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Jacky's Last Fishing Trip

Castaways – Part 2 – February 2012

Captain Jack (Jacky Jack Jackson) had had enough.

Cap’n Jack was sealing the deal on the last vessel he would command on any waterway, a 15 foot runabout with a battery powered trolling motor. A fitting downgrade from any other vessel he had been aboard, given the downward spiral of life events that placed him here on the shore of his own depths. From the gunwales of this magnificent boat, Jacky Jack was sure to catch his last fish – even if it killed him!

It is a long way out to Apache Lake, even from where Jacky lived. You see, the string of Salt River Lakes from Roosevelt Dam down to Saguaro Lake, near Phoenix Arizona, follows Arizona Highway 88, The Apache Trail. At least half of this road is undeveloped, rugged dirt road and at points, the trail hugs tightly to cliff sides as it drops down into deep canyons. The road was cut into the canyons back in 1914 under the administration of then president Theodore Roosevelt to lead the donkey carts loaded with bricks to build Roosevelt Dam at the northern stretch of these lakes. Jacky Jack enjoyed the second lake along the river – Apache Lake.

Bounded by Horseshoe Dam, downstream from Lake Roosevelt on the Salt River, Apache Lake runs deep and narrow along a canyon northeast of the Superstition Wilderness in central Arizona, just east of Phoenix. This is the area made famous by the tales of bountiful gold and the Lost Dutchman Goldmine. There are stories of current day prospectors – crazy mountain men – still inhabiting the surrounding wilderness, lurking and menacing stray campers and hikers while in search of legendary gold. But, this is Jacky’s lake. He comes here all the time. And he’s never caught a fish.

Jacky says: “here’s the thing. I’m gonna spend a week at the Upper Burnt Corral campground. I’m gonna live off of what I bring and I’m gonna fish from my little boat every day.”

After camping and enjoying the solitude and silence of living in the wilderness, Jacky decided that it was enough to tell his children goodbye, that they had not wanted contact from him and that he was not going to continue in the current pain he was experiencing. With that, Jacky Jack boarded his new boat and paddled offshore.

As he tossed the cinder block anchor over board, Jacky looped the rope twice over his wrist and was pulled into the depths of Apache Lake and to his surprise, as his final breath escaped; he saw hundreds of fish in the very lake he swore had no fish!