Jerry's View: The devil made him do it

One cold winter day Dave Stamborsky and I were searching for a likely place to catch a steelhead and I convinced him we should try the Hamma Hamma on the Olympic Peninsula. This is a short and narrow little stream that flows out of the mountains and empties into Hood Canal.

I had fished it before but never in the winter.

Too small to use a boat we decided to hike up to the famous Blue Hole where I had caught summer run fish before. He had never heard of the famous Blue Hole but he was entranced.

When we got there at about eight in the morning we discovered that there was about three feet of snow on the ground that had been crusted over.

Dave is a big man and athletic, a former football star at Highline High. He outweighed me by 20 pounds. We looked at the crust, tested it in our hip boots and decided it was okay and started up the river. It was easy hiking for a bit and then he broke through. Up to his knees.

I was able to stay on top. He was able to extricate his leg and got about four feet more when he broke through again. Luckily I was moving along easily, urging him not to give up. And encouraging him by painting a picture of the great fishing awaiting us at the Blue Hole, only about a half mike upstream.

He showed admirable spirit and determination as he broke through on every step up to his crotch. I felt a little guilty because I was able to stay atop.

He was not too happy after about two hundred yards and was not bashful about telling me my idea of scoring big at the Blue Hole had dubious appeal for him. I suggested that he just lay down on the frozen surface and I would just skid him along like a log. He failed to see the humor in this.

I then suggested he get on his hands and knees and spread the weight around or, if he wanted to go back that he sit down facing East and I would push him back to the car like a grocery cart as it was downhill and if he got going too fast he cold use his hands for brakes.

That ended our quest for steelhead for that day. He agonized his way back to the car and would not be placated till he got some hot coffee.

As we started for home he said, "You got a lot of crust, Robinson. Next time I pick the river."

A month later we arranged a trip to the Cowlitz and I drove to his house at dawn and helped him load up his jet sled and we headed south in his big pickup truck.

We stopped at the Poodle Dog in Fife and had some breakfast and then with spirits high headed off down the freeway. He was driving when he suddenly pulled over on to the shoulder announcing he had a nature call. He left the motor running, turned on the blinker lights and got out and walked around his rig to take of his problem hidden from cars whizzing by.

Then the devil made me do it. I slid over to the driver's side and started slowly driving the pickup along the shoulder while Dave shuffled his feet forward shouting and shaking one fist at me.

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