Monday, September 27, 2021
I went into town for a few things. Primary was to call Out of Doors Mart Airstream Dealer in Greensboro and see if they could help me with the leaking fresh water tank. Their first appointment was the first week of December, which is similar to what the dealer in Tennessee said.
Sitting in a parking lot where I could get cell service, I found a couple of Airforum posts on replacing their water tanks. They had pictures, so I could see how the system works. There is a pan that houses the water tank, protecting it against road damage. It is likely that a fitting is the source of the leak. What I was seeing was the pan draining. The cost of a new water tank is about $300 or less, but I didn’t have time to search.
At the Food Lion, I bought two gallons of water, since the water in the park tastes of chlorine. Also bought some fruit and checked out. While I was out, I decided to go check out Bryson City, just 10 miles away. It’s a cute, little town on the Tuckasegee River. It has the feel of a Fernie in British Columbia. There are lots of outdoor opportunities from here – Fontana Lake, the river, white water rafting and many trout streams across the lake. Martha would enjoy poking around the shops here, and there are interesting places to eat.
It took me a while to find it, but finally found “The Scenic Drive”, Rt. 91 along beautiful Tuckasegee River. It would be a nice river to kayak or canoe or fish. I passed a lot of RV camps in all flavors. Arriving back in Cherokee, I went to the hardware store and got the propane tank filled. The man looked frazzled. He said he couldn’t find or keep any help, so he is working six days a week. We agreed people are making more money not working. These are crazy times!
Back at camp, I had lunch and a cup of coffee and read my book for a while. I could have done that all afternoon, as it is very good, but if I was going to fish today, I had best get going. My options were to go lower on Bradley Fork that runs into the Oconoluftee at the end of the campground, or go up the mountain to Chasteen Creek. I opted for the latter. It is listed as a small stream, lightly fished, with brookies in it. I thought dinner might be coming my way.
I walked 1.2 miles up Bradley Fork Road and turned on the Chasteen Creek Trail. I have seen the horses take this loop every day. I turned to go into Backcountry Camp #50. I could see this would be a pleasant place to camp. A sign said the camp was temporarily closed due to aggressive bear activity. I checked to see where my whistle was. I had not brought my bear spray. I was carrying enough stuff as it was.
This is a tiny stream, choked with fallen trees and rhododendrons. I would have thought this unfishable, but the book said it was a pretty good stream. Now I wished I had reread the book. There was a foot path beside the stream, so I followed it up a bit to a nice, little pool, although casting would be tough. I caught a little brookie on the first cast and two more. OK, I was awake now.
I got out and walked the path to its end, where there was a very nice pool. I got caught in the laurels and moss before getting a fly in the pool. I missed a big hit and caught another little one. Well, maybe this was worth it, but I questioned that as I crawled over two logs to get upstream. There was no more footpath. I very slowly worked my way upstream to a bridge where the horse trail crossed. If I could get my fly into a pool, a fish hit it about 60% of the time. No wonder there were fish here. It’s a bear to fish. I worked my way upstream, with similar results, but it was like doing some kind of Army obstacle course. It was also a test of all your trout fishing tricks. I hadn’t bow-lined in a long time, but that one was useful. Dabbing into a hole was good, but the rhododendrons and mountain laurels were so thick, you could not walk beside the stream. Flipping the fly worked a few times, and every now and then I could cast, but not very far. I caught on laurels, bushes, briars and moss, but just had to try to be patient because the fish were here.
By 4:30 I did not have my fish for dinner, but I did not want to be caught in here in the dark. There were no trails into the stream, so the only way out was to beat through the thick laurels. I knew the horse trail was on my right, but didn’t know how far. A voice had told me to bring the GPS, but I didn’t. It would have told me how far the trail was from the stream, or if there was another bridge ahead.
I picked a spot and picked, ducked and climbed my way through the laurels, ever mindful of snakes. Luckily the trail wasn’t far away. I walked up it a ways to see what the stream was like, but I couldn’t really see it. Sometimes the rhododendron and laurels thin out up the mountain, and it looked like they thinned out a bit ahead. As I walked back down, I took a picture toward Chasteen Creek in a sea of mountain laurels. Maybe I would try this again up higher and start a lot earlier.
There are also three forks of Bradley Fork up higher, but that’s 4.5 miles up the road. That’s why there is a backcountry camp there. Maybe I am too old to backpack 4.5 miles, but it MIGHT be worth the trouble. I have seen a lot of people of all ages walking up this road, some with backpacks. On the other hand, I fished my way almost to that camp a few days ago.