I have been anxious to get back into the mountains on a camping trip, and had an entire weekend planned recently. However, I then was informed of my nomination as my son's kickball coach and the pending schedule, and thought my chances for another trip this year were lost. Thankfully, my wife was willing to agree to my terms, and I found myself packing our vehicle. The plan was for my wife and I to take both our kids on this trip to meet a co-worker and her family at the campground so they could all play together. My son loves to go camping and fish with me, but this would be our 2-yr old daughter's first camping experience. Unfortunately, she started having allergy and sinus problems late in the week, so mamaw to the rescue. We quickly wrapped up my son's practice and game on Saturday morning and hauled tail for Elkmont. I knew from looking at the reservation system that the place would be more than half empty, and would allow lots of space for the kids. Just what I like to see when I go camping!
We found our site, and true to my expectations most of the sites around us were vacant. My wife and I got everything setup while my son quickly started setting up his "gold mining operation" in the nearby trickle of a stream. Thanks Gold Rush! :)
Last time I took my son he was disappointed when he realized all the
other kids had their bikes with them, so I made sure to bring it along this time. Soon thereafter, he was off riding around the entire vacant section of campground.
Eventually, our camp mates showed up, and a friendly game of forest soccer ensued.
As the afternoon wore on, I soon got the urge to go wet a fly. So, I geared up and my son came along with me. We slowly worked our way upstream, with him wading along right behind me. I managed to hook two small bows on a yellow sparkle caddis dry, but they both came unhooked while trying to get my son up with me to see them. Then, the inevitable happened, he fell up to his chest in that cold mountain water, and he was done fishing then. I did make it out later for another 30 minutes or so of fishing about 1/2 mile up Jakes Creek. No fish brought to hand, although I did let a couple more come unbuttoned before I got them to hand.
That night we dined on hot dogs, grilled okra, and a dessert of camp apple cobbler. It was quite tasty!
After everybody turned in for the night, I hung out in the hammock outside enjoying the night air. Around 9:00, I heard something nearby and looked up to see a shadow walking through the woods near our camp. I snapped on my headlight and saw a coyote standing about 20' away just staring at me. It turned and trotted away to somebody else's campsite. Later on that night I was awakened by the howling of a coyote up on the hillside from the campground. That was a pretty neat experience, as I have never been that close to a coyote. I have seen them while hunting before, but never anything like that.
I later learned that a son of our camp mates had seen a wild hog in their campsite the evening before. He didn't tell anybody, because he didn't really think anything of it.
The next morning, I had planned a treat for my wife and son. I woke up early and got a campfire going, and began cooking bacon, eggs, and camp biscuits.
Just before we broke camp to head home I went back up Jakes Creek to try my hand on some better water. I managed to bring 3 to hand, including a surprising tiny brown. All three were very small, but I did have a couple chances at better fish but couldn't connect.
The water was a little skinny, and the fish were a little skittish. However, it was a great pre-autumn camping trip with the family and some friends. Hopefully, we will get another one in this year before the campgrounds begin to close.
The next few weeks will find me with two trips to Colorado, and I am hoping to get some on the water time with the illustrious Mr. David Knapp. Stay tuned for reports from those trips...
Tight Lines and God Bless