Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Finally, the skies have cleared!

The smoke from the many forest fires was as bad as it had been all year. People with breathing difficulties had to stay inside. The rain we received had missed many of the fires, but relief was on the way! A new cold front blasted though and brought two days of rain, along with cold temperatures and has knocked down many of the fires, (we have had to protect our plants from frost).
The skies have cleared for the first time and four to eight inches of snow has dusted the mountain tops, (but not on the Salt Range). The leaves are starting to turn, although the colors won’t be as red as usual, because of the effects of the prolonged drought.
The main message if that fall is rapidly approaching and we will soon be hooking up and heading south. Of course, we are finishing our doctors and dentist appointments and it also means we must fix some problems with our truck.
While it would be nice to buy a new truck it’s still cheaper to simply bite the bullet and fix the one we have. We are also preparing for a small show this weekend, in Alpine, Wyoming, and this involves making items to replace the ones we sold this summer.
Renita and I did take a day to have some fun which of course for me meant going fishing with friends while her idea was to spend a day shopping in Jackson. Renita and her friends shopped and ate lunch at her favorite restaurant while I joined George and his nephew Chris and I went fly fishing on the Gros Vente and the Hoback, (George caught and released two cuts, Chris four, and well at least I had one on).
The shopping trip was a success while the fishing, well for me at least was less than stellar. Still a day fishing such beautiful and famous streams is always a joy. Wading a fast stream, while watching for moose and bears always adds excitement, especially when one walks though tall willow patches!
So this morning, Molly and I took our four am walk, her idea not mine, and the stars were simply gorgeous. Orion is now risen above the Salt Range and so it’s only a matter of time. Winter is on her way. Clear skies, and safe travels.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Great Day on the Salt and Searching for Berry Patch Bears

Bob wanted to spend another day fishing and so we decided to float the Salt River. I had had good luck last year while floating in my pontoon and so the plan was for Bob to float and fish from the pontoon while I would fish from my kayak. Never mind that Bob had never floated a swift river in a pontoon, everything would be just fine.
Setting up the pontoon, I adjusted the oars for Bobs height, and I did it perfectly wrong! As soon as he took off he discovered that the oars weren’t short enough, and he couldn’t get a full stroke! Spinning like a whirling dervish he bounced along the bank but finally was able to reach shore.
Catching up to him we readjusted he oars and after practicing by floating around two more meanders he became adept at keeping the pontoon pointed in the right direction. We started to fish the river and before long we both had fish on!
They were hitting on the same fly we had used on another river, notice I am not saying what it was, and so we spent the next five hours laying out line as we spotted rising fish. Noon arrived, and the fish seemed to quit feeding. It had become still and so we stopped and drank some water before continuing our float.
The wind started to blow, and the fish started to feed. We took turns and caught and released four fish from one hole.  Bob had a huge fish on, but the fish pulled the hook free. You never forget the fight when you have a large fish on, nothing like a story of how a big one got away!
 It was a very good day on the Salt River and we ended up catching and releasing sixteen fish! The largest fish was fourteen inches, with most of the fish from twelve to eight inches in length. All the fish but one were Snake River Fine Spotted Cutthroats. We arrived at the takeout point and after a short portage we loaded the boats in the back end of the truck.
The next day found the four of us heading to Grand Teton National Park. A grizzly sow had been spotted along a road and the bears were feeding on berries. We had packed a lunch as we neared our road into the park saw a sign that the road had been closed to protect the bears!
Entering the park, the ranger told us that they had closed the road earlier in the morning and told us that we could drive in five miles. We decided to stop at the Granite Canyon trailhead and take a short hike.
Quite a few people had the same idea and so we started the hike with a gradual climb up a rocky hill. At first the trail went through an area of aspen, all broken from a severe storm two years ago. Last year a snow storm had generated winds that had toppled steel power lines and had caused the loss of power and the evacuation of nearby Teton Village.
Reaching the crest of the ridge we paused before heading down another gradual hill finally reaching a bridge crossing a fast-flowing mountain stream. We decide w should head back to the truck as we had not brought our lunch and so retracing our steps we had a nice easy three-mile hike.
Deciding to drive down the road we passed the Death Canyon trailhead and reached a hillside where we had watched bears last all. Stopping at a pull off we got out the chairs and unpacked dour lunch. I walked over to the hillside and it was obvious that it wasn’t a great berry year. The berries were few and far between and most were not yet ripe.
No bears ever appeared but that didn’t matter. It had been a nice easy day in the park and even though there was smoke from the forest fires it hadn’t caused us to cancel our hike. We had a nice picnic and it was time to head back to Star Valley.
It always fun when friends and family show up for a visit and it gives us a chance to share with them the beauty that surrounds us. We never planned on living here, but we said that someday we would find a beautiful part of the world and spend our summers there. Star Valley is the place. Thanks Bob and Nancy for the visit and of course, clear skies, (we do desperately need rain).

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Visit from Long Time Friends, Part 1

We have been blessed with so many friends in our lives, and so when Bob and Nancy, (I taught Science with Bob for thirty years and he was my fishing partner in eighteen years of walleye tournaments), decided to visit us here in Star Valley we were excited and could hardly wait for their arrival. They arrived here last Sunday after driving the thousand plus miles from eastern Kansas.
Bob had already bought a nonresident fishing license, (Wyoming now has a five day for only fifty bucks), and so we headed out for a day of fly fishing at one of my favorite streams. The stream is hard to get to as it involves some walking but as soon as we reached the stream it only took Bob three casts before he landed his first Snake River Fine Spotted Cutthroat, (he has caught them before).
After the second fish I also started to fish, and we played leap frog from hole to hole. Reaching my favorite hole Bob caught a nice fish and then landed the best fish of the day, a fourteen-inch cut. We safely released all the fish. Our total for the day was twenty-two fish!
The next day we changed the directions and headed to the Greys Lake Refuge. The refuge was established to support the breeding grounds of Sandhill Cranes. The drought had shrunk the lake considerably and many of the areas we visited were dry.
Still we saw lots of cranes! The cranes had left their nests and so family groups were feeding close to the roads. The large flocks haven’t yet formed up for their migration, but it won’t be long as some of the trees are starting to get yellow leaves.
A beautiful red-tailed hawk left its perch before we could take its image, but a Harris hawk perched proudly on a telephone pole and allowed me to get a pretty good image. We did not see many other birds, due to the lake shrinking so far from the road, but we did see an immature yellow headed blackbird, lots of little grey birds we couldn’t identify, and several ducks. Unfortunately attempts to take images were less then stellar and so we not going to post them.
Still it had been a great day with lots of sandhill cranes and we stopped for a picnic at a campground along Tin Cup Creek. It’s a great trout stream just across the Wyoming Idaho border and one we have never fished it as we would have to buy an Idaho license.
Eating lunch, we talked of plans for more fishing and planned a day in Grand Teton National Park The bears there are heading to the berry patches, and the fall is one of the best times to see them. Bob had never fished from a pontoon boat before and also we decided to float the Salt River.
Both of those adventures are for anther blog entry so for now let’s just wish you all, clear skies

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Doctors, Dentists, Getting Organized, and of Course Fishing

August is kind of a weird month. Instead of the usual activities, its time to get caught up with trips to doctors, dentists, getting ready for our last show of the year, and trying to find some time to go fishing. Luckily, we managed to get lots of these things done.
One of the hardest things to do when traveling is to find a good dentist and doctor. Renita and I have finally solved that problem as we have found a great local doctor, (new to this area), and a dentist in Idaho Falls. We have also found a specialist that will help Renita with her diabetes.
In the last blog I showed a few images of the collection we purchased and so I have spent a total of five days, identifying and organizing, thousands of fossils along with a better method of bins to store our rock slabs. The slabs are slices of rocks that are the first step in making a cabochon that we finish into jewelry.
Now I can easily find what I am looking for and not have to waste time and effort moving box after box, all of which are heavy. It also makes putting things away easier as I can just toss the unused slabs into the proper bin.
Our friends returned from Colorado and it didn’t take much to convince George to go fishing. The next morning, we headed to one of our favorite streams. We leap frogged the holes, always fishing upstream and caught and released twenty-four snake river cut throats.
It was no surprise that I was out fished by George as he caught sixteen of the fish while I caught eight. Many of the fish were small but still I managed to catch a nice fourteen-inch fish. Tomorrow we hope to fish another stream, maybe getting the float pontoons out, or maybe just running up the Greys.
Regardless it will be a fun day where ever we go. Both streams we may fish, have heavy fishing pressure and they are streams where quite a few of the native fish are harvested. We release all the cuts, but I do sometimes keep mountain whitefish, (whitefish are a good eating and delicate white meat, that lends itself to any of your favorite fish recipes and most people throw them back, so the limit is twenty-five fish). Clear skies