Life's journey can be a complicated path. The young always want to grow older and the older folks want to step back in time and experience something in their past that is or was significant to them. Many migrate to the outdoors because of its sheer beauty and the childhood memories attached to the experience that is the outdoors. My path has changed numerous times through the last decade. There have been two constants during this detour. My family and the outdoors grounded me. My wife has kept me on course and positive during my four surgeries in this less than perfect stretch of the road. I have been very impatient with the healing process of my knees and back. I went out fishing on a couple occasions when my body was not healed properly and paid the price with setbacks. The sitting on the sideline was almost as bad as physical problems. I had to have been an old crotchety fart during this time frame but my wife Barb kept me positive and endured my withdrawal pains from fishing. I have had many days in the last three years where I fished from my recliner. I read many fishing websites and longed for the tug of a large trout on my line. I was looking at my favorite hobby from the outside looking in. It was not a fun time. My down time made me evaluate what I like about trout fishing. I had a hard time sorting out what exactly I missed about it the most. There were many parts to my obsession with small stream trout fishing. You would think with as many times as I went trout fishing through the last half century I would be able to identify what made me tick. I wanted to get back out there so badly it clouded what I was seeing. Earlier this week I decided to hit my favorite early season stretch. I was a little apprehensive about biting off this stretch because of its sheer length. The day before I was to go, I evaluated the weather and the forecast was sunny and warm. The warm part was attractive but the sunny part had me questioning how well I would do. Big trout shun the bright sun. I was kind of looking for an excuse not to go. It was a long stretch. The recliner was growing to my behind and I had decided not to go when the phone rang. It was my friend Josh and wanted to go fishing. I saw this as a sign to get off my butt and get out there. Off we went the next day. I was worry about the long walk and the uneven terrain a lot and I planned numerous rests during the outing. The downed trees served me well as benches to sit on and rest my weary knees and back. The stretch was as I remembered. Josh caught three trout in the first thirty yards..My knee and back pain eased as we caught more fish. Josh and I talked a lot about fishing. We both agreed that one of the things we loved about trout fishing was the blind potential of each cast. The feeling of what lies beneath being an unknown factor was a lure to trout fishing. It could be a monster or it could be a tiny trout. I wore out quickly but still kept fishing and sitting and relaxing. Josh was having a banner outing. For a while it seemed like about every third cast he would catch a trout. My knees were in pain and the trek down the bank to unhook them was the worst then. I timed my casts to coincide with when Josh was unhooking trout so he could unhook mine too while he was down there anyway. We were about three quarters of the way through the stretch and I hooked an absolutely tiny trout. It didn't go six inches. Josh was about 10 yards downstream and I didn't want to bother him to unhook my fish. I slack lined the trout hoping it would get off on its own in the shallows near shore. I looked downstream to summon Josh to get him to unhook my dinky trout when it happened. I saw moment just upstream of my spent little brown trout. The next thing I knew the movement got closer and its back was out of the water. There was a massive trout charging my tired mini in the shallows. It meant to eat it for lunch. It turned abruptly before it could snack on it. We tried everything in our boxes to entice it into returning. It did not. Here I sit in my recliner the next day writing in my log book. Yesterday was a benchmark outing. The things I loved about trout fishing were clear to me. First off was the blind potential that trout fishing gives. The thrill of what lies beneath was a big factor in the love for the pursuit. The overriding tug to trout fishing was clear to me. Where can a fifty eight year old man feel like a ten year old child again? That kid appears every time I go to the stream.