We have all of the techy tools to supposedly help heighten our overall experience outdoors. There are GPS systems to help us find our genitals at any given time of the day, high tech clothing to keep us from our own repulsive God given smells, super nano hologram enhanced floating lines, and apps for tracking mayfly hatches along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. There are those video games that allow us to fish in a reclined position, waders or underwear optional. There are fly patterns that are so overdressed and covered in synthetic co-polymers that its hard to believe that there is a hazmat disposal unit that will clean it up if it happened to burst into flames. There is a fully casted social network on the internet filled with creepy guys in front of newfangled fly tying vises claiming they have the one and only “NASA approved true rotary vise”.
Our time is split between our devices and our actual living experiences. If the devices were developed to expand and deepen the outdoor experience then there would be exponentially more interest in spending time in the woods. This is not the case. Simple observation cannot prove me wrong. I can’t tell you how many people I have seen on rivers lately spending time screwing around with their phones and not fishing! Two years ago I heard a guy screaming on his phone in a run above me for 45 minutes. He came sloshing down stream, passed right in front of me, scowled, and said “are you getting cel reception here at all?”.
Last season a canoe on a local stream passed in front of me. There was a little boy in the front of the canoe frustrated and holding a Sponge Bob spin casting rod. His father was busy texting and seemingly having his own conversation in his own little world called “else where”. It brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. As they meandered further downstream I heard an audible grind, they hit a gravel bar and the expletives started flying. Apparently the father dropped his phone inside the wet canoe. The little boy started to cry. So did I.
~Clint Joseph Bova