The hill climb past Corryong made the old Fairmont's engine moan. With each tight winding corner came another, then another. It seems like a never ending labyrinth of tight corners, steep descents and hill climbs that would challenge Sir Edmund Hillary. Sometimes the drop off to the side of the road is so steep, you lose your stomach peeking over when you drive. Some unlucky bastards made the plunge, their land cruiser looked a little worse for ware, actually it was a right off for sure. I kept my eye on the road, and we where feeling fresh from an over night stay at a friends house on Lake Hume.
Breaking up the drive for this years high country fly fish was a brilliant idea. I think it's a bit safer than making the trip in a single day. A rest can do wonders on such a long haul. Well it's not really that far a drive, all things considered, it's just the terrain. It takes a lot out of a driver, concentrating on the demanding roads. But we're not here to talk about road trips. It's fly fishing that takes me this high up the mountains each year. It's all about the Eucumbene.
It's a river that has definitely entranced me. I will return year after year to fish it's challenging waters. It has provided me with some magnificent memories and some heart breaking fishing moments. What was in stall for us this year, was anyones guess. This year I travelled up with my mate Raynor, as Jeff had decided to fish Tasmania this summer. Raynor's a keen fisherman and was chomping at the bit to fish the majestic river.
We arrived Sunday, headed out on the water in the afternoon. The water was at a good level, not too low as it had been my previous visit. The water is fresh and clean, so clean we drink it straight from the river. There isn't any stock up here, give or take the odd wild Brumby, so the water isn't polluted. It's mostly snow melt, and it's the best tasting river water in Australia. That afternoon I hooked a small brown on one of my favourite runs. Back in to the water he went, and I smiled like a kid, for at least ten minutes non stop. I was back on the river.
The next two days where magic. We fished long days and had reasonable success. Raynor caught all the big ones for our dinner, while I had a talent for catching all the small fry. But who cares really? It's the time on the river, catching fish, any fish. That's the thing that I've learnt with fly fishing over the years. It's about the process and the experience. Honestly I'm not sure why it's great to be out there, it just is. I don't even really want to try to figure out why I love it so much, I just want to keep doing it.
In the late afternoons and into evening I'd prepare the meal while Raynor would build his famous fire teepee. We'd watch the amazing storm cloud of summer role in, and just take in the view, of which we could see for miles around us. We ate well and drank whiskey on ice.
There is no phone reception. No amenities. No real comfort. We lay on the ground in swags, looking up at the stars and fall to sleep, to dream of trout on hooks and bottomless glasses of whiskey. Until next time, Eucumbene.