Camping with a Baby

Loft Mountain Campground
is at the bottom of the map

We did it! We went camping with a baby!

Last weekend, we took David on his longest car ride yet and his first camping trip! He fussed the first 30 minutes in the car and we almost turned back, but thankfully, we powered through it and made our way to the Shenadoahs for a Blue Ridge Overnight.

I pulled the map off another website (Midatlantic Hikes). You’ll see the campground loop at the bottom where you can also see the Appalachian trail (white line) loop around the campground and mountain ridge.

Great job setting up the tent David!
We drove up on Saturday morning with a friend of Sara’s who was visiting with her 4 and 1/2 year old son from Switzerland. After several pit stops for bathrooms, breast feeding, diaper changes and gas, we managed to find a tent site at Loft Mountain Campground in the Shenandoah National Park. 
Now that is a happy camper 🙂
For essentially having no plans, it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. We found a nice site that gave us some extra space, set up our tent and went for a short hike before making a fire and having dinner. 
Heading out on our first hike.
Picking berries. 

The trail encircles the campground. All in all, we hiked about 2 miles. A perfect easy hike through the woods and mountain ridge provided spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Davids
Happy Family. Mom and Dad each with the emergency clip-on baby attire.
The Appalachian Trail swings around the
campground with spectacular views. 
Collecting kindling.
After making a fire, roasting hot dogs and s’mores, we all called it a night. Our Coleman tent (borrowed from Kevin over at Sweet and Salt was spacious and cozy at the same time. We set up a Pack-n-Play in the tent for David and he did great while Sara and I cuddled up on the floor. 
On a side note, Nicole, Sara’s friend was worried we’d see a bear. I told her not to worry as it was pretty rare. Also, the ranger at the station told us, as long as we store our food properly, it won’t be an issue because there are plenty of raspberries and apple trees for the bears to munch on. As we got the fire going we stopped to fully absorb our home for the night only to notice we were surrounded by berry bushes and covered by a canopy of apple trees 🙂 We laughed a lot about that, but not too worry, there were no fuzzy, big-pawed visitors.

A very cool silver spider at the bathroom.
He had to go too, apparently.

We woke early, as we always do with baby David, to have a nice breakfast and start our morning hike to the Doyles River Falls. It got hot fast and the kids were heavy (yes, Nils, needed up needing carrying too). So we trudged back up the mountain and enjoyed lunch before making the drive home at midday.  It was a short and perfect trip. I enjoyed a re-broadcast of Prairie Home Companion while everyone snoozed most of the way home. 
The Upper Falls
I’ve got a Lamb’s Ear Leaf in my hat to match David’s.

Rumor Has it there is a New MLW Video: Does It Get Any Better?

I know. I know. I can’t wait until YGF and SchnitzerPHOTO release their next installment for The Fly Collective. (The first installment rocked.) Rumor has it… (Thank you Adele for ruining that saying for me… rumor has it.. dah dah dah… rumor has it….) anyway, rumor has it Erin Block will be involved. By the transitive property, since they all are amazing, it will be amazing.

But until then, to kill some time (about 3 minutes and 6 seconds to be exact) here is the new My Leaky Waders Video.
 

Does it Get Any Better? from My Leaky Waders on Vimeo.
My last minute trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains turned into a phenomenally successful outing. The weather was wonderful, and the fish were rising. If “Dry or Die” was my mantra, I’ve never lived more fully.

Please enjoy the bounty of Blue Ridge Brookies taken on Tenkara.

Music: Mike Doughty “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
Food: BBQ Exchange, Gordonsville, Va

Filmed on iphone and goproHD

There you go. By the way, rumor has it Adele is taking up fly fishing.

Look at her. She is either A) stunned and the awesomeness of the video, B) ready to toss off that pashmina for a pair of Patagonia Waders (she seems like a patagonia girl) or C) Thinking, “Man, I wish I had some Owl Jones Art for this blank wall.”

What do you think?

__________________________________
Photo of Adele was graciously provided by a google image search. The rumor that Adele is taking up fly fishing was started by me. I do not know Adele personally, and therefore have no idea what type of waders she would buy. I do “know” YGF, SchnitzerPHOTO, Erin Block, and Owl Jones so I am trying to pimp them.

…. And by “know” them, I mean I’ve commented on their blogs and I’m trying to make myself look cooler by that extremely loose association 🙂

When Things Fall in Line

Today was a big day. 
Kevin and I had plans this week to spend Sunday fishing the Eastern Shore for redfish, but the wind and waves had other plans. The local waters were going to be too rough for us, so it was back to the drawing board.

Last night I sat down to decide if I could make a last minute trip to the Mountains. It is a little over three hours drive one way, so, it is a bit of a commitment for a day trip, and there is always that little voice in the back of your head that whispers, “It could be a bust. You could catch nothing. Are you sure the drive is worth it?”
Well, today, it was worth it. 
I happened to have a recent copy of the Blue Ridge Outdoor magazine handy (check out their monthly Trail Mix – Music), and there was an article written by Jack Murray (brother to one of my buddies and cousin to The Man in the Striped Pajamas) that gave a few local suggestions. I found the one that looked accessible and within my 3.5 hour travel range and decided to give it a go. 
I was streamside at 9:45 and water temp was around 50F.  Air temps were in the mid 60s or better and the sun brought out the bugs. We had beatis, midges, beetles, and a couple types of caddis. Needless to say, this put the fish in a feeding frenzy. By early afternoon, water temps had risen about 4 or 5 degrees. 
I tried to count how many 3-5 inch brookies, I caught, but I gave up after I caught 20 in about 30-45 minutes. I was covering a lot of water and the tenkara rod was helping keep things simple. I figure my numbers were around 60-70 fish total, and, honestly, that feels like a modest guess. It was absolutely insane. I missed a couple bigger fish and had a 7 or 8ish inch fish on that I lost due to fumbling with the net. Having not caught many bigger brookies in the Blue Ridge area, I felt pretty good about these close encounters. 
By 2:30pm when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I ran into about an hour block where I landed 5 fish about 7 (+/-)  inches and one that was a solid fish possibly pushing 10. It was phenomenal. 
After the run of big fish, I decided to start heading back and quit while I was ahead. I had another 8 or 9 incher on that I lost, and caught another handful of smaller fish on my way back to the car. 
I capped off the trip with a stop at BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, Va for some good eats and to pick up some fancy cupcakes for my lady who was waiting for me at home. 

Patagonia Teams up with MLW

Okay, I can see how that title might be misleading.  Patagonia really has no affiliation with me, but I did “borrow” their fish logo after reading about their generous donation on this web page which he got from this web page which came from here.

I decided I would make a Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountain version of their trout emblem. I based the image off of the photo below…..

Thanks Family Vacationist!
Now it is time to see the evolution of the Patagonia Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Design.
The Original

I see a little trout; I want it painted black.

Rounding out the Blue Ridges.

Creating depth.

Adding some highlights.

Brighten up that cloudy morning sky.

Here comes the sun.