New England- photo essay by Bryan Crumpler

Articles, featured, Photo Essays, Photography — By on October 18, 2012 9:16 am

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Do you know what grows on a cube farm? I can tell you from experience that it is not cubes. No, it is a much more sinister crop consisting of boredom and contemptuous callousness. Yeah yeah, I’ve heard it a hundred times before, “ Oh my work life is so terrible” but when you are thinking it to yourself it seems more legitimate…No? So, after the harvest of this spring’s cube crop came in recently the call of the river was creating a deafening roar in my minds ear. It was time to seek some independence from the cube farm life. As I pondered the location that would serve as my sanctification I thought about what time of year it would be and it hit me like a constitutional slap in the face… New England!

The birthplace of American independence would be the birthplace of revitalization on this jolly July jaunt and so I was off to tread the hallowed grounds of American conception. Being a depraved fly fisherman from a region of the country that is deprived of proper cold watersheds, I generally look to the west . There I fantastically imagine the beauty and glory of trout stream s abounding with willing salmonoids longing to fulfill my piscatorial fantasies. This as it turns out was a folly resulting from my limited willingness to expand my horizons. As I dug deeper into the doldrums of the intrawebs I found enough information to get me salivating as I pondered my future in the rivers of independence. A six state tour was in order with a great friend of my childhood who, unfortunately, has not seen the light in the destiny of becoming a deranged fringe walker like myself and my brethren. People make mistakes and this country will provide ample opportunity necessary for him to one day see the light… I digress. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. All on the docket for a six state 4 day tour. A lot of driving, a lot of breweries, and a lot of rivers to travel over wondering “Should this be the one I stop to fish?”

Stream after stream passed under the belly of the man mobile and after several hours the anticipation of formulating an attack was palpable. Recently I have fallen victim to my own big fish obsessions and have chased the elusive ghosts of fishing lore to no avail. This trip I vowed to return to simple enjoyment of every fish regardless of size or allure. It is a blessing to be able to fish at all, and a minnow sized brookie is alright by me. After some local consultation it was clear that this was a prime opportunity for exactly that. Wild brookies and browns. Bitesized and gorgeous. Out came the 3 weights, the dries, the hiking boots, and the maps. Bluelining New England. That’s the liberty I needed.

The first few river stops were mild at best but the comfort of small craft brews and “wicked awesome “ breweries seemed to dull the pain of a misplaced southern boy aimlessly wandering about flailing his arms in a river. After many failed attempts a few days came to pass that were both refreshing and magical. Outside the town of Stowe Vermont, I had one of those days that cultivates the mind and body simultaneously and totally removes the oppression of the “farm life” that had begun sprouting again. After the first step into the river I found myself in a mind numbing soup of dense Vermont fog surrounded by rushing water and vague sunlight permeating the trees enveloping me. Picture being trapped in a tub of Ben & Jerry’s Wavy Gravy with a river running through it…yeah totally awesome. It was a moment of clarity. Everyone has one occasionally and oh how they are memorable. Starting at low elevation pocket water followed more pocket water with little to show until the gradient began to climb.

The passage of the riverbed became a might bit more challenging as the wilderness grew begrudgingly stubborn in its willingness to offer up small stream treasures. Nevertheless, patience paid dividends. Small bugs were coming off and the fog was lifting slowly but the peaceful feeling of independence remained. Caddis got smaller and smaller and still no looks to speak of until the golden stone was sent down from the fishing gods to take refuge upon my arm. A rubber legged stimulator went on and the specks began to stack like cord wood (southern slang for I started catching a lot of brook trout). It was so refreshing seeing the brightly colored char destroy the dry as soon as it touched down only to spastically reverse thrust and head for cover. Browns followed and more brookies hung around and I realized that the land of independence had given me mine. Satiated and grateful the day ended but the trip carried on. Not too much more in the way of fishing excellence but the beauty of a land new to me and dear to American antiquity was thrilling at every point. A great few days to renew the mind and soul. All I can say is God bless America!
C.B. Crumpler

Revive Fly Fishing and Photography

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  1. Jeff says:

    Living in New Hampshire, I can very much relate to each photo. Us northern Yankees tend to take for granted what we have around us. Your pictures remind me to appreciate the little things.

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  2. ReviveFFP says:

    Thanks a lot Jeff. I really did enjoy getting to explore you guys’ area of the country. NH and VT are absolutely gorgeous and I really cant wait to go back. Headed to Maryland next week and fishing the Gunpowder, hope it is as great as the other “northern” waters I have been privileged to fish lately. Cheers.
    C.B. Crumpler

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  3. Axel K. says:

    Hello Bryan!
    I cannot at all relate to the part of N.A. you travelled through because I live where there is not much more than 100 years settlement history, not counting fur trading posts. However, I do like your photo essay mostly because it comes across as honest and there is no bragging.

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