Charting the course



On a recent work trip to Alaska, I decided to stay a few extra days and had planned a trip to a backcountry cabin 10miles outside of Ketchikan. This was a boat-in or fly-in cabin only, without cell phone reception, and away from the main island and the many cruise line tourists. As someone who routinely falls into the spectrum of introvert, this sounded like a great way to recharge my batteries and a way to get a taste of the backcountry camping and fishing this area is known for.

However, the boat I had originally lined up to get me there had engine problems. After nixing night one in the cabin and working a half day the next on said engine with my friend, dreams of this cabin trip were waning as my trip and window of opportunity were both coming to a close. There were a few other options locally to pursue, one of which was a rental skiff which my friend suggested ... I saw this going two ways ultimately.
In my eyes, option 1 was my ideal:
1) Get boated to a backcountry cabin
2) Kayak all gear from boat to the beach (new experience, but relatively safe)
3) Being versed in bear safety, feel comfortable exploring
4) Plenty of time to take in both saltwater and freshwater fly fishing options
5) Recharge batteries / make the most out of this business trip
Option 2, the rental skiff, presented the following:
1) Boat 10mi across a saltwater channel
2) Driving a skiff solo in unfamiliar territory
3) No GPS or cell phone service - navigation based on visual land masses
4) Strong weather potential to cause socked in / whiteout conditions
5) Fork out extra $ on top of the cabin rental for a boat I was not versed in using
6) Press my luck with a close time frame for flight home if anything went wrong
The more I thought about option 2, and as much as I wanted to not bite the bullet on $60/night cabin that already cost an additional $50 to cancel / reschedule as my work schedule had changed prior in summer, the more I was able to logically reason my way through a decision. Despite feeling comfortable on canoe and drift boat, I realized those experiences were in home-waters and freshwater at that, and both were non motorized. Aside from the fact that my friend had stated he'd feel comfortable in that situation, he was a local and had logged a lot more time in the area / on similar types of watercraft previously. As in many of my mountain based adventures, when the negatives began to outweigh the positives, I bailed on plans even if they seemed like fun. Listening to your gut and/or brains tends to make for a better quality and duration of life in my own experience.
This story exemplifies the current course of the North Sound Chapter of TU. All of us on the board have the gusto to want to bust out project work and start making an impact ASAP. However, life doesn't always present option 1, or the easy path of least resistance. Many times, option 2 rears its head and causes one to tread lightly, think more deeply, and work through a few scenarios before coming to a decision. There is a vast difference between doing something to get it done, and doing it properly.
The reality of the situation is that Trout Unlimited has not existed locally for 60 years, and there is a lot of planning, attention to detail, and a logical / rational approach to integrating our hopes and plans for the community with the community as a whole. These things don't happen immediately, no matter the amount of energy you throw at them - nor should they. It's tough to encapsulate passion and try to fit it into a plan, but there are a lot more head issues that need to be figured out before matters of the heart can take the wheel. Everything in moderation, and surely both will come to a common ground as our group continues chart its course coming up into fall 2016. 
All of that being said, rubber meets the road next month! We have thrown our hat in the ring as a sponsor for the Nooksack River cleanup taking place 9/17 (information here: A shore lunch will be provided as well as a celebration BBQ at Hovander Homestead Park at the boat launch in Ferndale upon conclusion of the float. 
***Don't forget - our first fall chapter meeting takes place at the Brandywine Kitchen in Bellingham, 7pm the preceeding Tuesday (9/13) upstairs in the mezzanine. Lindsay from Amercian Rivers will be our guest speaker and will share about the Nooksack Wild and Scenic mission. There will be a raffle and plenty of good food / drink available for purchase