Hi, my name is Ronan Patel. I was injured on July 11th, 2020, in a rock-climbing accident. I sustained a traumatic brain injury and other injuries in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and spent 3 weeks in ICU. I have been in rehabilitation working on my Speech therapy, Occupational therapy, and Physical therapy ever since.
When I got invited to the fly-fishing camp, I was ecstatic because I got to fish in a different state. I knew that it was one of those things I was good at before my injury. It helped me get outdoors and enjoy the water for the first time in a very supportive and restorative environment.
We arrived on Sunday and my family, and I stayed at the Truckee Donner Lodge for the camp.
On the first day – Monday, I met Tyler and his sweet dog Nixey. We rode together to the Palisades Tahoe, formerly Squaw Valley Ski Resort or just Squaw Valley. We met other athletes that were going to be part of the fly-fishing camp – Tommy and Jay. We got lessons in casting the fly line out from Matt and his guide team.
We practiced casting for an hour and then hit the pond. This was so joyful and familiar to me, and it brought home fond memories of fly-fishing on the Nantahala River in Brevard, North Carolina before my accident. I was an outdoorsy guy before my accident, and I am so glad that I had this opportunity to be back out again. At the end of the day, we all went to a pizza parlor for lunch, and it was delicious. We shared our stories and bonded.
On day 2, I had the opportunity to go to NorthStar Ski Resort and fly fish in a private pond. Of course, at the pond I didn’t catch anything in the morning, but I did have a good time. We did walk around the big pond and didn’t find any fish but that was ok. I however, caught a big and awesome rainbow trout in the afternoon. I was so happy and esthetic because I was the only one who caught anything that day. I finally was able to do something that made me happy. As part of my goal, I had tied several lures which by the end of the day, I donated to Trout Unlimited guide so that they can use them to teach little kids about fly-fishing and how to fly-fish.
On Day 3, we went to NorthStar Ski Resort again. This time, I met other athletes that came for mountain bike ride organized by High Fives Foundation. I spent time with Tyler and my family at the top of the mountain and the views were amazing. We planned to end our trip with an amazing dinner together.
I met Sam and Tyler at the local restaurant. We had Mexican food for dinner. We talked and enjoyed each other’s company. I finally met my extended Ohana. I plan on staying in touch with them.
This trip was overall a very relaxing experience and I finally was able to get out and enjoy the company of other athletes. I would love to return to another camp in the near future as I keep healing and pushing towards my new goal.