes.


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