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How to not catch any fish with a plastic bag, a stale granola bar and no WiFi.

How to not catch any fish with a plastic bag, a stale granola bar and no WiFi.

This is part 38,298 in the 4,293,092-part series on things you can do without WiFi.

If you're in a bind and can't find WiFi, you're in luck. There are solutions. [Floating Island Lake, Lake Tahoe, California]

If you’re in a bind and can’t find WiFi, you’re in luck. There are solutions. [Floating Island Lake, Lake Tahoe, California]

We stepped out of doors today. We ventured into lands of no WiFi, not even cell coverage, no electricity even. No lattes, no cheeseburgers and no running water except that from the creek.

Disclaimer: we spent the weekend with friends who have kids 12, 15 and 18. The topic of WiFi, texting and surgical removal of smart phones from the hands of afore-mentioned kids came up one or twice or twice to the forth power.

The kids were concerned, of course. We consoled them and soothed their fears as only parents do.

“But what are we going to do there?” they whined. Their worries were not without foundation for indeed, we didn’t necessarily have a plan of what we would actually do there. In fact, we weren’t even sure where we were going.

“How are we even going to know if we’re there if we don’t even know where we’re going?” they cried in unison and they had a point. We had no answer other than we were leaving and they didn’t need to bring any electronic devices as there was no WiFi, no electricity and no tweets other than those from the stellar jays.

“This is already the worst day of my life,” one of the younger ones moaned. Although if we tallied how many “worst days” there had already been in his short life, it just loses much of its weight. We tried to explain “cry wolf” but he went all logical on us and explained that wolves didn’t cry. Yes, again, they had a rational point.

We weren’t going for rational today, we were going on a hike.

Heat and sun and dehydration and moaning and threats of child abuse echoed among the cliffs and boulders. But dust storms swirled under our feet and seeing who could make their shoes of any color a sandy brown became the game and that got us much of the way up the mountain.

We stopped for sweet nectarines and way-way-past-their-expiration-date granola bars. We threw rocks at dead tree limbs and with a bird-shooing crack and splinters flying, boys rejoiced and threw bigger and more accurate stones until we moved along.

Just about out of oxygen at 7,000-somethig feet, dusty, sweaty, thirsty and tired, we found our lake. Feet dipped, murky waters stirred and refreshed and revitalized, we made camp.

Striped slithering “race snakes” cut s-shapes through the water. Contrary to all adult caution, they boys stayed in the water and tried to catch it. I held my tongue and let them be boys. The snake was far more scared of them and turned around with ease and out slithered them into deeper waters.

As we sat on a boulder a few feet into the tiny lake, we saw dozens and then hundreds of small fish. I was content with watching them swim and hunt for food, dart left and right and stop and go. But I’m not 12.

“Let’s see if we can catch them!”

They tried something of a lasso of long blades of grass. Then bare hands. We got the dog in on the act, but there were too many and he just looked back at us as if to say, “There are just too many guys, I’m going to go lie in the dirt.” They found a small plastic bag from peanut butter filled pretzels and dunked it in the water to catch the fish. But we needed bait. That same granola bar from the Bush administration was making the rounds of refusals so they crunched it up and scattered it into the lake.

It was like we were sitting inside the aquarium. The little flecks of grains floated atop the water and the fish moved in and snapped it up. Soon the boys were hovering over the water, holding the sack under quietly and patiently, but there were no daring fish who ventured in.

They then stood in the water, waist deep and as the fish tickled their feet and probably slurped off the salty sweat, the boys giggled with both fear and excitement.

“They’re biting my feet!” they exclaimed with pride.

I tried not to ask questions like, “So what are you going to do if you actually catch one?” but sat nearby and worked as the granola bar masher and supplied the food chain. I do apologize, dear fish friends, if we disrupted your diet today, but there are trade offs in the world and watching boys be boys was the price of the extra grains in the stomachs of a few mountain lake fish today.

For a few dear moments this afternoon, there was no talk of points and rewards, texts and tweets. Nothing of apps and versions, after burners and helicopter gunships. There was dirt, fish, snakes, rocks, sticks, dust, mountains and nectarines.

No electricity required.


  1. Writing Every Day Beyond 1,000 Posts - […] How to not catch any fish with a plastic bag, a stale granola bar and no WiFi. (Aug 30)…

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