I'll now tell you about the scariest fishing trip. I was 12 years old and again fishing the Allegheny River. It was a trip to fish all day long. We went in the morning and didn't plan on leaving until evening. My Dad and I were with my dad's working buddy Red and his son Big E. Red got his name because he was a big Irishmen with red hair and the reddest cheeks you ever saw. He look as if he had been drinking even if he didn't have a drop. Big E was my age and later went on to be a descent division 2 college football quarterback.
We were fishing the west side of the Allegheny River and drive in by car. This part of the river comes directly up against the mountain. I'm sure it was similar to a lot of the West Virginia rivers in that configuration. We drove down the side of the mountain to the river. There was a wooden staircase about 100 yards above the river and the road went down the mountain to a parking place to a bottom that was near the river.
We had fished until close to nightfall and had caught quite a few. The fish we had caught were on a stringer near the stairway . We had worked our way downstream to the parking lot and someone had to go back for the fish near the stairway. I said I would go get the fish and wait for them at the top of the stairway. It took a while to work my way upstream, get the fish and climb the stairway. It was getting dark as I climbed the stairway to wait for the car. The only thing that needed to happen on their end was for everyone to drive up in the car from the valley.
I don't know if you have ever been in unlighted place in a wooded area but the dark sweeps in like there is no tomorrow. One minute you could see the fish you are holding and the next minute you are only feeling the weight of the fish. What's the problem here, I'm ready to go home but there is no car. An eternity passes and finally I see a car start and head lights proceed up from the valley below. My heart was filled with excitement as the car approached. I was so glad to see light and the security of the car.
WRONG CART, WHAT, there was someone else fishing the area. I didn't see anyone else fishing the river. The car passes without a glance. In the dark, even with head lights, I don't think they saw me.
More time passes and there is no activity. Did dad forget his own son? Wasn't I the number one son? How could he forget me? I had no answers, only questions. I didn't think it could get darker but I think it just did. Now I am hearing sounds in the woods as the forest seems to come to life. Is there a bear coming to visit with the smell of fish attracting the bear. Who knows, all I know is it was dark and I was scarred. We used to play in the dark all the time but street lights give you some light and there was always the stars and the moon.
Did you ever start to tremble from fear? I was to that point, no stars, no moon only dark. I had been in the woods when it was dark before but never, ever, when alone.
I hear a car start, Maybe dad didn't forget me. The car climbs out of the valley. I was never so glad to see my dad's car. "Where were you all this time?" I asked. "Was someone trying to get in a last cast?" I didn't care, I crawled into the back seat of the car, still shaking, and fell asleep in the the safety of the dark car.
I never did see a bear in the woods but saw one hanging from a tree once during hunting season. It was a big black bear. I wonder if it was ever near the Allegheny River.