Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm just glad it wasn't me

A certified Toad caught by Jerry
So the bad news is that neither Frank nor Bob has done much in the last few days to provide much entertaining blog material, the good news is that Jerry has.  So first we’ll catch you up on the trip.  We fished the Grey’s river from top to bottom with just OK results.  We all caught fish, but nothing really worth bragging about.  So we headed south and on a tip from a friend, went to a small river in southern Wyoming.  The countryside in that area is not much to look at and the towns have a real rough feel to them.  To give you a taste for the local towns, after going over the 5000 mile mark for the trip, the truck was in need of service so we pulled into the GMC dealer on Wednesday in Kimmerer to see if we could get the oil changed and we where told that if we could leave the truck with them, they could pull it off by Friday!  So we headed to the local restaurant for some lunch and the waitress decided to multitask and get the place vacuumed while we were having our lunch.  Needless to say, you don't Kimmerer for the service. Based on our not so warm reception we almost decided to go to one of our old standby rivers, the Green, just south of the Flaming Gorge.  We had all fished the Green before and thought it was worth fishing again, but after we had a look at this new stream, we decided to give it a try and it turned out to be a great decision.  We ended up fishing there for two days and it was wonderful.  We caught numerous big fish on dry flies and practically nobody else was fishing there.

Bob fishing the evening hatch.  Thanks for the tip Allan!

As time is starting to run short on our trip, we had to leave our new honey hole and keep heading south, so Friday morning we packed up to head out again.  While packing, Frank noticed that Jerry had left some of his fishing gear in the back of the truck and offered to pack it is his bag, an offer declined Jerry.  We continued to pack things up and then at some point Bob noticed that Jerry had left some of his fishing gear in the back of the truck and offered to pack them away in his bag and again Jerry declined. 

Small but colorful
So we headed down the road through some of the most barren landscape in the US that only an antelope could love.  The kind of place that begs the question, ”Who would choose to live here?”  As it turns out, we would soon meet some of those folks.  We just happened to be in a place where we had some cell phone coverage and Jerry’s phone rang.  It was his wife Shelia and she started to explain that someone named Ron had called and had found some of his fishing gear.  Jerry’s first thought was that he must have left something on the stream and that was now 2 hours behind us, but soon learned that it had been found in the middle of the road about 20 miles back.  Bob and Frank high fived and celebrated the new blog material.  Frank was especially moved and said to Bob, “Man, I’m so glad we have something to put in the blog and I’m jacked that it isn’t about me!”

The post office in beautiful down town Opal
So we made plans to meet up with Ron at the post office in Opal (pronounced O-Pal) to collect Jerry’s gear.  He said we could pick out the post office because it was the only building with a flag.  He was right, we circled the whole town in 35 seconds, and it was the only building with a flag.  Inside we found Ron conversing with his sister-in-law who was the postmaster.  Ron said he was happy to help and didn’t want anything for his trouble, but then decided $50 would cover it.

Jerry with Ron.  Thanks Ron.
With half of his gear recovered (there is a brand new set of waders somewhere near Kemmerer if you need a set) we headed on to Glenwood Springs.  We made it to Rock Springs for lunch and shopping for supplies.  A quick inspection of the trailer reveled a tire problem that required a replacement.  Unlike in Kimmerer, we found a shop in Rock Springs that fixed the tire and serviced the truck in under 45 minutes.  With the backtracking and the tire issues we arrived in Glenwood late and struggled to find a place to stay, but ended up with a nice spot at Anne’s Acers where we would spend the next 3 nights (with 7 trains a night) while we fished one of the most famous fly fishing rivers in the US, the Frying Pan.  You don’t get to fish the Frying pan by yourself unless you are a gozillionare and have your own stretch of river.  So we waded in with the rest of the crowd and started working on figuring out the river.  Bob and Jerry started with nymphs, but Frank saw some rising fish and went straight to dry flies and started catching fish.  Bob and Jerry switched over and soon we were all on the fish.  The hatch lasted about 7 hours and we caught fish until we were just too tired to fish anymore. 

Monday we once again loaded up and headed south.  We arrived at Jerry and Sheila’s cabin around 4pm and have settled in for the next couple of nights.  Tomorrow we will fish the West Fork of the Delores and then Wednesday we pick up Brad in Durango and head down to our final stop, the San Jaun River.
Rock Springs version of Nascar

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Huevos Rancheros

A large fire, called the “Redrock Fire” has burned about 8000 acres up in the Gros Ventre drainage.  There are about 100 fire fighters set up to monitor the fire and they have a big base camp set up at the Slide Creek trail head with a heliport and the hole nine yards.  The real tragedy of the lightning caused fire is that it has cut off access to the “Secret Lake.”  Friday night was Joe’s last night with us, as Sue was do to arrive in Jackson on Saturday and they are headed north back through Yellowstone on their second honeymoon.  Friday night was also the night of Sandi’s arrival into Jackson and Sandi and Bob met up with Joe and Frank for dinner in Jackson after they had spent a fairly non-productive day on Granite Creek and Black Tail.
Redrock Fire from the road from second secret lake

Saturday morning Bob and Sandi headed out to hike into Slate Creek while Frank stayed at camp to see Joe off and fish a little on Lower Slide Lake.  Bob and Sandi had a great day of hiking and fishing on slate creek and had a serious stroke of luck on the way out.  They had stopped at a fire information billboard and while reading the bad news about the access to the Secret Spot, a very helpful Park Ranger pulled up and asked them if they had any questions.  Bob asked, "How long is the access to XXX Lake going to be closed?"  Mr. Park Ranger replied that it would be at least a couple of days and asked sheepishly, “Have you fished XXX lake before?”  Bob replied, “Yes.”  “Have any luck?” the Ranger continued. Bob responded “Some…. Why? Have you fished it?” The Ranger, “Some.”  This feeling out dance continues for the next several minutes while Bob and Ranger attempt to discern how much the other knows without disclosing any of their own secrets.  The Ranger finally comes to the conclusion that Bob knows all about the Big Mothers in the Secret Lake and finally says, “So you know then?” “Yes, I know” says Bob and the Secret Fisherman’s Dance is completed.

Bob goes on to casually inquire about some other other local steams, “Hear any news on Crystal?”  “Fishing good, I hear, all the big fish are still up in these little creeks because the water has been so high.” “Oh, yeah.  What about the upper Gros Ventre above the ranch?”  “A guy caught a 24 incher up there last week,” the Ranger replied.   At this point the Ranger is starting to wonder who in the hell Bob is and how does he know about all of the secret spots and states, “Man you have really done your homework.” Then the final salvo, “What do you know about YYY Creek?” Bob asks.  The Ranger hangs his head, walks in a circle and simply says, “I can’t tell you.”  Then, totally defeated the Range spills his guts on YYY Creek and then says, “While you’re up there you might as well take the secret trail into ZZZ Creek and oh, by the way, here is where my other secret lake is.”  Game, Set, Match!
Bob and Sandi reading the bad news about access to the Secret Lake

 So Sunday the onslaught of all of the new secret places began.  We left so early that Joe and Sue came for a morning visit and all they found was an empty RV.  Frank fished YYY Creek and Bob and Sandi hiked into ZZZ Creek and then the group finished the day with a drive back into the second secret lake.  It was all Great! 

So Monday morning at O dark thirty Sandi flew back to South Carolina and Jerry, Bob’s dad arrived late Sunday afternoon.  By the time Jerry arrived Frank and Bob had moved off of the mountain, cleaned up and restocked the RV and did some laundry.  Sad to see Sandi go, but glad to have Jerry on board.  So the plan for the evening was to have a nice dinner, buy some groceries and drive down to Apline, Wyoming and set up camp along the Greys River.  

So after living together for nearly a month, some pet peaves have emerged.  Bob’s pet peaves are water on the counter, toothpaste on the mirror, and wasting battery power.  Frank is a stickler about the refrigerator.  It has to be organized just so.  Meat in this drawer, cheese in that drawer and the Diet Coke goes here.  But most importantly, the door is to be completely closed!  The door has a latch on it so that it doesn’t open in transit.  The latch doesn’t have a real purpose while you’re stopped, but there is a latch and according to Frank, the latch is to be closed. Period.  Don’t make him explain it to you again.

Brown and Brown fishing team

 So we stop and get the groceries and Frank, after 2 glasses of wine, loads the new stuff into the refrigerator because that’s Frank’s deal.  So we head down the road and turn on this dirt road that used to be great and no longer is.  The  road to the camp ground just seemed to go on and on and we finally get to our campground.  Bob and Jerry get out with flash lights to see if the RV will fit in the space and walking back to the truck, Bob notices that there is a light on in the RV.  He thinks this strange because "Bob the Energy Nazi” was certain that all the lights were off.  Bob shakes his head and chastises himself for not catching that a light was left on.

So after we parked, Frank and Jerry enter the RV and all Bob hears from outside is, “OH MY GOD.” As it turns out, the refrigerator was not locked.  About 90 percent of the content of the fridge was on the floor of the RV, the eggs, the beacon, the yogurt and the salsa.  Bob took one look at the mess and said, “Thanks for making Huevos Rancheros!”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

3 Big Mothers

Frank's one of many during his daily fishing clinic

Once again we have found ourselves on the outskirts of cell service so we have not been able make a post to the blog.  After our first day of fishing in Yellowstone, Frank recovered from his bout of sickness, but the second day turned out to be a day of rest for Joe.  So with Joe left behind to debate politics with the neighbor, Frank and Bob headed up to the first meadow on Slough Creek.  It’s about a 2-½ mile hike into the meadow with a pretty good climb, but they managed it in just about 45 minutes.  Frank brought his “A” game and caught a fish on his second cast.  Bob brought his “D” game and when they met up for lunch, it was Frank 5 and Bob 0.  The wind really kicked up in the afternoon, but the Hopper fishing really turned on for a couple of hours.  Late in the afternoon, a thunderstorm kicked up and Frank headed for the barn while Bob stayed behind to work on his fish count and ended up walking out in the rain and upon returning to the RV found Frank and Joe well into the second bottle of wine.  Bob broke out the guitar and by the end of the night they all ended up over at the neighbors camp fire having a big time with a bunch of strangers, singing songs and telling stories until way too late.

After retiring to the RV, Joe got on his political high horse and told us that our neighbor, that we had just been at the big camp ground hootenanny with, said that our economic problems in this country could be solved if we just got rid of capitalism.  For those of you who don’t know Joe, he makes Rush Limbaugh look little on the liberal side. Joe went on to preach a moving sermon on why compromise is the root of all evil and so on.  The next morning when we were packing up the RV, “our liberal friend” came over to ask for one of our now not so "secret flies."  He first went to Frank and asked for the “secret fly” and Frank told him he was all out, so he went to Joe.  Frank, knowing that Joe had a serious difference of political opinion with him would never give a “Comi” one of his secret flies.  Well, Frank was right, Joe did not give him one of his flies; he gave him three.  Needless to say, Bob and Frank have not let Joe, now going by the nickname “Nancy”, live down his random act of liberalism.

So they packed up and headed south.  They're happy to report that Frank’s map reading skills had markedly improved (although his photography skills are still lacking) and they navigated out of Yellowstone and down to Jackson Hole without a single mis-turn.  The only real incident of the day occurred when they went to dump the holding tanks on the RV.  In their defense Joe and Frank haven’t spent much time camping or RVing, so Bob tries to delegate tasks that are within their current skill level, or that it won’t cost too much to repair.  Knowing that mixing up the holding tank with the fresh water tank would be catastrophic; Bob assigned them the task of filling the extra water jugs with water.  The task was indeed completed, although they both required a change of clothes afterwards.

Frank's Big Mother
So they set up camp north of Jackson on the Gros Venture River.  Wednesday, they went to their new secret fishing lake, which like the “secret fly” will not be secret for long.  Bob had fished this lake last year and caught several fish, but they were all on the small side.  Frank proceeded to put on a fishing clinic for Bob and Joe and caught 4 huge fish to Bob and Joe’s goose eggs, with the largest being a beautiful 22” Cutthroat.  Bob drove back the one-hour drive sitting on a severally chapped ass.  As they convened around a late night pot of red beans and rice to discuss their plans for Thursday, Frank said it he was open for anything, maybe try Granite Creek, but would not complain about returning to the “Secret Spot.”  It was then Joe’s turn to weigh in on the subject.  He took off his hat, scratched his head, briefly starred into the distance and then said, “ To hell with Granite Creek, I wanna catch one of those big Mothers.”
Bob's Big Mother
So tonight they returned to the “Secret Spot” and Bob and Joe returned the favor of putting on a fishing clinic for Frank.  Unlike Bob, Frank was happy to see his friends catching fish even though he was not.  So they all ended up catching numerous huge Cutthroats out of this little alpine lake, they have the pictures to prove it and over a bottle or two of wine, Frank and Joe will be happy to draw you a map to the “Secret Spot” and give you the “Secret Flies.”

Joe's Big Mother
And this time we're not lying

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Don't push any more damn buttons!

Well readers we have been out of touch with mankind for several days.  Most of the time we were camped forty miles from Billings MT in the Gallatin National Forest at the confluence of the Wise river and Lacy’s creek.  We are now settled on the banks of Slough Creek in Yellowstone. There’s lots to tell, some great some not so great. Let's get the bad out of the way, we were lost in Yellowstone for four hours yesterday because Frank can’t read a damn map, but on the up side we are now very familiar with the northern half of the Yellowstone Park.  Bob does however take 10.789% of the blame for the "detour" for not being a better supervisor.  In the end, we had to depart the Park because we were too late arriving to get a place in the campground.  We ended up in Cooke City, MT and decided to stop and eat, seeing it was 9:30pm and we hadn’t had anything to eat since lunch, and driving around Yellowstone’s 1930 roads with a 65’ rig had taken a toll on our driver.  As it turns out, all of the campgrounds outside the Park were also full, so we were trying to find out where there might be a place in the forest to park for the night when Frank decided to turn on the charm and see if we could just park in the restaurant parking lot.  Thanks to Frank’s smooth talking and $50, we slept in the parking lot.

Terry the pyro
Now that that is over let us fill you in on what’s taken place.  Our last day in Ennis, we drove about 2 hours over to the Gallatin river and had a mediocure day.  The Gallatin is fairly swift and very slippery.  Joe fell flat on his back and Bob ended his 41 year stretch of not falling in the river.  To top it off, we decided to take a short cut home, this time with adequate fuel, but after traveling down a dirt road for about an hour, we found that the road had been closed by our good buddy and fly fishing angler of the year, Ted Turner.
Joe on the Wise river, but he's not any smarter

So we packed up and headed to the Wise river, where Frank invented a new sport that is a combination of snake wrestling and urination.  The Wise river was great!  It was full of mostly wild Brook trout, but we also caught a Brown trout, a Rainbow, some White fish and the fish of the week was a 19” Cutthroat caught by Frank (after he missed 20 other fish.)  Almost all were caught on dry flies, but the best fly seemed to be the Fat Albert.

Frank does Lacy
On Saturday we said goodbye to Terry, but not before he tried to kill us all by mistaking the slide out switch for a light switch in the middle on the night.  We all shot out of bed as the slide outs started compacting the trailer in the middle of the night.  Bob was the first to realize what was happening and yelled, “Don’t press anymore damn button’s.”  When Bob got the light on, Terry was standing in the hall up against the wall in his underwear with his hands up like he was under arrest.  Quite a sight.

So after our night in the parking lot, we returned to Yellowstone and got a really nice campsite, right on the edge of Slough Creek.  Frank was not feeling well today, so elected to stay behind while Bob and Joe went off to fish.   Bob and Joe fished Soda Butte and the Lamar river, but it was pretty slow.  Bob ended the day with 2 nice Cutthroats on the Lamar, Joe got skunked and Frank caught a real nice fish while sitting at the picknick table at our campsite.
Bob verifying that it is indeed 1000 feet to the bottom and that the road in only 2' wider that the trailer.  For 4 damn hours, but he's not bitter.