Things nobody really cares about but I'll comment on them anyway

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A little fishing a little bushwacking

I met Jeff Tuesday morning to check out Upper Creek near the Linville Gorge. He had fished the upper section just downstream of the lower falls by himself a couple of weeks ago when I had to bail on him last minute due to some home project chores. He said that he was fishing near a church-bus group that was raising quite a ruckus and had heard about a trail to a lower section a mile or so downstream. We both planned on just a half day outing but ambitiously thought we could fish the whole section all the way to the falls and so we ran the shuttle and jumped off at about 8 a.m. on the trail to the lower section.

As you can see the scenery was incredible. We were deep in an isolated gorge for the entire time. The water was cool but felt good wet wading. It was a seemingly endless display of small runs and riffles with a nice smattering of big pools every three or four hundred yards. We started catching fish right away on bushy dries. Most of the sections gave you one or if lucky two shots at a fish. They would strike on the first or second cast and might even chase a second presentation but let's just say that we missed alot of fish.

But about an hour in Jeff cracked the code with his freakishly large and gawdy cicadia pattern. His first cast into a decent sized run brought at least three or four fish out of hiding at the same time all trying to kill this thing. A few casts and missed strikes later he pulled out this beautiful brown. I quickly tied on a chernoble ant and we were on terrestrials for the remainder of the day.

Even the fishing spiders had figured out that this was the place to be

The day was beautiful. The stream a dream and we made slow progress up stream as each run and pool contained many fish to tempt us. A few hours in we decided to attempt to make more headway stopping only at the most tempting pools and runs. The wading was great although the rocks were slicker than snot. I had on my wading boots with studs and felt while Jeff had a decidedly difficult time wading in his Keen sandles.

We were still catching and landing little browns and brookies from three up to 8 inches. We missed some nicer browns but pushed on. The shots below were the last two fish I caught for the day in the same hole. I had been having trouble with the calm water pools. I kept spooking the holes on my first cast and then chasing fish up to the head of the pour in unable to entice them. In this last hole I was able to set up my cast by first casting downstream getting the right amount of line out and casting up to the head of the pool on the first go. The reward was a twelve inch rainbow. The shot below with my hands outstretched has the fish actually in the water in front of me after I dropped him while Jeff was setting up the shot. So I turned back to the hole and did it again and on the second cast caught the smaller rainbow in the picture below. I tried for the hat-trick but it wasn't meant to be.

Shortly after these shots we made a much more urgent attempt to move upstream. As pretty and inviting as the stream was wet wading was not a very efficient mode of travel when trying to cover some ground. Not to mention the very slick rocks we were moving over were constantly threatening to twist and sprain ankles. Finally Jeff found a small trail that paralleled the stream with some flagging tape and we immediately started making good progress. But almost as soon as we started moving we lost the trail and then ended up in the second part of our adventure. The Upper Creek Death Bushwack. The next few hours had us battling our way through rodo thickets and steep slopes. Mind you we were also hiking with fully strung rods. After two hours we finally gave up and broke down the rods to make the incessant rodo groveling a little more manageable. By the time we reached Jeff's car my shirt was completely soaked with sweat and I was definitely toast. We had originally planned on a half day outing figuring we could get out by 1 at the latest. We reached Jeff's car at a little past three. A nice little adventure to end my official summer on and a must do albeit with some slight alterations.

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Gorge"ous Day Out

Jasyn and I got out to the ampitheater for a couple of the tried and true stellar routes. The Daddy and the Prow. Due to a lazy morning start and having to be back for Carter's last swim lesson we had to cut it short of the tripple crown, though we looked long and hard at either the Mummy or the 5.7 Sister Seagle to the left. The Daddy was in the shade until the top but we did bake a little on the Prow. We had the whole place to ourselves for the entire time passing a party fo three on our way out just past four o'clock. Here are some of the highlight shots.

Jasyn starting out and on the first pitch after the scramble on the Daddy.

The Ledge before the top of the Daddy.

Looking over to the prow and Jasyn on the first pitch of the prow.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back to Center...

We've been back from our Western Road Trip for about two weeks now. We had a great time hanging out with family and friends along the way. Check out more details at the family site. A few highlights aside from good time spent with my Grandma, Mom, and brother were our first visit to Moab and Arches National Park. There was a ton of snow in Colorado and the temps were still on the chilly side. Good thing we'd all only brought one pair of pants each for the trip. Hanging out in Frisco at Amy's brother's vacation house both ways was stellar. It actually snowed on us while we were there the first time. We did do some fun short hikes with the kids at most of our stops. Carter is a great hiker and really pulled out all the stops during our second time in Frisco when he hiked up to Mt. Royal overlooking the town. That was a pretty serious uphill slog for a four and a half year old. Arches was fun as well with short hikes out to some of the formations that the kids seemed to really get into.

The big awakening on the trip for me was the complete lack of motivation to do any running. It's not that I could blame this on anything but myself. I just started to realize that there were choices to make. I'm sure Amy would have watched the kids if I had really wanted to run, but I also wanted to get out and do some fishing as well. In short it would be pretty selfish to expect her to just take on the kids all by herself several times each day. So instead I chose to fish and just hang out as a family in general. We were on vacation. Another factor was that I didn't really have anyone there to share a run with or help stay motivated. By the time we reached Ogden I was feeling pretty slothful and vowed to get back on the stick of running. However after a paltry 30 minute run our first day there I couldn't seem to be able to psych myself up for it. Enjoying my coffee in the morning while Amy went out for a walk or a jog was just too nice to give up. As we worked our way back into Colorado I found myself wistfully looking up at the mountains wishing our timing was different and that we were able to indulge fantasies of climbing some of those peaks. Alas we just didn't have the time or maybe I'm just making lame excuses but whatever the reason it just didn't happen.

As we came back across the flatter midwest and finally home, there was alot of processing going on. The trip felt strange and awkward and Amy and I both struggled to put our fingers on the reasoning behind it. The conclusions I have come to deal with a slight imbalance in this past spring. There was running and almost nothing else. I was able to get out and climb with Jasyn a few days after getting back to Boone. It had been over a year since I'd been on the rock. We just did Hindu Cush at Ship Rock but as I was laboring through the awkward crux I was realizing just what the imbalance had cost me. I'm not saying I regret any of the accomplishments in the past year. I am recognizing that they did not come for free and that the cost of a well balanced mountain life is a hefty price to pay for them. I'm obviously no super man and in order to run distance it takes a fair amount of time commitment to train and prepare. I learned much in the process probably most importantly that it is not in me to get out of distance running what I get out of other activities and so it is time to shift back to balance. It's time to do some more climbing with good friends. It's time to go fishing so that as Jasyn put it, " We get to have a good time without dieing." It's time to do a trail run because it's fun not because it's part of training for something bigger and better. It's time to stop comparing the height of our mountains with those we came across on our trip and create my own adventures in my own back yard. There are plenty to be had. And most importantly to find those adventures that can be shared with my family which are equally plenty.