When my husband, Jim and I decided to move from Bozeman, Montana in 2013 to be closer to family, we researched various areas trying to find our forever home, and were delighted to find that Western North Carolina held much of the same kind of beauty that fed our souls in Montana.
The mountains were not gray and tall like the Rockies, but their gentle, undulating ridges, rounded and verdant, appealed to us in a different way. Hidden among those ridges, the many waterfalls and babbling trout streams seemed to promise to satisfy our thirst for the wild, natural beauty we’d become accustomed to in Montana.
When we first moved to the area, we were eager to explore the multitude of waterfalls in the area – 250 to be exact, an embarrassment of riches, to be sure, and only about a 20 minute drive from our home.
Trout streams were not lacking here, either. The mountains of Western North Carolina have around 4,000 miles of creeks, streams and rivers with conditions perfect for trout, the most famous of course, being the Davidson River, consistently is named as one of Trout Unlimited’s “Top 100 Trout Streams in America.”
To the rest of the world, the Davidson is a world famous trout bum destination, but to me, it is my happy place. I don’t go as often as I’d like, and sometimes, I don’t even bring my rod to fish – often, I go to the river to satisfy the longing that builds up in me – the longing to be connected and surrounded by what feels like the pull of the universe – to stand with my feet planted in the river, the cold, clear waters rushing around my calves, watching the river rush toward me, around me and past me.
It is here I can find peace and quiet – the roar of the river drowns out the sound of the traffic from the road, as well as the din of everyday cares and to-do lists that seem to fill my head on any given day. Afterwards, I always feel refreshed, cleansed, and happy. Especially today. In this strange new world of pandemics, face masks and social distancing, it feels amazing to stand in a river and let it flow around me. Let the world melt away if only for a little while. I stood there for awhile, drinking in the sights and sounds of the river, then reluctantly climbed out of the river and up the muddy bank toward my car. I’ll be back soon, I told myself. Next time, I’ll bring my fly rod.