Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Luck

Summer was coming to an abrupt end and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had to finish writing a marching show before we could go on one last family camping trip before band camps and the beginning of school would seriously limit my available time. I pushed through and got the show written (as well as I could, anyway) and invited some family to join us. The question of where was answered when I had a conversation with Loah (Utah Water Log) about where he'd caught some really nice fish and found out that it wasn't too far from home for me. After a relatively short drive we got camp set up in a really great spot and I headed out fishing alone before dinner.

With the intel provided by Loah I knew right where to start fishing and on the 3rd cast I hooked into a monster of a tiger trout on an olive simi-seal leech. The fish worked me over with some long runs and attempts to get buried into the tangle of weeds, but finally I brought it to the net. Luckily I'd brought my big net...

I managed to catch one more fish before dinner, a healthy tiger but not huge like the first fish. After a great meal (the wife always goes all-out when we go camping) Atley agreed to join me in heading back out fishing until dark. I can't believe how jumpy he's become if we're out in the woods after dark. We heard an owl and saw some bats flying around, but nothing to be scared of. Fishing was about like it was before dinner, and we managed to catch a couple including one that would've seemed huge if it wasn't for the earlier fish.

Early the next morning I headed out fishing alone again so everyone else could sleep in. I threw everything I had at them, but mostly my efforts were ignored. I ended up only catching one small fish before heading back to camp for breakfast. Apparently the dogs wanted to go for a swim so badly that they drug the kids through the mud, literally. Even Del got in to try and help the boys out. Glad I missed this....

We took it easy in camp waiting for my Dad to arrive. We shot Atley's new muzzloader, napped in the hammock and just took some time to relax. When it became clear that he should've already arrived we headed to where we had some cell service to find out where he and his wife Deb were. Once we had some cell service we received messages from several people that were pretty panicked. Dad had taken a wrong turn and pulled his fifth wheel trailer over one of the worst roads on the whole mountain. His truck was totally trashed and they were lucky to have made it back down into town where Dad called me from. He wasn't sure what to do, but I told him if he still wanted to come up I'd meet him halfway to make sure he made it to camp.

I hadn't realized how bad the damage was until I met them on the road. The whole bed of the truck was messed up. Right when we pulled up along-side each other I had another concern though. I could hear that he had a flat tire. Normally a flat wouldn't be the biggest deal in the world, but with the truck bed being damaged it made it really difficult to get the spare out from under it. When they had finally made it to camp they spent the evening cleaning up the mess that was inside the trailer. Despite everything, we had a nice night in camp and the boys were really excited to be camping with Grandpa.

The next morning Dad and I went out to find the fish had all decided not to cooperate. Dad managed a couple of small ones and I got one. A storm rolling in made us head to camp for breakfast and to wait out the weather. Once it cleared we headed for another lake in the area to hopefully find some more willing fish for the boys. The fish had finally gotten the script and seemed to be everywhere just waiting for the boys' offerings. 

We didn't have the lake to ourselves for long and between the loud new arrivals and the afternoon storm that was on it's way in made our visit to this little lake shorter than we had hoped. It sure was nice to see the boys catch a bunch of fish on their own!

The final morning Dad and I gave the big fish spot one more chance. We started in the dark and fished until breakfast time. Dad managed to catch a couple and I scraped out one little guy but the big fish that we could see were willfully ignoring us. Oh well, it'll make us want to come back soon!

Back at camp Dad had more problems. The fifth wheel's batteries were so dead that his pop-out wouldn't retract and he didn't have enough gas in the generator to run that either. We also found out that his stabilizer jack had broken and we had trouble hitching the trailer up too. Rather than fight the trailer all the home just to turn around in two weeks and take it down south to go hunting, Dad decided to drive straight there and try to avoid further complications. Of course, he just had to have a flat tire on the way.

Once we were home (uneventfully, thank goodness) we tried to clean out Atley's muzzloader. Somehow the breech-plug broke when I was trying to remove it. It seemed a fitting end to the trip. What luck...

Hope you're LUCKIER!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Drinks and Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Every year I talk about taking the boys on a backpacking trip. Some years it works out (like two years ago, read about it HERE) and sometimes, well you know. This year I had a choice between taking on some side work for a little extra money or heading to Southern Utah with my boys for an overnighter. I chose the overnighter with a little encouragement from the wife (not sure how some people deal with having a wife that doesn't want you to go fishing). We decided to head back to an area that Atley and I hiked into a few years ago, but we decided to head to a different lake with a shorter hike and hopefully some different results fishing wise (read about that trip HERE). 

Trying to pack enough gear so we're prepared for anything and yet not making the packs too heavy for the boys is quite the balancing act. 

The night seemed to take forever to pass because I was excited to be heading out, but eventually we were up and out the door. The ride through Southern Utah is enough to make anyone want to stop and take a few pictures.

The trailhead had some really cool looking (pretty...) flowers growing near it. After a few pics we ate our lunch and shouldered our packs for the hike in. It didn't seem like too much of a hike for me, but the boys had to stop and rest quite a bit. That's okay, since we were able to check out some of the area near the trail and even spotted a group of turkeys. Of course the views of the surrounding area were pretty amazing too. 

Suddenly, the lake appeared below us as we crested a hill. It's beauty made even the boys forget about the sweat of the hike and the fish swimming along the shore made it even better for me. A break on shore seemed like the right thing to do and it didn't take long for me to catch my first fish from this area. Surprisingly, it was a rainbow. The fish weren't overly cooperative, but I did manage to catch a couple, including a decent brookie while the boys relaxed and played around on the rocks. 

Soon we headed off around the lake in search of a campsite. Atley wanted to camp at the first available spot, but I pushed them onward in hopes of a camp off the trail and near a better spot for fishing. No one else seemed to be around at all. This was more surprising than the last time I was here because a local outdoors show had just aired an episode about this area. No complaints here! We found an awesome site that could've handled a much bigger group than us. Instead of setting up camp right that minute, we headed down to the water to see if we could catch dinner. Seemed like the size of fish was much smaller here, so it took some time to find a decent fish to keep. 

We didn't have any kind of stringer, so after dispatching the fish we tied it up to some line to keep it in the water and as fresh as possible. While I kept on fishing and trying to get one for dinner, Caden spotted the fish that had somehow gotten off the string. Atley didn't hesitate to jump in and grab it. Luckily for him the sun was still warm enough to dry his clothes before we headed up to get camp set. The small tent for the boys and my hammock went up quickly and soon I was cooking dinner. The only other people we saw that night were two hikers that passed our camp on their way to another lake a little further in (maybe next time for us...). After we ate our fish and Top Ramen dinner we cleaned up the best we could and made sure to purify some water for the hike out. 

Atley's been real nervous in the woods since our bear encounter a couple of years ago (read about that trip HERE). So we stayed up pretty late talking (so he wouldn't imagine too much while lying in bed). Caden had no such worries and headed off to bed pretty early on, after doing some bigfoot calls of course. When we finally did decided it was time to try and get some shut eye I discovered that how I had hung my hammock wasn't going to let me to get much sleep. So we all ended up sleeping in the tent which made Atley happy, but it was a bit cramped. The morning came pretty early, but we took our time making breakfast and breaking camp (oatmeal tastes better in direct correlation to the altitude at which you eat it). The camp was really clean when we arrived so we made sure to keep it that way when we left. 

On our way back out we stopped by where I had first fished the day before. Atley had a fish follow his fly in but he pulled it out of the water before he realized the fish was there. So he dropped the fly back into the water and watched a nice brook trout slam it. Of course, Atley landed the fish un hooked it, and promptly dropped it back into the water without letting me get a picture of it. A couple of minutes after that a scout troop showed up and let us know that it was time to leave (not that they were rude or anything, just loud). They had used a few horses to pack their gear in with and so Caden took the opportunity to pet his first horse. 

On the way out we passed another scout troop and some other hikers (we timed our trip well!) and were back to the truck in an hour. On the way Caden fell and scraped his knee. Understandably, he cried a little but I couldn't help but laugh when he assured me that Mom was going to be really mad at me for this! Nothing that drinks and ice-cream sandwiches couldn't make him forget.  

Hope you're as lucky,