Backcountry Fly Fishing On The Other Side

Hours later, I awoke in my tent in the middle of the night. Wondering what had happened. As I clearly remembered that improbable flash flood blasting me into oblivion. But, for some reason, I just couldn’t remember anything after that…

Except for being surrounded by a velvety blackness for what seemed like an eternity, during which time all things were at peace. And quiet.

And no entity existed in the entire universe other than my soul energy. And the interconnectivity of all conscious beings. Which was all things. Everything. The conscious force that was the universe. God? Jesus? The Great Spirit? Nirvana?

Still, all that didn’t make much sense to me now. As here I was. Alone in my tent. Safe and sound. But how on earth did I survive that flash flood? I mean, I was sure that I was a goner when it hit me a few hours ago?

Somehow, though, I was still alive. Breathing. No, it just couldn’t be.

But, the more I thought about it. The more I became convinced that that flash flood must’ve knocked me senseless upon impact. Yet, my instincts and whitewater training had somehow kept me alive. And in those raging waters, I must’ve somehow swam to the surface. Miraculously made my way to the safety of the far shore. The other side. Then, mindlessly, like a robot, hiked my way back up the trail to the familiarity of the same area where I’d always camped when I came in here to fish in the past.

Yes, I was sure that that was what must’ve have occurred. Moreover, this was also the reason for my loss of memory over the last couple hours. As I’d surely sustained a mighty concussion when I’d been struck by that freight train of a flash flood.

And sure, that all sounded a bit crazy to me. But there simply was no other explanation for my present whereabouts. So I was going to go with it, especially when I had more urgent needs at the moment. Like…

Like, the fact that I had to pee, like a racehorse, at that very moment. There was no holding it back any longer. Still, I hesitated before unzipping my tent.

For some reason, I was afraid of wandering out into the night, alone.

God, I thought, no one is out there. It’s a wilderness area for Christ’s sake! And anyway, it wasn’t even that dark at all, as I could tell by the white light filtering through the tent fabric that there was surely a full moon out, tonight.

So I opened it up, staggering out, looking for a convenient tree in the silver light of the full moon. But I had to go so bad that I just pulled it out in a grassy area a few yards from my tent. Letting her rip.

Then, when I was all done, I just tucked it back in. And, in the eerie silence that followed, I distinctly heard the sound of heavy breathing right in front of me.

In the bright light of the full moon, I quickly made out the outline of a mountain lion crouched down about ten feet away.

Gasping, all I could hear now was my heart thundering in my chest…

Suddenly, she just sprang at me in a terrifying blur. I didn’t even have a chance to throw my arms in front of me. Knocking me to the ground, she was instantly upon me.

The perfect killing machine. With claws, like meat hooks, digging deep into my back and shoulders. And front fangs, like sabers, gnashing for my throat.

I fought back with everything I had. Threw two swift punches, right into her jaw and snout. Heard her bones crack.

Suddenly, she was off of me. Hissing and circling, like a demon in the night.

Cougar hissing and screeching.
Mountain lion circling and hissing at me in the night.
Photo by Thomas S. on Unsplash

That’s when I tried to rise up to chase her off, but found I couldn’t. Then, I felt my own warm blood spurting out of my neck.

She’d gashed me… I’m dying, I thought.

The predator cat sat beside me now. Staring down at me. Probably just waiting for me to bleed out.

Yet, I heard these words I swore were coming from her soul, as I gazed deep into her yellow eyes.

Time to let go. The light is calling you.
And so, it was…

Gurgling up blood. Gasping for breath, I stared up at the stars in the night sky. My eyes focusing on one of them. So distant, so far away.

Stars at night on a backcountry fly fishing trip.
Staring up at the stars at night, my eyes focusing on one of them.
Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

I’m failing. I’m going to die. I thought with the mountain lion watching over me. But my eyes still focused on that single star. That tiny pinprick of light, light years away.

And then, I was gone…

Racing through a tunnel of energy and light. Composed of psychedelic colors and electric sounds, the likes of which were unknown to anyone in human existence.

Rocketing and gliding. Onward, I flew, like when you leap from a great height in a dream. And feel your heart rise in your chest. Oh, the freedom of that flight. With no physical body, or dense vibrations, to weigh you down. Until I reached my destination at the end of the tunnel, where all was just white light for a while… For perhaps, an eternity. As there was no time, no space… And so it went, on and on. With me at rest and peace…

Until the outline of a trail through a forest eventually materialized before me.

A trail, which I began to follow beside an immaculate stream, teaming with trout, while dozens and dozens of butterflies and hummingbirds led me onward. And upwards. Without fear. To a place where the trail disappeared into a fog, as it rose into a high country.

And here, just below the foothills of those golden highlands, there was a glorious pool at the base of a stunning waterfall, just chock full of brown trout, where I planned to fly fish on the other side …

Brown trout in pool below a stunning waterfall.
Brown trout holding in the shallows of a pool below a stunning waterfall.

But before I could, a movement caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. And I saw a man coming down from those golden heights, emerging from the mists. A man whose skin was the color of silver and gold. But he was just dressed in a blue suit and tie. Smiling, he stopped in front of me.

Will you fish it?
I will. I replied, staring at his prescription glasses, then through those magical lenses into his hazel eyes.
Dad? I asked in utter disbelief. They told me you died from a heart attack.
I’m not dead. I’m alive. But I’ve died thousands of times….

Would you like to see some things, as if through my eyes? He asked, noticing me staring intently at the gold frame glasses he wore.
I nodded.

Then, he gently fitted his spectacles on my face.

And suddenly, the answers to all the questions that I ever had just came to me. And numbers and the most elegant mathematical equations just flooded my consciousness. And why things were the way they were. And all the great questions of this earth and universe. Yes, the answers to all these great mysteries were all instantaneously downloaded straight into my soul entity directly from the source of all things… And, at it’s core were numbers, vibrations, and an eternal consciousness.

But, above all else, I was flooded with a love that expanded my soul to the point where I could no longer endure it. And just when I thought that I’d absolutely melt away in this unrelenting flood of love–that my very soul being would just break apart into an infinite number of pieces. With nothing left of me. My Dad suddenly removed his glasses from my face.

Meanwhile, I’d fallen to my knees. Weeping. For my soul could not contain all the pure love that I’d known for just that brief moment. It was just too great. Too infinite.

You must go back. He told me.
I don’t want to. This is my home.
You have to return, son. You must tell them that they are being deceived by the very people they are raised, instructed, and programmed to believe. You must tell them, also, to find the power that’s lives inside of all of us. And finally, that their concrete reality is only a simulation; while consciousness is primary, the creator of all we see.
I’ll stay with you. I refused, rising.

And then, because I couldn’t contain all the love that I felt for my Dad any longer, I simply reached forward to touch his heart. But when I connected with him. Suddenly, he just exploded into a blinding white light. And I was instantly drawn back again in reverse into that same tunnel from which I’d traveled to this highland country…

An illustration of the tunnel of light on the other side.
An illustration of the tunnel of light to the other side.
Original photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

After a long career in the publishing industry, Gary Alan left his corporate job to pursue his next adventures in life as a blogger, writer, investor, fly fisherman, hiker, and traveler. He is the author of the adventure fiction book, 'Big Thunder-Hearted River'.

4 thoughts on “Backcountry Fly Fishing On The Other Side”

  1. Yikes! What a great (terrifying) story! So glad you’re okay! Did you learn a lesson? No more hiking into swollen streams? (Didn’t think so.) 🙂 Stay safe out there! It’s wonderful (when nature is friendly). 🙂

  2. This is great! I look forward to reading more of your material. Hope to see you on the river again soon.

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