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The Unspoken Rules of Being a Badass: A Runner's Guide

The Last Fish

The big salmon swims wearily back and forth in a pool no bigger than a pickup truck bed, curving a body long as my arm to make the turnarounds. He is all alone, and it is the end of the line. He has come back home, to the place where he started, finishing a journey that started here in this creek, a journey that first delivered him to a lake and eventually to a restless home in the Pacific; and now, years later, it has finally returned him to this little pocket of water, a place beyond which he cannot go. He swirls, probing the walls of his bleak prison, his last home.

My son Rory and I stand looking down enthralled. We’ve been searching for this salmon a while now. Driving up this valley north of Seward, Alaska on an August afternoon, we stopped to watch the spawning run in this stream, aptly named Salmon Creek. The road departed a short ways from the creek. We bushwhacked our way through blowdowns and stands of devil’s club to the creek and then worked our way up the stream—unconventional taper for the marathon I’d come so far north to run. We stomped around rather casually at first—until I realized we were in the presence of a bear food bonanza. We have become a bit more watchful now. As the stream grew smaller, Rory, who likes to get to the bottom of things, suggested that we continue upstream until we found the last fish, the very uppermost salmon.

Read the full story by Dallas Smith by clicking HERE

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