Use Your Map!

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The View From Our Cabin

The View From Our Cabin

By Justin Pickett

While in Patagonia this past winter, I had heard of a small lake from three separate individuals during my stay at the lodge.

I had only been there two days and I’ve had these men explain to me what good fishing it is, and how they’ve all caught some really nice trout, specifically browns, from it. Now this lake is far from the reasons why I came to Patagonia, but by the first night I had already decided that I was going to find this lake.

The days are long during the summers in Patagonia. Really long. The sun is up well before I have risen (usually around 7am) and the sun just finds its way below the horizon around 10pm. The great thing about it is that this provides plenty of time for fishing and exploring. On the fourth day of our trip, we decided to end our fishing by 2pm. The extra time would be for some good R&R, as well as giving the guides extra time to prepare for our three-day float trip that began the next day. Most of the fellas in our group decided to take a siesta. I, on the other hand, had to find this damn lake!

I strung up my rod, grabbed my chest pack, and headed out. 

With the resident lodge dog trotting alongside, I marched down a horse trail that followed a small stream that ran through the middle of the property. Surely all I had to do was follow this stream back to its origin and I would certainly find this lake.

About twenty minutes later I did indeed stumble upon a “lake”, or maybe more like a small koi pond. As I stared at this piece of water, I could see several fishing rising to small mayflies dancing on the water’s surface. Thinking that I must have arrived at my destination, I threw out a few casts and managed to get a refusal out of a five or six inch rainbow trout. I sat for a minute, taking the extra effort to pay attention to what kind of fish I was seeing. After a handful of minutes it was clear that this little pond was the home to nothing but baby rainbows, and this was obviously not the lake that I had heard so much about.

I found that this small stream continued on above the small pond, so naturally I kept following it. Along the way I found an old bridge, some pretty horses, and then I found myself trespassing into someone else’s backyard. Now, this no espanol-speaking gringo certainly doesn’t need to get into any kind of trouble while I’m out by myself. Especially not with a prideful landowner in the middle of nowhere where their way of dealing with folks like me might be the really cheap and effective method. Catch my drift? Oh, and that dog that was hanging out with me… He’s likely figured by now that I’m a dumbass and has completely given up on me.

IMG_2253So after getting the hell outta dodge and back on to what I was pretty sure was property owned by the lodge, I happened to run into a young Argentine, likely in his early teens, on horseback. He approached me cautiously, and I greeted him with my name and a smile. I tried to explain that I was having difficulty looking for a lake with sizable trout that was supposedly nearby. He stared at me as if he were a little dumbfounded. I couldn’t blame him. He did just run into a gringo from Georgia in the middle of nowhere Patagonia. After a minute or so he finally shook his head and muttered, “no se”. So… I barely speak broken Spanish, and he apparently spoke zero English, so the chances of us coming together on this were slim, but I think we gave it a good try. After a few minutes of futile efforts to communicate, we parted ways. I was discouraged to say the least, and to top it off there was thunder rolling in behind me. Dinner would be ready soon and lord knows I’m hungry. Still have no idea where that dog went.

I strolled back into the lodge. That damn dog was sitting on the porch with the other dog as if he were waiting on me. I bet they had a bet going as to whether or not I would come back with peppered ass cheeks.  A little bummed, I threw my stuff in the floor of my room. Louis asked how things went and I ran through the story of how things didn’t go so well. At least I tried I guess. As I began to get ready for dinner I picked up my iPad to check for missed messages and see how things were going on the website. That’s about the time I had my “doh!” moment. I tapped on the “Maps” icon and quickly referenced it to my location, zooming out a little so that I could see the entire property. Shit Damn Piss!!!

You see, had I checked that map before I left the cabin, then I would have known that while I was standing next to that small pond full of little rainbows… the completely landlocked, bigger lake that I was looking for was only 75 yards off to the north on the other side of a stand of trees and shrubbery. Oh, and it was right off of one of the access roads that travels around to the north of the property, which would have been a much faster, and easier walk. You live and you learn, I guess.

Don’t be a bonehead like me. Take your time to look over your maps, especially when traveling to new places. Wi-Fi is just about everywhere, and there are so many resources available to us these days! It’s just plain ludicrous not to use them!

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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2 thoughts on “Use Your Map!

  1. Pingback: Story: Use Your Map! | MidCurrent

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