Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Da Bears

This seems to be a busy week for bears. First off, one of my co-worker's step-brothers recently was chased by a grizzly bear up near Anchorage. He was acting rather foolishly by running by himself along a trail known for bear-human encounters and, as we all know, those bear-human encounters rarely turn out well for the human. Now, I receive this (click image to enlarge):

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Been Fishing...?

...Oh yeah.

I suppose I won't get any sympathy if I was to complain about carpal tunnel syndrome, but I've been whipping the old fly rod around a bit recently.

Although I have no pictures to prove it, I ended up in the Salmon River country of Idaho a couple weeks ago and ripped some lip. River levels were still quite high, but I found a ton of small juvenile steelhead/rainbow, a decent cutthroat and a bunch of whitefish. Nothing huge, but lots of fun.

Last week, The Wife and I ended up on the North Platte and got to spend a day floating in a drift boat. The river levels were starting to drop down to more normal base flows and the bite was on. A special thanks to Tony and Jan for the great day on the river.

As usual, the first fish is the most difficult. Also as usual, it flopped out of my hand before a good picture could be taken, but here is fish number one--a 17 inchish rainbow. To foreshadow things to come, it gave a very light take on a peacock stonefly nymph.

Here's Jan playing one of her fish. They often use these personal rafts. They seemed to be a very convenient way to navigate the river. Even has room for the dog on the back.

We caught fish like this all day long...

The Wife even got in on the action...

A little brown trout...

And the big fish of the day...

All in all, a very nice day on the river.

More recently, as in yesterday and last night, The Wife and I (and Karta) went small-stream fishing and camped out. It had been an eternity since The Wife had been camping and I was starting to get an ear full for it.

Karta LOVES fishing. Although she also loves swimming, it's pretty easy to keep her out of the water when fishing. So long as I'm catching fish on a somewhat consistent basis, she is happy sitting next to me, watching the fly float by and hoping for the opportunity to sniff a fish. And I do mean watching the fly float by. She figured out the importance of the fly in catching fish long ago.

The reward, at least as far as Karta is concerned...

More fishing...

And the campsite...

A Smoking Deal

The Wife and I had been in the market for a wood stove for quite some time. We almost pulled the trigger last fall when the cold weather was approaching, but the 2G price tag was a bit much. Fortunately, The Wife is a rummage sale addict--er, I mean connoisseur.

With a small chunk of change in my pocket, and with Jan and Ash in tow, The Wife talked me into a morning of garage sale torture--er, I mean bliss. After checking out a couple dumps, we stumbled upon a gold mine. In the corner of an otherwise unsuspecting rummage sale, I saw a lowly sign advertising two used wood stoves. Not expecting much, I inquired.

After minimal haggling over price, I ended up with this...
...a $178 plant stand.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Kicking it at Big Sandy with the Rainbow Family

Thanks to The Wife's superb planning, the whole herd got together a little bit ago for a nice vacation up at the Big Sandy Lodge. They've got a few rustic cabins up near the wilderness boundary that make for pretty sweet digs.
Although the rivers were at or above bank full, we managed to wrestle in a few small brook trout. The lunker of the trip might have been 10 inches, if you were generous with the ruler and squeezed every bit of length out of its tail.
We played some nerts, and found a new winner.

A few folks, including The Wife, went for horse rides.

Of course, we also did a fair amount of hiking. Because of high water and a misleading Forest Service sign (there must be an excuse, right) and despite the fact we had a map and two GPS units, we did manage to get a little turned around. Once we realized the error of our ways, we turned off the trail and ventured where few had traveled before. Luckily, our map and off-trail navigation skills far surpassed our on-trail navigation skills and we arrived at our destination: V Lake.
The hike back, while all down hill and through familiar terrain, was not without adventure. At one point, Margie performed a perfect full gainer and displayed flawless balance beam technique.

Safe back at the cabin and reunited with the remainder of our contingent, we were free to resume the constant struggle against the mosquito squadrons of death.
A pretty good trip over all. We even managed to avoid most of the circus activities.