Posted By shefisher

Mt Princeton My home over there, now I remember it!
And when I see that mountain far away,
Why, then I weep. Alas! What can I do?...
My home over there, now I remember it!
(Tewa Song, Margot Astrov in The Winged Serpent, p.222)

Coming Home. A slow succession of feelings flows over. Relief at safe arrival slides by in the background, overshadowed by a sense of comfort at being in one's own place. That comfort is temporarily shelved, however, first by the slight tug of sadness that the adventurous journey is over, then by the realization of all the work that stands between the home-comer and the home-enjoy-and-relaxer. It was still snowing when I left in late May. Snow covered the peaks, trees were just budding, flowers were but a promise. Now the summer's weeds have taken over the driveway and yard. The small tree has become a bush with all the watershoots that have sprouted. The Canadian Red Cherry's stark sticks now sport dark leaves and are laden with ripening red fruit. A small patch of last year's wildflowers welcome me with white blooms. Inside, the laundry room braces for its upcoming task. Every horizontal surface awaits relief from its dusty covering. The bare fridge and cupboards beg to be replenished. But the shower's call wins out over all other voices. A new addition greets me as well. Phil surprised me by replacing the rickety, roofless original porch with a new redwood deck. As you read this, we have been home several days. Already my own special carpenter has advanced the deck toward completion.

You have experienced it, that odd time warp after a vacation. Once you are back home, you have this feeling that the trip was only a dream, questioning whether you went away at all. With the extended timeframe of our trip, it's a bit different. Like Rip van Winkle, these surroundings look so different than when I left, and are so different than the spaces I lived in over the last months, that this almost feels like the unreality. But I do know one thing, there is nothing like living in one room and sharing a bath for weeks, then two of us living in a truck camper for even more weeks, to make this small abode seem spacious. Click my heels, there's no place like Home.

Footnote: There is so much I didn't have time to write or post on the trip. The stories will continue for awhile, once I get reset here. I'm going to write them for "me," but I'd like it if you came back and read along. Thanks.

Posted By shefisher

Cameron Pass CO Whine - tickle - smack. Repeat over and over. It didn't seem bad at first, but it became the theme song of late afternoon and evening. Mosquitoes. Alas, the blood-sucking miniature buzzards are here in force. Time for Eau d' Cutters.

There is a control system, though the solution may seem worse than the problem. Bats. One seems to live in the bushes where we are camped, apparently accustomed to human companionship. Rather than the normal quickly darting flight, this one fairly ambles through the air, presumably sipping his entomological tidbits at ease. I became concerned as Phil's flyline flung a fake fly. I've had birds take my fly. Would this bat try to eat it? The bat, though, seemed more attracted to the rod tip, nearly landing on it. When Phil flicked him away, Mr. Bat made a slow but deliberate track straight toward me. That was enough! I was in the camper in the blink of an eye.

The full darkness of night brought other adventures. When we pulled the outside door closed over the screen door, we saw a dark shape between the doors. It turned out to be our friend the bat, clinging to the screen. He had followed insects who'd been drawn to the inside lights. Getting the bat off the screen without letting him into the camper was quite a trick. Later, during the wee hours of night, we heard rattling that we hoped was outside, not in. Maybe a raccoon was attracted to the bag outside that held our belly boats. Phil got up, went outside and put the bag on top of my SUV. It was some time before we could go back to sleep.

Next morning, life in the wild had settled down. Sitting out by the lake with a morning cup of coffee sounded good. I sat down and turned to put my cup in the chair's holder. A dark shadow in the holder caught my eye. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was what appeared to be a dead bat! I couldn't get away from that chair fast enough! Calm, brave Husband came over to look, pronouncing it not dead but merely asleep. Oh, thanks, that makes it all better! He unceremoniously tossed the bat out of the chair into the nearby bush. Given the choice, I'll take the mosquitoes.

The unraveling continued. When Phil pulled the belly boats out of the camper, a mouse scampered across the floor. It was, no doubt, the mystery noisemaker from the night before. It was dispatched as quickly as the sleeping bat. High winds, thunder and lightning, and a mishap with my car added to the stress. This trip has worked out well because we've followed our instincts. This is beyond instinct; it's more like overwhelming evidence. It's time to call the game and head for home. That humble little house in Nowhere-ville never sounded so good.

Posted By shefisher nest Driving into Dutch John on the Green River was like arriving at my second home. I've grown to love this river and this area, despite the marginal living arrangements I've had to make these 2 years. It's the people and the area's beauty that hold me. After "hellos," a shower, and laundry, we started feeling human again. Our campsite at Mustang Ridge gave us a view of Flaming Gorge Reservoir across to the dam. In the late evening, an almost-full moon rose, reflecting its silver crescent in an elongated obelisk toward us over the lake. swimmers Fishing was reportedly good on 'hoppers. We tested the theory the next day. The water was high but crystal clear, so fish were cautious to rise. The only hopper pattern they would take was one I did not have. Fortunately, Phil had the right one and an extra to loan me. We did catch fish, some nice size, but we felt we truly earned them. At one point, as I strategized my approach to a particular run, I was interrupted by a family of mergansers. Mama kept watch on the point of a rock as her young ones huddled together napping. I skirted around to fish the prime fish feeding point. Once there, I heard some splashing behind me. There were the merganser ducklings, moving upriver toward me, diving and bobbing up again as they advanced. Mergansers are fish eaters, so while they were cute, they were not welcome companions in my fishing spot. They eventually moved on through, but I had to do so as well. Gates of Ladore Two of the people we had wanted most to see were not around for a few days, Emmett in particular, so we moved on. My own vehicle, stored here for our Idaho and Montana sojourn, started up right away as though glad to roll down the road with me once again. I made the choice to drive into Colorado via the back road to Maybell. I opted for the old Jesse Ewing road with its 14% curving grade into Brown's Park while Phil took the slick new straight road in the truck camper. Once in Colorado the road improved, taking us past the view toward Gates of Ladore. Here, where the mountain splits, the Green River takes its wild turn south to accept the Yampa River before turning west and south again to join the Colorado River.

The rest of the trip on to Walden, Colorado, was uneventful except for the slight emotional nudge I felt when descending the far side of Rabbit Ears Pass to the turn into North Park, Walden's home. We have lots of memories and fishing history together in this area. Deja vu all over again.

Posted By shefisher From Bear Lake, Utah, we cut across southwest Wyoming - past the power windmills, sage-covered hills, and pronghorn herds complete with their growing fawns - retracing our route out of Dutch John, Utah, some weeks ago. The single variance was a visit to Ft. Bridger Historic Site. Famous mountain man Jim Bridger established a trading fort in 1843 at what became one of the main hubs of westward expansion. Though the fort's trade lasted only 10 years, it remained an important site. Owners and/or users included Mormon pioneers, the U.S. Army, Pony Express, Overland Stage and the Union Pacific Railroad. After the U.S. government abandoned the site in 1890, preservationists restored it 40 years later, and Fort Bridger was dedicated as a Wyoming Historical Landmark and Museum in 1933. The founder was the Jim Bridger for which the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Bridger Wilderness is named. Millions of Wyoming wilderness and recreation acres named for him is testament to his historic influence. He got on well with regional Indians, as each of his three successive wives was from a different tribe. Adapting to changing times, he became an astute business man. Thanks to his industry and creativity, his family lived in relative luxury for a frontier fort. In addition to the well-stocked store, the compound included a bath and laundry house with a mechanism to supply hot water, a dairy, and Wyoming's first schoolhouse (pictured at left).

Merely an interesting side trip? Ah, there's more, as it turns out. The Wind River Mountain Range, which includes Bridger Wilderness, forms a triple divide for three major western watersheds: the Columbia River, the Colorado River, and the Missouri. Every river and stream we have visited on this trip flows in one of these three watersheds. The Green River is headwatered in Bridger's wilderness. Two of our days were spent along the edge of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. It seemed only fitting that we visit the namesake of our trip's originating waters.

Posted By shefisher The time has finally come to start heading home. It is a bittersweet transition, a mix of sadness at ending this gypsy-like odyssey and a longing for the comforts of one's own home and all its conveniences. We'll continue our fishing and other adventures as we work our way back, but there is already an underlying anticipation of being in the place we call "home." campingOur return route weaves through 4 different states. First, I-84 in Idaho drops us into Utah, where we take the more picturesque track through Logan, then Logan Canyon. A riverside campsite lends us an overnight respite. The fast-flowing stream has some tempting pools for fishing, but no takers. One little fish performed a full gainer somersault under an overhanging bush. It never would repeat the feat for the fly I floated along the same spot. Satisfied to have seen at least one small finned one, we spent the rest of the evening relaxing at our campfire and roasting marshmallows.

Flyfishcafe.comTopping the pass the next morning, we stopped at the overlook above Bear Lake, that huge body of uniquely turquoise water that straddles the Utah/Idaho border. Before descending the mountain onto the lakeside road that we'd driven on the outbound direction weeks before, we played tourist, taking photos and reading the informational signboards. One board featured large pictures of four fish, and related the following: Isolated geographically for at least 100,000 years, combined with their adaptation to this lake's unique water chemistry, are four fish species that are found in Bear Lake and nowhere else in the world: Bear Lake Whitefish, Bonneville Whitefish, Bear Lake Sculpin, and Bonneville Cisco. Additionally, Bonneville Cutthroat, Utah Chub and Utah Sucker are native to Bear Lake. Who knew we'd learn something about fish on a mountaintop?

To be continued...



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