Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fish Weekend!

4 AM:  Coffee? Check.  Jacket? Check! Down riggers? Check! Coffee? Coffee? Coffee?
I cannot say enough about getting an early start on any given day. I love the early morning chill that hits you when you are getting everything into the boat.  I think I especially like the time that I have to myself before your fishing partner(s) arrive and pick you up. Coffee on the steps of the camper or on the front porch steps, it doesn’t get any better than that!
Alex and I hit the water early to try and catch the wily Lake Coeur d’Alene Salmon.  It was also the first time I used my downriggers and I wanted to make sure I didn’t drop them down and anchor myself to the lake bottom.
We put in at Booth Park and then headed over to Hudson Point where we fished a triangle route for a few hours.  Everything went well with the equipment, a few minor snags, none on the lake bottom and not a fish snagged either.  Part of our plan was to fish for Kokanee if we didn’t catch salmon so at about 10:30 AM we switched our rigging and started boating some fish.  We had a super morning and caught some fish for the smoker, so I thing all went very well.
I arrived home about noon and Linda and I were on the road for St. Regis Montana by 1:15 PM.  Ben and Sherma Higgs went over to a camp area below the 14 ½ mile fishing access on Thursday afternoon and we were meeting them there so that we could float and fish on Saturday.
We arrived about 3:30 PM, set up the camper and sat down to rest.  4 AM is way too early to be getting up fishing and then driving.  Ben and Sherma floated the 14 ½ mile stretch and were back to camp at about 5:30 PM.
We fixed dinner and ate.  I was beat so I hit the sack at 9:00 PM.  Linda and the Higgs stayed up and talked.
The next morning Ben and I were on the river by about 9:30 AM launching at the St. Regis fishing launch.  The water was running high and was a little murky.  Bright sun in the morning hampered our attempts, but by the afternoon we were hitting fish.  We both caught a few medium sized bows, Ben hooking a few more then me.  I caught two real nice bows, one hog in the Big Eddie.

Another thing happened while we were fishing. We saw a bear!  This is the second time Ben and I have fish together and both times we have come across bears along the river bank. If you read the post about fishing the Cd'A River we saw one there and then this time Ben spotted on on the left bank splashing in the water.  It was real hot and I bet he just couldn't resist a cold dip.
Back in camp we fixed dinner and cleaned up.  Linda said that she and Sherma had spent some time exploring in the Jeep while we were on the river.  I was glad to hear that.
We drove home Sunday and cleaned everything up.  We are ready to go again, can’t wait and I know I’ll be sure to bring the coffee.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Final Photos, Phew!

Fish are in my blood!

Linda in front of the museum in Westport.

Yes, Linda is cooking.

Buddies enjoying the end of the day.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Bit More of Our Trip

This is the jacuzzi we loaded up in Cd'A.

Let's go! Ruby and Dean, quite the pair.

"There will be a test at the end of the day."

Ruby Beach photo opportunity.

The travelers.

Ruby on Ruby Beach.

Next, the worlds biggest string ball!!!

Yes it is a big one.

Lake Quinault Lodge

Linda loves this place.

The rich and famous.

Quite embarrassing.

...and we married them.

Elk near Don and Caroline's house.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fish Report!

Up at 5:00 AM and to the boat by 6:00 AM, it was fishing day. The reports were not that good from yesterday, the fleet had struggled to catch their limits. A limit is two fish, two Coho or one Chinook and one Coho. They fish Sunday through Thursday for salmon, and then Friday and Saturday it is bottom fish only. Today was our only day for salmon. We got to the boat and everything was ready. Don’s deckhand, Norby, had arrived early and had everything ready to roll. The weather was not the best. During the night the wind had come up and the ocean was a bit unsettled.

Don takes Sachi over the "BAR".

Hang on Bugger!!!

Caroline and Norby inspect the catch.
King salmon were generally caught deeper then the Coho, and they fought quite a bit harder. Caroline can tell the difference in the two fish by the way they act when caught. Kings tend to shake their heads a bit more then the Coho.

Two Kings and some Coho.
We would fish a drift, usually working down wind through birds feeding on the water. Birds tell you where the bait fish are and the salmon are usually feeding on the anchovies that make up the bait ball. We probably averaged two fish on per drift and we usually had three or four hits during that same time. In the end we boated seven fish two of which were Kings. If I had to estimate how many we had one and lost I would say we lost about ten. There were many reasons for losing the fish,mostly they just shook off. Also we probably boated about five native fish that had to be returned to the ocean.
Caroline cleans the catch.
We were back to the port by about 2:00 PM with our catch. We didn’t limit out, but that was OK. We have more than enough fish for big fish feed at home.
We got home and cleaned up, and then Don and I went into town and picked up pizza. We took a Jacuzzi stuffed ourselves with pizza and then went to bed. The movement of the boat continued on into the night, we finally drifted off to sleep.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can't Raft, Let's Drive!

Drive, Drive, Drive; I don’t know what it is going to be like traveling after we no longer have the commitment of work, but right now it’s drive, drive, drive!  We left Post Falls at about 6:45 AM and made great time getting into Westport at about 2 PM.  We stopped in Ellensburg for diesel and a little lunch, which we ate in the truck on the move, and that, was our only stop.
When we arrived Don met us and we got the camper set up.  Once that was done we drove down to the docks and launched Sachi (Happiness) and motored around the pier where we filled her tanks with 100 gallons of diesel fuel.  It is a beautiful boat and I can tell it makes Don very HAPPY. 
We didn’t do much but as we watched and experienced the Westport fishing port it became apparent that Don is one of the fishing families with deep roots.  Every one of the deck hands, boat captains and general dock workers stopped by and complemented Don on his new boat.  They all stopped to chat exchanging fish reports or little bits of the daily life in the fish lane.
We arrived back at the house and were greeted by Caroline and Ruby, their Springer Spaniel. Kobi and Ruby got along right off and we spent the evening watching them play.  Caroline made a wonderful meal of King Salmon, caught yesterday, with all the fixings.  By the time we finished the meal we were ready for bed.  Don stated that in this house 9:00 PM is bed time! We are beginning to feel right at home!
At 6:30 AM Linda’s alarm went off so we rolled out of bed, I made coffee and Linda did her Yoga stretches on the floor. After about a half hour we made our way out of the camper where Linda joined Caroline and the dogs for a drive and lone run/walk on the beach. Don and I went down to the boat and started some projects that needed to be taken care of before the weekend. 
Don tore apart the head and I put the life jackets into plastic bags and then stowed them below deck.  When I finished that Don handed me the circulating pump for the head and I broke it down so that we could replace the impeller.  This took about 45 minutes and while I did the disassembling, Don went to the marine store and bought a bunch of parts.  Once this was all complete I put the pump back together and Don reinstalled it.  It leaked!  So Don took it apart again and Linda and I left. 
We drove back to the house and I showered. Once I got all the mess off and shaved we took Don’s truck drove north to Ocean Shores.  We explored a bit and had a real normal lunch of deep fried food.  The highlight of the trip was a visit to Sharkey’s, a novelty store.  I had a hard time keeping Linda from buying everything.  They had velvet paintings, Sweatshirts with seagulls on them in florescent colors, and post cards that when you moved them the ocean creatures moved like they were alive. So Cool!  I dragged Linda out and we went down the street and had some homemade ice cream.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'm Your Huckleberry

Once and a while you just get cranky and there is really no reason, you just don’t feel like yourself.  This happened leading into this weekend and it made me a bit depressed, and somewhat irritable. What better remedy for the “bite your head off blues” then to get away from town with good friends, and that is what we did.
Happy Hour, a little wine and margaritas.
Huckleberry Campground is a BLM pay campground located on the St. Joe River just above Calder, Idaho.  The Upchurche’s towed their Arctic Fox trailer up the river and we followed them and secured two sights next to each other.  The weather was beautiful and the campground was very nice.  Our home base was the perfect remedy for the Mr. Grouchy flu.
Fish on!!!
We spent our time exploring the area and fishing as much as possible.  We would load up the truck with our fishing gear, a couple chairs, and our lunches and then we would drive some place.  We never really had a direction or a destination in mind, we would just drive and when we got hungry we would eat.  Usually we would also fish a bit after lunch.  One of our first drives took us up Big Creek to a campground located about six miles up the stream.  Darren was spin casting while I tossed some flies.  Big Creek as not as big as it sounded and I was less than successful when it came to catching fish on this stretch.  Darren caught one real nice cutthroat which he landed and released.  About all I could did was get some minnows to strike at the bugs I had on, but all the big guys didn’t even look at what I was presenting.
Meet Lucy, she was our guide but who
always seemed to be recalculating!
 We went back to camp and had hamburgers and hotdogs for dinner. Darren kept a good fire going into the night and we all sat around talking. About 9:00 PM Kobi started looking at the truck.  We have noticed that Kobi goes to his crate at 9:00 PM when we are at home, and he is real good at heading to bed around that time when we are camping.  I think he takes after me in that respect.  Whenever I am rafting, camping or at home, when 9:00 PM rolls around I start looking over my shoulder at the tent, camper or bedroom. Our son Kobi is the same way.
Lucy led us to Big Creek where we fished
and ate lunch.
We got up early and Linda, Kobi and I went down to Calder where I let the two runners out for their morning run.  On the way down we saw a doe and fawn in a grass field.  Their heads were the only things we could see as they ran down towards the river.  I let my two passengers out and then continued on up river for six miles.  I watched for game but didn’t see any and when I reached the three mile point, I stopped and let them catch up. Once they were with me, I took Kobi and we drove out to the six mile mark.  Linda came along and joined us and we returned to camp via the main road.
Bug on the run.
I fixed breakfast and then we loaded up the truck and headed up river past Avery to Tin Can Flats.  Darren and I fished along the river at the various stops we made.  I caught some nice cutthroat on stimulator patterns.  We ate lunch and explored the town of Avery, which took all of five minutes.  We found a couple Geo Caches along the way; Darren stumbled on to one when he walked up a trail head to see where it headed.  There were several graves at this site.  I will check and see if the cache Darren found gives us some further information.  The cache was hidden just off the trail and Darren found it when he was checking out the graves and the cache was under a stump but most of the camouflage had fallen away.  The drive back was uneventful.
This BM is for Al Dee. We were able to find several
Geo Caches while we were out.
At 5:00 PM we met over at the Upchurche’s for evening drinks and to watch the camp fill for the weekend.  Darren was using his new, old, Dutch oven to prepare a meatloaf that Marcy had prepared.  They made the main course and placed it in the Dutch with potatoes, carrots and red peppers.  We sat and talked, listening to XM radio.  They had it on a classic rock station and we all were trying to identify the various artists as the songs played.  When the meatloaf was pronounced done, we dug in and ate till we couldn’t eat any more.  As the sun set, we let the food settle and watched Kobi start looking toward the camper. Yes, it was ten after 9:00 PM his dog clock was right on.  I put him away for the night and returned to find that Marcy had made some sorbet.  What a great evening ender!  Strawberry sorbet eaten while Led Zeppelin played softly in the background, it doesn’t get any better.
We slept well and at 6:30 AM Linda woke up and we loaded up and headed up river for her run.  It was a short one so we crossed the river at The Greeks and went up the old train grade.  There were some Geo Caches located along our path so I found one and got frustrated with the second.  The one I couldn’t find was located somewhere in a gravel pit.  I hate caches where they lead you into a rock slide or a pit and then hide the mini cache under one of seventeen bazillion rocks.  It doesn’t take me long to give up on those. Linda caught up to me and we drove back to camp where we met Darren and Marcy.
Darren and I loaded up the Jeep for a road trip and left the ladies behind.  We drove up to Marble Creek and followed the exact path the Linda and I had driven several years back when we stayed in one of the Marble Creek camps.  The road took us up to an area where the Lines Creek Memorial Trail was located.  We parked the Jeep and hiked the three mile trail.  It was a very nice easy hike and I wanted to do it so that I could show my nephew, Kenyon, and his dad, Al Dee, the photos of the locomotive. Darren and I were amazed at how much work was done, most of it by hand or horse, to make this logging project go.  Marble Creek has a rich history with logging and mining as the focus points.  There is a great interpretive museum and visitor at the start of the Marble Creek road.
Darren approaches one of the old trestles.
This if the Locomotive that the
guide (above) talked about.
From the trail we drove up to the top of Hobo Pass and dropped back down the Marble Creek drainage.  To complete the reenactment of Linda’s and my past exploration we drove into the Hobo Cedar Grove and took a quick walk around.  The trees there are amazing, but there were so many trees that had had the tops blown out of them.  This damage looked very recent and I know that it had not happened the last time we visited.
Our drive back was fast and dusty.  We arrived back in camp and were greeted by the ladies and Kobi. We told the stories of the day and then retired to the showers to wash the dust and dirt off.
Linda and I made the last dinner of the trip.  We went with pasta and red sauce with turkey sausage, mushrooms, red peppers, and onions.  We served it with salad and garlic bread and for dessert we had popsicles.  We watched a deer grazing up the hill across the St. Joe River. The sounds of James Taylor, Billy Joel, and Sir Elton John playing softly in the background. It was so relaxing, except for Kobi and his dog gone stick! Just another scene from the laid back adventures of Canyonwren.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Wrong Mt. Top

Our new home?
Linda, Kobi and I took a Jeep drive to the top of Coeur d'Alene Mountain today.  We packed a lunch and drove past the Beauty Bay Campground.  At the final split in the road we chose the left Jeep trail and ended up at the top of the mountain.  Little bit of a let down though, all we could see were trees. We did find and old pump house or something like that.  I told Linda we were going to sell everything and homestead up there.  She rolled her eyes and shook the keys at me.

Blue Creek Bay, Lake Coeur d'Alene
Backtracking we went back to the split and continued on past a camp ground that included a pit toilet.  We finally dropped down on the Bunco Road, headed back north and drove home.  I need to explore that area a bit more, or possibly take the time to ask Jon and Jacob where the got their panoramic view of the lake and all.  Oh well I have ventured out into the back country many time without a map or even any idea where I was going.  This time I had a map, GPS and Linda my faithful guide.  Kobi kept his head in my lap, I don't even think he cared where we were.

View Coeur d'Alene Mt. Jeep Drive in a larger map

Friday, July 08, 2011

You Can Always Learn...

Sunset at Arrow Point
Checking out the new stuff available for blogging with Blogger. I am always interested in what new features they come up with.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Fireworks!

This is a bit long, but the fireworks were fantastic and we were just about right under them.  We poached a dock at the Discovery Marina at Gozzer.  What a kick!

On The 4th Of July

Celebrating in style!

Cooking dinner on Reel Time.

Loretta enjoying the day.

"I think I'll have another!"

Life doesn't get any better then this!

Gozzer fireworks barge get in place.