Two Coal Barons, One Overdue Bond Payment and the End of an Era FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Jodi Xu Klein and Tim Loh for Bloomberg News:Both men worked down in the mines, in helmet and headlamp, digging out the coal that would one day make them piles of money.As early as Tuesday, the mining empires the two men built from scratch could start to crumble.Billionaire Christopher Cline, 57, hailed as the savior of the Illinois coal industry, is the founder of Foresight Energy LP, which has until March 15 to pay $23.6 million of overdue bond interest.Industry champion Robert E. Murray, 76, would suffer with him. The company he created, Murray Energy Corp., paid $1.4 billion in April for a 50 percent stake in Foresight. A default would wipe out that investment.So far the two titans have survived the U.S. coal industry’s worst downturn in decades, a result of tough environmental policies, a flood of cheap natural gas and slowing global demand. In the last two years, at least six U.S. coal-mining companies have filed for bankruptcy, restructuring a total of $23 billion. With a boost from fracking, the U.S. produced more natural gas in 2015 than it ever has, while U.S. coal production fell last year to its lowest level in decades and is projected to fall even more this year, according to the Energy Information Administration.Now Cline and Murray are inextricably linked but unable to agree on a remedy, according to people with knowledge of the matter.“Here you have the two most successful visionaries in the U.S. coal industry facing a level of challenges they probably never had to deal with before,” said Matthew Duch, a money manager at Calvert Investments Inc. who oversees $12 billion. “You can be the best operators in this industry, but you can’t do anything about the demand that’s evaporating.”Full article: Two Coal Barons, One Overdue Bond Payment and the End of an Era
Peabody, Before Bankruptcy, Began a ‘Downsizing’ in Step With a Vastly Smaller U.S. Coal Industry FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Taylor Kuykendall for SNL:Peabody Energy Corp. appears to be stepping up to take a major step in the downsizing of the U.S. coal industry, a trim many believe is necessary to stabilize prices in the oversupplied market.An analysis of early U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows drastic production cuts across the company’s coal portfolio. The struggle to “rightsize” supply has been a frequent topic of discussion within the industry, particularly as a reluctance to shut down production has created so-called zombie mines that produce with little profit or even a loss.Ted O’Brien, CEO of Doyle Consultants, said at a recent coal industry conference: “At the end of the day, the industry needs some sort of radical change. The market will not bail out the coal industry this time.”Peabody’s total operations reporting so far were down 30.1% year over year.Full article ($): Ahead of bankruptcy, Peabody cut production at nation’s largest coal mine by a third
U.S. Energy Policy Under Trump Puts China in Charge FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Vice:When people look back at Donald Trump’s first year as president, they’re likely to be perplexed by his actions on climate change. They will see an administration that put climate deniers in senior government positions during a year of record-breaking natural disasters, did everything it could to save a dying coal industry as jobs in renewables exploded, and exited from an international climate treaty that both environmental activists and Fortune 100 companies supported. And this is all despite the release of a government report that there is “no convincing alternative explanation” for climate change other than human activity—more evidence, if you needed it, that this is a problem that urgently needs attention.“People would look back and think, ‘Boy, that was certainly an aggressive effort to go directly in reverse’” of the direction we should be heading, Todd Stern, the United States special envoy for climate change under Barack Obama, told me. No matter how you interpret it, Stern said, 2017 is a “pretty bad” year for federal US climate policy.Future observers will be even more perplexed when they look at what China was doing during the same time period. The top geopolitical rival to the US announced $361 billion in spending on renewables, moved to shutter hundreds of coal plants, mulled a ban on gas and diesel-powered vehicles, and officially stated its intention to be a global climate leader. “The policy direction is very clear,” said Li Shuo, the Beijing-based climate policy advisor at Greenpeace East Asia. “[Low-carbon technology] is an area where through policy support [China] can really get an upper hand economically.”Trump has said he is putting “America First” with his actions on climate change. But in reality he is willingly surrendering vast political and economic power to China. “It’s hard for me to identify a strategy in much of what this administration does,” Joseph Aldy, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard and a former Obama administration official, told me. Yet the contrast between China and the US on climate change could not be clearer. “One of the countries has a leadership that’s operating in the 21st century and the other is operating in the 20th,” Aldy argued.This only recently became the case. During the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen, China blocked US efforts to create a globally binding treaty, arguing that it would unfairly restrict China’s economic growth. But China was struggling with horrific air pollution. It was also investing billions in low-carbon technology. Stern began meeting in secret with negotiators in China and “we found a way to work together,” he said. Those discussions resulted in a historic joint promise from the US and China in 2014 to strengthen “bilateral cooperation on climate change.”That may sound like diplomatic jargon. But this unlikely alliance between the US and China was a massive step forward in the global fight against climate change. It made possible the international climate treaty that was negotiated in Paris in 2015. After Trump won the US election and vowed to exit from the Paris treaty, observers wondered if China would also pull out. But any doubts were dispelled in early 2017 when China’s President Xi Jinping said that “the Paris agreement is a milestone in the history of climate governance. We must ensure this endeavor is not derailed.”China backed that up with a promise to invest $361 billion in renewable energy sources by 2020. Its National Energy Administration predicted this would create over 13 million jobs. China is also investing in clean energy outside its borders, spending $32 billion in 2016 alone, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. China now owns the biggest wind turbine manufacturer in the world and five of the six biggest solar module builders. “It really sees this as a new and emerging sector,” explained Li, and its goal is to “gain an upper hand globally.”More: Trump Is Quietly Surrendering to China on Climate Change
Outdoor news for March 12, 2013Blue Ridge Parkway Weekly Ride StymiedOne would think that cycling and the Blue Ridge Parkway are like peas in a pod, a perfect fit. Mostly, they are, but in recent years growing tension between cyclists, motorists, and the National Park Service have been prickly to say the least. In this magazine, as have countless others, we have written about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to cycling the parkway – one of the greatest rides east of the Mississippi, if not North America. Dan Casey of the Roanoke Times is reporting that the Blue Ridge Cycle Club‘s weekly Tuesday Night Ride – in existence since at least 2002 – is in jeopardy due to the park service enforcing rules they had not before, including requiring insurance, a permit, and billing for a police escort. The bills could run into the hundreds of dollars per ride, which the small club is not in the position to handle. The article cites some of the mounting problems of the BRP including budget cuts, maintenance backlogs, and unfilled staff positions. Whether this is an effort to raise revenue or just keep cyclists off the busiest sections of the BRP, it kind of stinks.Delaware…Hi, I’m in DelawareDelaware may not get much respect from Wayne Campbell, but it is trying to gain the respect of the National Park Service and the rest of the country in general. Representatives, community leaders, and preservationists from Delaware and Pennsylvania are pushing Congress and/or President Obama to designate 1,100 acres of the Brandywine Valley to become the next national park. The Diamond State (Delaware, if you didn’t know that) is the only state in the nation without a national park, and have been advocating for one for over a decade. The Brandywine Valley straddles Del. and Penn. and is primed for park status, having been bought by the Conservation Fund, and is already a popular spot for hikers and anglers. It also holds much historical significance and would be deemed First State National Historic Park. With all the financial wrangling in Washington, this may seem like a longshot, but if anyone can pull it off, Delaware can.Double Trouble in Great Smoky Mountains National ParkA couple of incidents left outdoor enthusiasts with serious injuries in Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the weekend. A 65-year-old man from Ontario was very seriously injured when he flipped his canoe above The Sinks and was pinned underwater for 30 minutes. Following resuscitation, he remains in critical condition at Blount Memorial Hospital. In a separate incident, a 55-year-old man had to be rescued from Mount LeConte after slipping off the trail due to ice. The man fell about 70 feet down a slope off the Alum Cave Trail Saturday suffering sever lacerations. He was in stable condition when leaving the scene for Tennessee Medical Center. This is just a reminder that the worst can happen at any time. Be careful out there.In Other News…A look at how the Sequester may affect the outdoor industry via Verde PR.Another look at how the Sequester will affect National Parks in Virginia via the Richmond Times Dispatch.White-nose syndrome confirmed in South Carolina via Whitenosesyndrome.orgA look at the invasion of non-native trout in the Smoky Mountains via National Geographic
Your daily outdoor news bulletin for October 3, the day O.J. Simpson was acquitted in 1995:Leaf Peeping Party PooperOf all the things that don’t work during the current government shutdown, our National Parks are getting a lot of press for being closed. There is the political grandstanding and posturing at the World War II Memorial in D.C., the lost hikers in Crater of the Moon park in Idaho that may or may not be rescued by federal employees, there is the angry rafters at Grand Canyon National Park who have waited years – decades even – for their permits only to be stymied a the put-in, there’s the Panda Cam. It’s a mess for sure, and the economic impact is huge: estimates peg the total daily economic loss at $76 million with D.C. ($5.8 million), North Carolina ($4.4 million), Tennessee ($3.4 million), and Virginia ($3.3 million) all coming in the top 10 states with the biggest loses. Even for people in the government, that’s a lot of money. Although the Blue Ridge Parkway will remain open – the actual road, not the amenities – Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park remain closed. This includes all trails, visitors centers, etc. The month of October is one of the busiest months for both these parks, with GSMNP drawing upwards of a million visitors, all of whom have one thing in mind: leaves. The changing colors of the epic expanses of forests is one of the main reasons these two parks are so popular during the fall season. Most national forest trails remain open, even if the facilities are closed. There are some people who will still be able to enjoy our national parks however, those with leases to drill and those that want to log the forests. And then there are the small acts of civil disobedience like the situation at the Pisgah Inn.BEARS! THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!Over the past couple of weeks, a spike in bear activity has North Carolinians on edge. They only have one party to blame, and no it’s not the government shutdown – although I’m sure it hasn’t helped authorities deal with the bears. No, they can blame that smallest of nuggets that always tend to stab you in the sweet meat on the bottom of your arch when you walk barefoot to the mailbox: the acorn. A poor acorn crop in the high country has resulted in more bear activity in valley communities like Asheville as the winter hibernation season comes on. Bears are looking for food, and when there is a shortage, the easiest place to find it is in the trashcans of their neighbors, the hungry humans. Although they are mainly on the hunt for acorns at lower elevations, which are plentiful, a bear sighting at Asheville High School put that school on lock down yesterday, and a bear cub was hit by a car on I-26. Experts say to expect the increase in bear activity at lower elevations to continue through the fall and into the winter.Fracking Tearing Up Pennsylvania ForestsThe process of extracting natural gas from the ground via hydraulic fracturing is a relatively new process, and remains unregulated by the EPA, and as such has unknown impacts on the environment and communities. Some of those impacts are known – West Virginians lighting their tap water on fire is the example that immediately comes to mind – but now some more in-depth, more insidious, impacts of fracking are coming to light. A survey has revealed sweeping damage at fracking sites in Pennsylvania, one of the most controversial states when it comes to fracking because there is much public outcry but the states sits on the Marcellus Shale, which many consider the motherlode of deposits. Aerial photos and analysis reveal that fracking is causing sweeping damage and forests fragmented by new well pads, roads, and pipelines. Even a small amount of well sites have a major impact on the surrounding forests, and a deeper look at how ecosystems work reveals why. The theory of island biogeography says that an area’s diversity plummets when habitat is broken up into smaller pieces, as is happening where these drilling sites are, because some animals can only survive in the depths of the forest, not around it’s edges.Read the full story at grist.org.
The past decade has seen an explosion of new “challenge” events geared towards being inclusive to more athletes, while adding unique features. Mud runs and warrior runs have replaced the venerable trail run, while trail ultra-marathons continue to grow. In the cycling world, the Gran Fondo has emigrated from Europe to America, with new events popping up all over the country, while the sport of cyclo-cross has experienced an enormous surge in popularity in the last decade. But before all the boutique events, there was the Iron Cross. Billed as North America’s original ultra-cross race, the Iron Cross could be described as part Gran Fondo, part off-road adventure, mixed with a little cyclo-cross to create a day of awesome views and challenging fun. It’s no wonder why I jumped at the invite to come up and race the lucky 13th edition!Iron CrossThe Iron Cross was hatched in 2003 by longtime road racer and cycling advocate, Mike Kuhn. The guiding principles of the event are: 1) take care of every racer, and 2) there’s no such thing as too much suffering! From its humble beginnings, though, the Iron Cross has become known as one of the premiere ultra-cross events in the U.S. And while the race has evolved, and grown out of its original course venue in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park to its brand new home starting in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the heart of the race remains delivering an event for every racer, and, as I can attest, loads of suffering. The CourseStarting and finishing in downtown Williamsport, the race winds itself out of Williamsport in just a few short miles. No sooner have you left town than you’re hitting the first of six big climbs, making your way upward 5 ½ miles past Racoon Mountain. There is little time to rest, however, as you head onto the open roads and the potential for serious head and crosswinds for about 3 miles before hitting the mile long “wall” on Route 44. The climb averages 9 percent, but has pitches between 15 and 23 percent. From the summit of Route 44 you are treated to a spectacular view and a 3 ½ mile descent that plunges you down nearly 1,400 feet to Elimsport, not far from your first aid station. Early in the race, many tend to ignore Aid 1, like me, but it’s a great feature for those wanting to travel lighter on the first climb.The course then grinds its way up the road before hitting the dirt once more with the 1.6 mile 3rd Gap climb, which averages about 7 percent, but stings with a few pitches above 15%. Any thoughts of relief, though, are premature, because the course hits a series of rollers for nearly 5 miles before reaching a steady 4 mile downhill section that passes aid station 2. At the halfway point, Aid 2 is good place to restock your fuel, or pick up personal items delivered by the race. Once past Aid 2, the race tackles some of its best suffering in the final half, starting with the 4 mile climb up Walters Road.On paper, Walter Road is the easiest of the big climbs, averaging just 5 percent with pitches of just 15, but at more than 2 or more hours into the race, this climb seems to go on forever. With so many miles left, I opted to ride conservatively, which extended my pain to more than a half an hour. Once at the top, you’re treated to a combination of rutted dirt fire roads and some rocky, technical single-track descents, before beginning a slow single-track grind to a hellishly steep torture session masquerading as a “run-up”. There is nothing runnable about this march up the mountain. I also learned thats its impossible to shoulder my 29er. According to Strava, it took me 16 min to plod the half mile hill. Strava also says the average grade was 21 percent, with several spots nearly 40 percent! But all this brutality had its reward, in the form of the long-supported Larry’s Tavern, which featured fresh venison and ice-cold beer. I passed on the meat, but gladly refreshed myself for the final 15 miles. And if that wasn’t enough, I was treated to my first snow flurries of the fall.After an easy 5 miles down to Aid 3, I thought the better part of valor was to stop and fill up my bottle and grab some food. I have to give props to Kuhn and huge props to all the race staff, because the rest areas are fully stocked and these folks were awesome help on a frigid day. While the 3 min stop may have cost me time, it was far better to avoid a major bonk in the last hour. As it turned out, the screaming fast descent from Aid 3 and Jacks Hollow, was followed by a painful 2 mile climb up Lorson road and then a series of rollers before the final 5 mile plunge to Williamsport. As the race hits the final 5 k, the Iron Cross throws in some tricky off-camber cyclo-cross fun before dumping you onto the flat, fast run to the finish, and some hot food and cold beer of your choice!Post-race ReflectionsIt’s been a long time since I’ve competed in any mass start bike races, so this was a great way to come back to the sport. I honestly cannot say enough about the event, because it has everything you want. In an era where many races look to cash in first, and leave you wondering how you will find the route or carry your gear, Iron Cross gives you the support from the start. You can leave drop bags that are delivered to each aid station, or you can drop stuff off as you go. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the course simply amazing. The prizes are pretty awesome, and even if you’re not an award winner, you still go home with cool shwag. And most of all, you get as much suffering as you can dish out! And while this year’s race was a bit frosty for me, it was great to catch up with an old friend, and get to revisit much of what I’ve always loved about the sport of cycling.My Iron Cross by the numbers32o F was the temperature at the start; I never saw anything above 40.65.1 miles4:53:00 was my finish time6,873 ft of climbing3042 kJ expended208 W Norm Power*I also consumed 3 Honey Stinger Bars, 3 Waffles, a bag of Stinger Chews, 2 L of Skatch Lab Matcha and Lemons drink mix, 1 L of coke, and a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. As well as an entire 14” pizza and a Fat Tire ale after the race.
Before it was a set aside for posterity as one of the nation’s first national parks, the land within what is now Great Smoky Mountains National Park was home to thriving communities of Southern Appalachian highlanders.Now, that long-ago history is being detailed in an intriguing way by local author Gail Palmer, who’s new book “Cemeteries of the Smokies” was just published by the Great Smoky Mountains Association.In addition to a genuine chronicling of Appalachian lore and legend, the book serves as an extensive graveyard guidebook, listing nearly 5,000 graves along with their GPS coordinates, spread out across more than 150 graveyards within the park. There’s also a 96-page list of graves that were relocated before the flooding initiated by the construction of Fontana Dam in the 1940’s.Learn more about Palmer’s book here.
I love getting to make photos for a living, I can’t imagine having to give that up and do something I hate in order to pay for a roof over my head. In this life, we are all going to have some sort of a home, transportation, clothes on our backs, and food on our plates…some just fancier than others. I think it’s what you do every day that matters a whole lot more than what you have. Another big factor is I don’t ever want to feel stuck. Now I can go anywhere I want, and be right at home. I’m sure it also helps that my other half has a 3 and a half year in the making Pinterest collection on school bus conversions. I do not have it completely finalized yet, but basically, it will be a book documenting what a year living outside could look like, from some of the most beautiful places in the US… to some not so great times. It will be a blend of images / paired with journal entries from the time period to give a raw and honest take on it all. My biggest goal for it is to inspire people to get out and travel more, maybe live a little simpler in trade for a life a bit more full of experience and travel! Q&A with Steve Yocom I do remember some low times, however. At one point I had friends ride along with me back to back for almost 2 months. After they left, I got to the most beautiful beach in Oregon, and I remember wanting to turn around and scream, “Isn’t this amazing!” I think happiness is always better when shared, but there is also something incredibly powerful about solo travel too. YOCOM: The Year in the Wild project was definitely a best yet. It’s going to be hard to top but I’m definitely planning on trying. This year I’ve gotten a lot more traction with travel work and I’d like to keep heading in that direction too. BRO: What (so far) has been the adventure of your life? YOCOM: A brewery reached out saying they needed some help with some photos, and in return, they would pay me $2,000. My day job at the time was starting to shift into a not so great situation. It definitely got the wheels spinning. BRO: What were your top things to bring with you to live on the road? He’s about to take on a whole new adventure, but this time, with bigger wheels. Yocom, his girl friend Jordan, and their pups are turning an old school bus into their new home, keeping their dreams big and their footprint small. Photo goals – I’d really like to keep growing. I have dreams of being an ambassador for Sony or getting to go on assignment for Nat Geo one day. For now, I’m just excited about working with the Appalachian Adventure company this year. We guide folks on trips and document them too so folks can have some professional grade memories to hold onto. We are also hoping to host more cleanups, “how to” meetups, and more for 2019. The bus, on the other hand, is going to have pretty much everything a normal home has. I have friends in New York City whose apartments are actually smaller. We may be sacrificing some space compared to most, but I’m a firm believer in minimalism and living a green life so I’m excited about it. YOCOM: The highs consisted of some of the happiest times in my entire life. Sunrise hikes with the pups and coffee, and then it was back to the truck for a big breakfast. I’d edit a bit and catch up on “work” stuff. Then we were off to explore mountains, waterfalls, beaches, the desert or whatever was at our back door that particular day. Doing that in all the places I’ve always dreamed about, and then getting to photograph them, was truly special. BRO: How did you decide to switch from truck life to bus life? Professional photographer Steve Yocom lives a life of passion and adventure across the country. Living by his life motto, “Collect memories not stuff,” and with not much more than his camera and truck, he travels to some of this world’s most beautiful places, creating stunning photos for us to drool over. BRO: What were the highs and lows of truck life? YOCOM: I’m actually really looking forward to it, after a year traveling around in my truck I kind of figure a bus will feel like a palace. I guess one worry is driving that thing. Jordan said I did great but it’s definitely going to take some getting used to driving a 36ft vehicle on these mountain roads! BRO: What was the first photo you took seriously that started you on the path to becoming a photographer? But I think if the difference between going and not going are a few cold showers and a little discomfort, I’d do it again a million times over. BRO: What does the future hold? YOCOM: I tell people photography is easy. It’s just being there at the right time is the hard part. I lived in Haywood County for a while, so a large majority of my best work is there. With the ability to stay at locations comfortably, and have more time to truly get to know them I feel like I’d make better art. Along with getting to stick around until the right conditions take place is key too. YOCOM:We will probably stick around here for a bit, we hope to buy some land or find a place that can be our home base so to speak. Once we are finished up with projects here I’d love to try and make a plan with my clients like last time where we set up product shoots all around the country. I had products to photograph and clients could sign up for “x” amount of locations to have pictures of it in for “x” amount of dollars. At one point we would love to spend a summer in Alaska and then maybe a winter down on the Baja of Mexico. I have dreams of hosting photography workshops all around the country along the way too. Most of mine have been local but after taking some students to Havasu Canyon last fall I definitely want to offer trips to some of my other favorite places too. BRO: What are you sacrificing by living out of a vehicle and or transitioning from a truck to a bus? YOCOM: Stay simple. Have only what you need with you or it can be overwhelming at times. I remember sending a giant box back to my friends on my third week. Learn about BLM and national forest rules. Most people don’t realize you can camp for free in many places. Try to make plans and do your research on what to do, but also leave plenty of time to explore. Try a locals’ spot or stay longer if you absolutely love it. And most of all stay conscious of why you are doing it. Maybe it’s to travel, maybe it’s to save up for a home. Keep your goals written down somewhere you can see them every day and it’ll make that not so great times a little better. BRO: Bus Goals? Life Goals? Photo Goals? BRO: Any concerns about bus life? YOCOM’S TOP GEAR PICKS: Bus goals – We hope to have our bus finished by May, I’ll be posting updates on IG, and more in-depth ones on my website if you want to follow along. We are also bribing helpers with beers and pizza ;P Life goals – I’d like to make some longer trips internationally take place, maybe a Patagonia and back trip in our home on wheels or something one day. I’d also like to become better on the business side of things. Taking pictures comes easy, but the rest of it can be difficult for me at times. YOCOM: BRO: Tell us more about your motto: “Collect memories, not stuff.” YOCOM: Travel is a big chunk of my spending budget, so t’s kind of made me take a second look at everything else and re-prioritize. There are many things in this world trying to make us think we need more stuff. When really I think that most of us have everything we need, I know the trips I go on I’m going to value and remember a whole lot longer than say a fancy new electronic or a closet full of clothes I never wear. YOCOM: “Trucklife” was difficult at times. I couldn’t afford an awning, so there were times I’d have to cook in the rain. In busy areas, it’s sometimes hard to find a place to camp for free. Boiling water to add to your shower tank on a cold day is tough, and sometimes there’s the desire to just be on a couch in a warm house watching Netflix or being able to spread out and stay dry. YOCOM: My biggest are fly fishing, music, mountain biking, cooking, and just spending time with Jordan and the pups. BRO: How does this way of life tie into your photography? Why is it important to you? BRO: Any advice on vehicle life? All photos courtesy of Steve Yocom. For more of his work visit his website here: http://steveyocomphotography.com/ Yakima Rooftop tent – spacious, comfy and easy to set up Wool layers are an absolute favorite – it stays dry and doesn’t hold body odorA Dometic CFX Cooler – keep all your food/beers cold with minimal energyDual battery system with inverter – keeps all your gear charged and camp needs poweredSony photography gearSierra designs down blankets/bagsUCO lanterns – They have LED and Candle versions I loved using the candles ones for light, felt like I had a mini fireplace. Campchef grill – has a burner for coffee and a griddle for cooking on.Spotify and some good tunes for the road! I will say even though I love Oregon, I almost went mad after getting rained on for 3 solid weeks. When chasing his dreams, Steve Yocom figured out he can catch them with a set of wheels. YOCOM: My girlfriend and I were looking at houses, and it just didn’t feel right. We don’t make a ton of money so we definitely didn’t want to get in over our heads or have to stress about mortgage payments. BRO: Any interests outside of photography?
You immediately know when the perfect cast is made for it is not felt at all. The split second it lasts is an out of body experience where you observe yourself from afar, perhaps standing patiently on the bank beneath the farmer’s shade tree as the line whips with an effortless roll across the water to the place you want it to go. You always hope for a bite but the elation brought on by the cast provides its own pleasure, for in that moment, you truly let go. Noah has already succeeded in hooking four trout. Confident that he has beaten his old man, he changes roles from angler to our crew’s designated “fish holder,” a title he proudly announces which is approved with a quick nod by Max and I. Consensus works well in tight quarters along the South Holston, especially with an eight-year-old who is now pleasantly distracted by a turkey sandwich that Max had stashed in the cooler. I am grateful for Max. He will make a good father one day. I hear his compliment and am grateful, but do not turn around, knowing he is now watching intently for a fish as we wait in silence. Everything is calm and bright. From where I stand, keeping my balance, the water reveals massive boulders that look as if they could easily slice our small vessel in two. We are floating above the fortress where the trout invisibly linger. Not long after hearing that story, another guide went back to the same spot, hooking it again and validating our claim. Yet the old fish, smart in sense and defensive of its territory had other ideas and again went free. As far as we know, it has eluded the touch of human hands and is still there today. A quintessential fishing story, this is what has formed a close bond amongst us; and Max, Noah, and I always tell it every year before the new day begins. Whether we are in waders or on a float trip, it has become our crew’s shared tradition. “That fish gave you the middle fin!” For one writer, a float trip down eastern Tennessee’s South Holston River provides reflection as he finds patience in letting go and peace in realizing his son is growing up. I’m glad our crew is together again; the familiarity welcome after an eventful year. Life is never static; there is no pause button and I am reminded of that with each trout’s bite and our conversation in the boat. Max will be asking his girlfriend to marry him in a few days and I am sure he is reflecting on it as he ties a mayfly. I was his age when I asked my wife to marry me, and wish I knew how to fly fish then. I would have been quite happy to take a float trip on the river to reflect. Like I am sure it will be for him, it was the best decision I ever made and the proof is the laughing boy sitting in back of the boat. This time well spent I hope will last just a little bit longer. When I am able, time spent fly fishing the waters of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains is how I like to transition between seasons. It provides the space for personal reflection and an opportunity to let go and renew. I’ve learned to cast well enough now to keep my flies from twisting up; at least most of the time. On occasion, they will catch on a submerged log and I will swear to my son that I’ve got a big one on the line and the adrenaline will pump and I will fight and really believe that there is a trout on the other end. Noah always laughs when this happens. It is infectious and fun to listen to. When I am really dramatic, he will do it until his belly aches too much to continue and then will settle back in his chair, feet hanging carefree off the back of the boat awaiting his next catch. The sunsets as we drive home and even though it’s been hours, I still feel the river beneath me, my legs nor senses fully adjusted yet to land. The ride across the Piedmont of central North Carolina has rocked the fish holder to sleep. Tonight, after I’ve carried him upstairs to his room, I’ll sip wine from a red Dixie cup and reflect on the day well spent. I prefer the cup to the glass. After a fishing trip, it is much more suitable for the occasion. Next year, I doubt I’ll be able to carry my son upstairs; he’ll have to walk. After all, the seasons will have changed, and before long, both of us will be toasting one another with those cups following another day on the South Holston. I have never written about fly fishing and it is probably because I am not always patient when I am on the water. The trout are. They wait and I am convinced they scheme. Noah can match their patience and thus always has more luck than I. In fact, his first time out three years ago along a narrow stream in Boone, North Carolina he hooked what our friend and guide, Max, and I estimated to be almost a two-foot trout lingering in a dark pool. When it jumped, Noah, then five years old, bravely held on while it fought hard, its beauty revealed in the split second it spent in the air, glistening sunlight through the trees hitting its rainbow before it broke away. “Great cast, dad!” It’s not even been an hour and this has already become a popular saying in our boat as we drift down Tennessee’s South Holston River, just outside Bristol. A good sign as it means the fish are biting; a frustrating one because they are prevailing. All I can do is chuckle at Noah’s comment knowing full well I will soon hear it again. He’s enjoying keeping score. Boys do that when they compete: nag, laugh, repeat; much like the proud magpie now in pursuit, calling to our boat from the water’s edge. In that pleasant distraction, another bites and I am once again too slow to set the hook as I listen to the boy and the magpie’s duet. With a smirk on my face, I recast. The thrill of small rapids suddenly gives way to a vast sheet of still glass. Max drops anchor. We have an audience. From beneath a shade tree, a farmer sits on a stool resting, watching us intently, his old pickup parked a few feet away. On the other side, a shy doe partially hidden by brush takes a cautious drink in the mid-day heat. With the sun climbing higher overhead, I know our time on the river is drawing to a close. Nate Goetz is a writer residing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For the last three years, he has gone on an annual fly fishing trip with his son, Noah, and wise guide and friend, Max Beck, from Due South Outfitters in Boone, NC. His work appears regularly in the digital wine magazine, The Vintner Project. As the landing comes into sight, Max asks if I want to stop one more time before calling it a day but I am content with this last catch. I feel patient again, restored, my practice complete. Noah is dangling his feet over the side of the boat again with a satisfied gaze fixed back upriver toward the place where we started. I realize that has been his vantage point throughout our trip and he too has been letting go. Like each trout released today, the boy is in tune with the river’s movement, and I have finally joined him. Max’s command breaks the serenity. The fish jumps just inches above the water, all muscle, ready for a fight. As we spar, I cut my fingers on the line pulling it closer, the trout immediately gaining my respect. Max readies the net while Noah scans the water preparing to hold the fish. Finally, I lift it enough so Max can remove the fly. Now in captivity, it is feisty, an energetic spirit with clear, healthy eyes and rainbow. Gingerly, I present our worthy opponent to Noah and in his hands, the trout calms as he whispers a kind word to it before gently releasing the fish into the water where it disappears. With the act complete, it is time to move with the river again. “Set! Set! Set!” Upon my casting arm is the red delineating mark of sun where my sleeve has been rolled up since morning. I am happily burned, sweaty, yet my face is cooled by the breeze off the six miles of water we have already covered. In these moments spent fly fishing the space between seasons, I reconnect with the natural flow of things, reminded once again that life is not necessarily predictable. That is why I am here today.