Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bike ride in to fishing

It’s been a long time since I posted to this blog. Not because I’ve lost interest, but because it seemed to be getting boring. Every week I/we go off and do some fun thing; how many times do people really want to read about it?

Even with the lack of activity on my part, I know that a lot of people read this blog. I get frequent emails from people commenting on various posts. It seems that the guide books just are not good enough on subjects like climbing South Sister, camping in the Steens wilderness, or even wakeboarding (which I have not done in over two years).

Anyway, every week is the same old thing: fishing trip here, canoe ride there, hiking over yonder, floating down another river, etc. It’s great, but I’ve lost interest in documenting these things.

Until today. This morning I got up in the dark, threw my gear in the truck, and drove about 65 miles to a locked gate at the end of a dirt road. I loaded up my bike and backpack and rode a few miles more. By 9 am I was at the spot in the photo.

My 26-year old mountain bike did just fine with a rod tube lashed to it. The panniers I bought decades ago held up great as well. It was an amazing day of fishing. The temperature never got above 46 degrees, but I was prepared and the fish were willing.

In less than five hours I caught almost two dozen fish. All were wild, half were native. Big, healthy, strong fish living in a pristine environment. To be able to fool these fish with tiny little flies and then release them unharmed is an unbelievable pleasure for me. (I really don’t understand why.)

It’s even better when I can do it in a spot that clearly few people venture into. The bike ride wasn’t especially difficult, but the various climbs/scrambles down from the road to the holes and bushwhacking needed to get there seems to really limit the people. I’m sure that countless fishermen have preceded me in these spots, but I couldn’t see much evidence of them and the only other “footprints” I saw today were from elk.

And I got home in time for dinner. Central Oregon is a great place to live.

Days like today make me wonder how I ever got so lucky. How can some of us have things so good, while so many others suffer? A question that has haunted thinkers for centuries.

(No, of course, I can’t tell you where I was. Get out there and do some exploring yourself.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Jack & Jenny Visit

Karen's parents, Jack and Jenny, visited or a few days last week, over the weekend, and for a couple of days this week. We had a good time, I played golf with him one day at Eagle Ridge and we did the tourist thing the rest of the time. One of the big events of the year, the Pole, Pedal, Paddle also occurred last weekend.

The PPP is a multi-sport race where people run up a downhill ski run, ski back down, Nordic ski, ride a road bike down the mountain to Bend, go on a run, paddle a course on the river, and then sprint to the finish. The people who win the race on their own are ex-Olympic or current national caliber skate skiers, so it is extremely competitive. More casual athletes participate as well. Karen was on a team of women over 40 called the "Slowly Buy Surely Divas". She did the Nordic part of the race. This is her later in the day with only part of the costume still on.

The weather was great the whole time Jack & Jenny were here except for one day when it was very cold and rainy / snowy. We went exploring that day at Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Here's a photo of Karen and her folk's in front of Paulina Falls. All in all, a fun visit.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fishing Last Week

I've been fishing a lot lately but have forgotten my camera, or have not been able to get a good shot, or some other mishap (like dead batteries), so no recent posts. Last Tuesday things finally came together. Fellow COF member Ed and I floated an 8.5 mile section of the lower Deschutes and caught some nice fish. This one was the winner, a very nice native Redband trout. Ed landed it after a heck of a battle on very light tippet material. That's his new drift boat in the background. Ed even BBQ'd some elk burgers for lunch. A very fun day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Computer Heck...

The past 2 weeks have been a nightmare. Just as I was finishing up my taxes my hard drive failed. My last backup was about 2 months old (silly me), but worst than that the backup drive had a ton of bad sectors and a lot of the data on it was not recoverable. So, after days and days of trying to repair hard drives, recover data, install new drives, rebuild my operating system, reinstall all the software, etc., I'm finally back up and running with only a small amount of data loss.

What a pain!

Now, it's time to start my taxes (again). I did take one afternoon last week to go fishing. Caught a couple of nice brown trout (around 15"). It's going to be a good trout season this spring in Central Oregon.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Secret River

This weekend my neighbor and I went steelhead fishing in Eastern Washington. I'm not going to say where, because this is an "undiscovered" river that could be overwhelmed quickly with fishermen. It's no more than 30 feet wide in most places, and even more narrow in many. A small river that's filled with steelhead right now.

In two days I landed 6 fish and lost that many again. I saw that many get caught by others as well. All the ones I caught were wild but one. That was the small one - 22 inches. The wild fish were between that and 30 inches and great fighters.

The top photo is the biggest fish I landed, a 30" buck. I had one on that I got up right next to me that looked a little bigger, but he turned and broke off (15 lb test) at the last minute. The bottom fish is a typical sized hen, about 24 inches. She started to lay her eggs right when I picked her up (you can see it in the photo). I quickly returned her to the water and could not measure her. So, I'm guessing on the size. She's definitely bigger than the 22" hatchery fish I kept. I feel bad about the egg laying, but she was the only one who did it.

I included the shot of the waterfall (in spite of the poor quality) because while we were standing there fishing, the steelhead where jumping it. It was great to watch. One steelhead after another jumping half way up and literally swimming up the falls the rest of the way. Amazing. That's Pat, my neighbor, in the shot.

A fun couple of days.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Bluebird Day

I've taken up a new sport: skate skiing. It's a form of cross country skiing, but you skate, like with ice skates. Karen has been doing it for a year and has convinced me to join her. It's never going to be as fun as Alpine, but it is a good way to mix things up. Especially on days where there's not a lot of new snow for the off-piste stuff we like. Here's a shot of Karen this morning stopped on the track with the mountains in the background. Another so-so cell phone camera shot.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bend Brag

Today was one of those "Bend Brag" days; actually this weekend is going to be a Bend Brag weekend. (For the uninitiated, the Bend Brag is talking how how many cool things you did in a single day.)

Last night (Fri) we hit our favorite local wine shop, tasted a few offerings, and picked up a decent Montrachet. Today we hit Mt. Bachelor early for morning downhill runs under perfect blue skies. The holiday weekend crowds drove us out around noon so we came home to a warm day. Karen went for a run, I grabbed a quickie 14.3 mile road bike ride. (The photo below is from my ride. It's from a cell phone camera, but even this poor quality photo shows how great the scenery is.)

Tonight we plan to drink that bottle of wine with some friends over crab quiche. Tomorrow the plan is to skate ski in the morning. I'll do some afternoon fly fishing. Not sure what Karen's plans are.

Sometimes I can't believe how incredibly lucky I am to live here, other times I can't believe how stupid I was to take so long to get here...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Fishing on the Metolius

(This is the second attempt at this post. The first one was with a video clip, but there seems to be a technical problem between the new version of Blogger and Catalla's video service. There may be another somewhat duplicative post appearing later if things get worked out.)

Yesterday I played hooky and went fishing. I couldn't find anyone to tag along, so went alone. It was another perfect day in Central Oregon. Sunny, but cold. Air temp when I started was 20 degrees.

I've learned that there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Fortunately, I now have good clothes and was plenty warm. Equally fortunately, the cold weather keeps most people away, so I had the river pretty much to myself - unless you count the eagles, otters, and other critters that makes a hike around here always fun.

The only real issue was ice forming in my rod guides and occasionally freezing up my reel. Easily rectified, but it will mess up a cast - and always it seems to happen at the most inopportune time. The real issue was water temp of about 40 degrees - according to my thermometer - which made the fishing slow.

I was able to land the biggest whitefish I have ever seen, at least 17 inches and thick, but could not get a fish to rise to a dry fly all day. These are the kind of difficulties I really enjoy.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

As is our tradition, we went skiing/boarding today after we opened up a few presents in the morning. Gift giving is light around here as we all get early Chirstmas presents in October and November: snow gear upgrades. I also got myself this new camera phone. Not the best quality photos, especially outside in heavy snow conditions, but you get the general idea. A friend we ran across on the slopes snapped the photo for us.

It was a perfect day on the mountain. About a foot of fresh new snow to start, new snow filling up our tracks as fast as we could make them, empty runs, and new powder skis. This is why we moved to Bend. Starting tomorrow the holiday crowds will arrive from out of town and we'll take a short break. The best skiing will start in a couple more weeks anyway, then all the rocks will be covered up on the backside and we'll get fresh tracks all day long.

Hope your day was as fun as ours.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holiday Card

I've sort of fallen off on postings here lately, but resolve to get back on it. We've been as busy as ever. Ski & board season is well under way. Syndey is on the freestyle skiing team. She's also swimming, playing flute in the band, and getting ready for basketball season. Miles is on the local competition snowboard team and wrestling on his high school team. Ethan is working and focused on moving out of the house after graduation this spring.

Karen and I are enjoying life, keeping an excellent balance between work and play. I've been steelhead fishing a lot this fall and winter and we're both spending time every weekend (and some weekdays) on the mountain.

All-in-all, we are very fortunate human beings.

Monday, October 23, 2006

East Lake

Last Saturday the Central Oregon Flyfishers club had an outing to East Lake and I went along. East Lake is one of two lakes inside the Newberry Caldera - what's left of a huge volcano that erupted in a particularly violent fashion a long time ago.

The lake shore was filled with dead Kokanee salmon. They had finished their spawning and life cycles. The birds were having a feast.

East Lake is at about 6,500 feet and it was about 28 degrees went we lauched the boat at about 9 am. That's frost on the ground in the first photo.

The water temperature was cold as well, about 48 degrees. That's below the range that trout stay active in, so we moved around until we found a spot where an underwater hot spring warmed the water enough to get the fish moving.

The second photo is of fellow club member and passenger Bob with a nice brown trout he caught. The last photo is me with my brown. We got a couple of rainbows as well. All in all a good way to spend a cold but clear fall day.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hike up Broken Top 2

Here's a fairly low quality video from my camera very near the top. It was pretty windy there and the audio is poor, but the scenery is worth a look.

Hike Up Broken Top

Today was another day in paradise type day - warm and crystal clear. So, Karen and I ditched the kids and hiked to near the top of Broken Top mountain. To get to the top you need to do real rock climbing which was not on our agenda today. We got close to 9,000 feet in any event and the views and scenery were stunning as usual for the crest of the Cascades.

The first photo is the standard postcard view of Broken Top - and for good reason. The next photo is around the other side of the mountain and up pretty close to the top. The very rapidly melting glaciers there have created this lake. It is an amazing shade of blue-green.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fall Strawberry 2006

Over Labor Day Weekend we made our 6th annual pilgrimage to the Strawberry Music Festival ( Another very fun trip filled with music and friends. I was having too much fun to bother to get the video camera out until the last day, but here's a good morning-til-night summary. Check out last year's video for more shots of the festival atmosphere. Strawberry is always a highlight of our year.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Steelhead Fishing

I spent the past 3 days steelhead fishing on the Deschutes River about 20 miles up from where it dumps into the Columbia River. This is a roadless area that you have to boat into. We camped by the side of the river and fished from before sun up to dark. I had never been on this section of the river. Went with a few guys who have been doing this trip for many years. Pretty fun.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Deschutes Float

It's been really hot here the past week, so yesterday we (Yancy, Karen, Sydney) went for a 3+ hour float down the Deschutes from above Sunriver to Benham Falls. Sydney's friend Jade, her sister Jenna, and their dad Rob came along. It was pretty relaxing until a late afternoon thunderstorm developed and we had to paddle hard for an hour to get to the take out spot.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day 2 at Fish Lake

We went for a really fun mountain bike ride. We started out riding up on top of the ridge over the lake. It was plenty warm, and the snow was quickly melting just above us. We were able to ride about half way down into this valley. At the bottom is Fish Creek which dumps into the Donner and Blitzen about 15 miles downstream. About as picturesque as one could ask for.

Steens 7.8.06

We're just back from a week of camping in eastern Oregon and visiting friends, Scott and Lolita Pine, in McCall, Idaho. We camped next to the Donner und Blitzen river in the Steens Mountains, then much higher up at Fish Lake. That was a very nice spot.

On the way home we went a more northern route and camped next to Magone Lake in the Malheur Mountains, just outside of John Day. A very nice spot as well, but with way too many people. Myabe it's just a little too accessable to Portland. I don't think we'll go back there.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Twin Pillars

Getting to the Twin Pillars was a bit of a pain. The trail is pretty much gone after years of lack of maintenance and we ended up bushwacking it. Plus, it was only a marginally interesting rock formation. So there was some frustration with this part of the hike but Sydney passed the test and we know that we can do some real backpacking with her this summer. Not bad for a 10 year old.

Mill Creek Wilderness 7.1.06

The boys are in Costa Rica visiting Mom & Dad, and we're taking advantage of the opportunity. Last weekend Karen, Sydney and I went back packing in the Mill Creek Wilderness in the Ochoco Mountains. Sydney has been camping since she was a baby and has done plenty of day hikes into wilderness areas, but this was her first backpacking trip. It was just an overnighter, but she had to carry her gear and food. We all had a good time.

The walk in was just 3 miles, which gave us lots of time to set up camp and fool around in the creek for much the afternoon. The next day we took a long loop out - 9 miles and over 3000 feet in elevation gain and then descent via a geological formation called the Twin Pillars. That day was tiring. Sydney was a trooper.

The Mill Creek Wilderness is a nice spot. Just over an hour east from our house, but remote. Mill Creek is small, but holds a ton of small brook trout and I caught more than my fair share. We saw a couple of deer and caught just a glimpse of an elk as it ran away.

Next week we're off to eastern Oregon and Idaho camping in our tent trailer.