This is a special outdoors story from when I was about 10. I’ve never told anyone before, but I’m sharing it now because I believe I had the kind of magical experience that we as parents would like our children to have in the outdoors – one that gives them a vision of how simple, special and beautiful life can be.
It was summer, and Dad and I had decided that we would go to Wishon and pack into several lakes to fish, about 5 to 7 miles in. I was excited but scared because I had never done this before and knew that this was going to be Dad’s “breaking-in” pack trip for me. We had a horse and my pet donkey in our horse trailer to help pack in supplies and gear we needed for the next three days. Loading all our gear on the two animals, Dad cinched their belly straps down hard and off we went into the unknown.
There were several steep areas, and I noticed that my fat little donkey was laboring harder on each climb. “Honkey” already was carrying a load before we put the packs on him. We had just gone up our last climb and I was standing on the ridge when poor Honkey collapsed sideways from exhaustion, falling perfectly between two rocks and locking him and his packs into the space. Poor Honkey! He was spent and stuck. Laughing, we undid his belly straps and pulled him by his legs away from the rocks and his trapped saddlebags. We carried his load the remaining quarter-mile to our camp. He wobbled along behind us but recovered quickly in the lush meadow.
First thing, I got out my pole and caught several 8- to 10-inch rainbows for dinner, put up the tent and got ready for the next day at scenic little Cliff Lake. It was more fun than I could have hoped. The next day, I did some local exploring, venturing about 300 yards into the northern tree line. I quietly enjoyed the forest floor, with rays of light streaming into the darker areas. My own world! This was wonderful.
I noticed there was a little stream that bubbled through the trees and I followed it to where it went around some large pines and into some green ground foliage going downhill. Walking around the trees, I suddenly saw this perfect little bubbling pool of water framed by luscious, large ferns. The water flowed through the trees and into the dark pool, then slowly bubbled over the downside lip and into a tiny stream.
As I approached, some gentle beams of light came through the upper foliage and brilliant stones of all colors suddenly burst from beneath the water. It was like opening a treasure chest of priceless gems! The pure, clear running water swirled the incredible colors into one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. It was like I had found my very own perfect “fairy pool.”
Enthralled, I slowly put my hand in and reached to touch the sparkling, translucent gems. Purple, red, deep blues, whites, creams and incredible greens were the brilliant colors running through the sunken stones piled at the bottom of the cauldron. I was mesmerized. It was all so unreal, perfect and wonderful.
I only took one beautiful stone to remind me of the special pool. Somehow, I knew that it was a wonderful gift I had been given. I went back to camp, changed by the whole thing.
Funny, I never found it again. Until today, I’ve never shared this experience. I believe that discovering special things is an awesome form of serendipity to be enjoyed as part of an outdoor fishing life – one that kids need. The vision of that beautiful, perfect place is deep in my heart and goes with me whenever I fish. Maybe you have one, too? I believe I’ll see that little pool again when I get to heaven. Never give up!
Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,