How often is it that we miss out on meeting great people and experiencing new adventures? How often have we meet great people, planned to meet again, and left things hanging without following through? Too often we find ourselves staying within our comfort zone, fishing the waters we know best, with the friends we're most comfortable with. I'm guilty of this more than I'd like to admit. This time, I thought I'd start by saying yes!
A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from Octave Zangs , a complete stranger who had found me on Instagram. In the e-mail, he proposed a trip to the Owens River Gorge, a place I'd never been, seven hours from the comfort of my San Francisco studio. Yea....usually that's a no, but thanks for the offer. I'm glad I took time to look into it though, because I found that he'd done some really great work as a cinematographer. He's an avid fly fisherman, former commercial fly tier, and super talented photographer to boot. Making the trip even more enticing, he had invited Jason Fitzgibbon, a wildlife biologist, photographer and passionate outdoorsman. Through the magic of Instagram, Octave had assembled a great team of people with a passion for wild trout, solitude, and the beauty of California's natural resources.
With a plan in place, Octave and his wife headed north from the LA area along with Jason and his buddy Joe Bustos, who also happened to be a great fly fisherman and enthusiastic mountain biker. I threw my gear in the back of my truck and weaved my way through the Sierras to Highway 395 from San Francisco. Upon arrival, I wasn't sure what to expect. In fact, I only had GPS coordinates that led to a random unmarked dirt road on the edge of the Owens River Gorge. Upon arrival, I found two cars, and the silence of wilderness. I peered over the edge of the gorge and saw nobody. I strung up my rod, swung my pack over my shoulder, and headed down a steep single track where the river came into focus. Thats when I saw Joe and Jason fishing side by side and Octave and his production partner Eryc Trammon setting up a drone to fly over the river while we're fishing.
The following 48 hours were filled with great stories of past fishing trips, conversations about the wild resources we love most, and lots of brown trout in the Owens River Gorge and the Upper Owens River. In the end, the weekend was more than I could have imagined. I came away with a resolute determination to explore the unknown more often and seek the hidden creeks and rivers that I only know as faint blue lines on the topo map. I'm starting from yes more often!
Photos above by Jason Fitzgibbon.
Mug shots by Octave Zangs