Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Invasion

Today our neighbor, Steve, spotted a raccoon feeding on sunflower seeds in his backyard. We looked over the fence and Steve said that four of the critters were heading along the north fence, out to the front yard. We all dashed out and spotted them heading up the sidewalk. Steve's dog chased them up a small pine tree. Here are three of the young ones, the mother went one direction and the three kids ended up in that tree.


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Fall is Coming

With the rod set up, I tried on a size 8 stimulator, then secured 14 inches of tippet to the bend of the hook. On that mono I tied a brown size 12 bead head nymph. The water was clear and cold; a great fall day.  I had hoped that the rains from the previous night hadn’t put the fish down.

Walking out into the current, I crept out to about knee deep. My feet were chilled by the rushing water. Upstream was a nice riffle; a gravel bar created a smooth pour-over dropping the water into a chute that looked to be about 5 feet deep.  I started casting low in the run and let the flies drift along the crease between the slack water of shore and the swifter current of the main trough. 

Several casts produced nothing and with each cast I would step higher into the current. The water looked fantastic but there were no fish rising anywhere along this stretch.  Again and again I tossed the bugs forward and concentrated as they drifted back my way.  Cast, mend, retrieve; I had a rhythm going covering the water where I felt a fish would be laying. I moved up the chute and then started moving back down. The fish may be holding in deeper water.  I figured I would cover the water as I moved down river and then wade to a different spot where the water was deeper.

Taking in the slack on my line, I roll-cast up and across the current. The stimulator twitched aggressively and I instinctively raised my rod tip. The line stretched taut. It was a clean set and I had a fish on! The first instinct of a cutthroat trout is to run down current. In doing so they tend to help you by taking out the slack line and get you on the reel. When you are on the reel you have a definite advantage. You let the rod tip work for you. The reel’s drag gives line when the fish runs. You take line in as you reel the trophy into your waiting net.
This was a nice fish. Nothing huge, but when it was in my net  I could read that it was 14 inches of fat cutthroat. I unhooked it and let it rest in the net dipping it lower into the current. Then when it showed renewed strength I lowered the cradle away and the fish was gone.
I moved on down to another gravel ledge that poured into a big deep green hole. This is what we drive up the Joe for and it was a good start to our three-day getaway.

We left Post Falls at about 11 am. Our start was later than usual but we were in no hurry. At exit 15, east of Coeur d’Alene, we hit stopped traffic and it looked like there might have been an accident up the freeway in the direction of Wolf Lodge. We sat in a long line as police cars converged and then moved past us up the hill out of sight.

We crept forward ever so slowly. I noticed the traffic coming west must be stopped somewhere up the highway out of our sight line. This was not good! It meant that the accident was much worse and covered both lanes. We crept forward another 20 feet.  I noticed that in a few more feet I could turn and cut across the westbound lane and take exit 15 back into Coeur d’Alene. This would allow us to drive through the city and take Highway 95 south through Plummer and St. Maries. We crept forward another five feet and I eased on the gas and cranked the wheel to the left. It was a gamble but we really didn’t want to sit idling in traffic for the next hour.

The rest of the drive was uneventful. We cruised through to Plummer and took a left on the highway that leads past Heyburn State Park and through the metropolis of St. Maries. No one was on the road up the St. Joe and we made good time. It started raining about midway up the river and we moved through showers until we arrived at Huckleberry Campground. We found one of our favorite spots open, backed in, and got set up.
Throughout those three sunny days, I fished and Linda read her books. With the cold weather, we noticed that the leaves were changing colors. This change was taking place all around us as we camped. Both Linda and I mentioned that the beautiful fall colors seemed to be changing right before our eyes. It was special and very beautiful.

We had great meals and at the end of each day we watched a movie before we went to bed. The weather was wonderful but at night it got cold. We would wake up to temperatures in the mid to low 30’s. Fall is definitely here.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Thinking

I have been fishing a bit during our latest homestand. I caught some pike and a largemouth bass. Then while fishing I saw a moose cooling off in the lake near the place where we keep our boat. As I fished I thought about many things, this is one of my thoughts.

As we travel over the hundreds of miles of blue lines on a map, one of our favorite things is to listen to audiobooks. We have explored the islands in the Pacific through the humorous writings of Maarten Troost. We listened to his The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific and were so taken with his odd take on island life that we followed up with, Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu. We laughed out loud as we rumbled on down his road and ours, the time passing surprisingly fast each day.

Following those adventures, we listened to books by comedians Jay Mohr, Howie Mandel, and Billy Crystal. All were very good; funny yet provoking. Each told of the various insecurities they had and how hard they had to work to become successful comedians. All three writers gave in-depth looks into their childhoods and what growing up provided them when they became successful adults. Again we enjoyed listening as we traveled.

Today, I was sitting out in the sun and my thoughts grabbed on to something that all three writers had said in their books. During the descriptions of their childhood, each one mentioned a quote from their fathers that had stuck with them as they grew older. Some of the thoughts were heavy and they used them to guide their way to adulthood.  Other quotes were funny and brought warm feelings of being with their fathers back into their memories.

Sitting in the warm sun, I thought back to my dad and I immediately remembered something he said every day. It was a small thing, but dad used it as his go-to acknowledgment.  Whenever someone thanked Dad, which was quite often, his reply would be “You bet!”  When he held the door for someone and they nodded thanks, he would reply “You bet!”  I must have heard him say those two words a million times, always with a smile and a nod of his head.  Over the phone, you could tell when a customer thanked him as they said goodbye because Dad would end the call with a “You bet! Good-bye!”

I smiled thinking about this little phrase. It was part of my life with my wonderful father and now that I think about it, I realize that I say the same thing quite often.  It is also my go-to acknowledgment. I say it every time someone thanks me. It’s automatic.

Now I know I have gotten many things from my parents; singing from my Mom and thumb twiddling from my Dad, to name a couple. They are a part of being this human named Dean. They are ever-present in my being just like my personal space bubble and my quiet nature.  I am so thankful that my parents raised me the way they did and instilled in me all the things that make me the way I am. 

I know that if my folks were alive today and I thanked them for all they did, Mom would smile and probably cry and Dad would say “You bet!”

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Note: Our truck is in for repair. It turned out to be a sensor in the transmission was bad. We are having it replaced and then they will do a full transmission service on the unit. Total for repairs and service, about $800. Ouch!