Bob Christmann: ‘Memories’

I have kept many of my trips and outings detailed in logs over the years. This has served several purposes. I can refer to them to compare what conditions were then and are like now. I can compare the good years and not so good. (Can’t say there are any really bad ones). I can see where I’ve improved or totally blew it.

I even sometimes record the flow rates and can say: “Oh right, that’s how I could cross the river that day.” I can see exactly where I went on any given day and what I caught. In all fairness, I have also had to include the many times when my brother out-fished me.

I’ve logged the many days out hunting also. That’s where the autumn smells in the Vermont woods ablaze with color are most vivid. It also provides a lot of amusement for me reading my accounts even if no one else ever sees them.

But the biggest advantage is that in reading, I am instantly teleported to a particular day and time, and it suddenly feels like I am actually standing there in time, smelling the air, listening to the river rushing by, feeling the wind, feeling the warmth of the sun, hearing the birds, looking down into the water watching a fish I am targeting. It all comes back instantly for me in pretty good detail as I read.

I often lay in bed recalling these things as I’m trying to get to sleep as I drift blissfully along to the next river. I want to be sure to remember everything. I’m extremely thankful that I can still remember all this considering half my brain had no blood to it for three hours during my stroke two years ago. Some of the files got corrupted, but most have been recovered.

The brain is an incredible thing. It is like your whole life is stored there on memory cards. Certain stimulus will open the file, and you remember things you hadn’t thought of for awhile. All it takes sometimes is a certain feel to the air, the smell of the river or the woods. I love it when that happens.

Here’s another idea. Video record your trips in addition to taking pictures. It’s easy enough these days with a GoPro. Back in 1999 my brother and I made a 45 minute video of one of our trips, much of which documented a three-day trip backpacking and wading up our favorite river in Idaho. It was the most memorable trip ever. It is one of my most treasured things I have. I have a copy locked in my fireproof safe and on redundant back-ups.

I enjoy reading everyone’s accounts of their trips, especially as I must now fish vicariously through them while working through some health challenges and being unable to get to the rivers for now. (Not that I’m missing much right now in the cold.)

I would encourage you all to keep good logs of your experiences so you can go back and revisit the fun times so they won’t fade in memory. Treat them as great experiences, even if you got totally skunked or your waders sprung a leak. You’ll be glad you did some day.

Written through the perspective of someone that has been up a creek a few times.

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5 thoughts on “Bob Christmann: ‘Memories’

  1. Hi Bob … your post is so true. I have kept a log but only for the past 10 years or so since I retired and apparently not as detailed as yours. But, whenever I read the log it triggers those great memories as do the photos taken during many of those outings. When I look back to a particular time range to find river conditions or the flies/technique I was using I usually end up reading more than I intended to. The logbooks are priceless. I hope you return to your favorite river soon.

    Paul M

  2. Thanks for your encouragement to keep a log book. I mused to keep one, but have gotten lazy about it over the past 2-3 years. I’ll get started again this year.

    1. Something in our recent conversation inspired me to write this. In fact, I had to write some of it in my head as I was laying in bed trying to get to sleep. So I will have to blame you for my lack of sleep 🙂

      1. Everything I write is written in my mind while I am waiting for sleep to return, which might explain a certain amount of incoherence.

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