Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Deschutes! You Can Never Have Enough To Say

I've written a lot about this river in the three years that "The Quiet Pool" has been in existence but I can never seem to adequately express my feelings after I visit there.
There is just something about the Deschutes that I find over whelming and intimidating. Part of it must be the imposing canyon walls that stand over me like some sort of brooding giant. In the morning, when the sun first starts peaking over the canyon rim to splash the opposite canyon hillside with light, it's a most awe inspiring feeling. To me it's like I am the only person on this wild river and the dawn is the first time my senses get to gather in what I am seeing. At any given time there might be a couple of thousand river user along the central Oregon river but it never seems crowded and it is one place you can experience real solitude. I've never been on another river where I feel that way.
I've always had a fear of the Deschutes. Not an irrational phobia or a sense of foreboding mind you, just a fearful respect of a place that cannot be grasped. I've been going to the Deschutes since 1974 and there is really no ordinary visit there.Whether it is the wind, which has it's own personality, or the canyon which is unfathomable in it's size. The many formidable rapids on the Deschutes taunt the unwise and punish the inexperienced. I've only float this river a few times and it was always in someone else's boat but those few times made an indelible impression.
Of course there are the legendary "serpents" of the Deschutes but I've never been fearful of them once I learned what to expect. As it is I have had only three encounters with rattle snakes and never was in danger of getting bitten.
My visits to a coastal river are mostly a blur except for the memorable trips that always revolve around steelhead or trout. The feeling when I am on the Metolius river is completely different. The Metolius is like a fantasy river. You want to immerse yourself in all that is around you and while it's is lovely in a different way I do not find it intimidating.
I am not a religious person by any means but is it reasonable to think that the river is a holy place?
As far as the fishing goes it's just another trout river mostly. I've fished more productive streams a lot closer to home. The cutthroat trout rivers near me have certainly yielded bigger fish that come to my fly. Fishing the Deschutes and trying to describe it leads to all kinds of sugary cliches and I won't even go there.
While the Deschutes is visited by countless people who use the river for recreation I would bet that those who care about this river experience something different every time they go.
I am not talking about the casual rafter who see the Deschutes as little more than a set of rapids to float blissfully through.
For those who fish this river of rivers what is the emotional you feel while visiting?
It's futile to try to explain the river. I know that there have been many writers with a lot more talent than me that have been left speechless when trying to convey their feelings on something that moves or inspires them. I cannot claim to be a writer and have probably abused good grammar and good punctuation over the span of this blogs existence so pardon my amateurish prose. All I can say to you that have never been on the Deschutes or the Metolius for that matter. Just go and see what best describes your visit there...you will never be the same I promise.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed your take on the Deschutes. You and I have fished the river for about the same amount of time, I think I started back in 75 when we lived in Bend. Now we live in The Dalles and are able to fish the river frequently if we choose. My wife and I dont fish it as much as we used too during the summer just because there are so many other places we havent fished, and we fish there almost every week during the late fall and winter. We may get tired of fishing the Deschutes at times but that usually doesnt last long, the river always seems to draw us back.