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Showing posts from August, 2013

The State of the Plum

It's been a year since I started this little blog.  I'm still not sure why.  Blogging kind of takes on a life of its own.  It is satisfying.  One thing that I've learned is that anybody can do it.  It does take a little effort, time too, in order to cobble a post together.

That very first post was about steelhead run timing as it relates to the ripening of our plum tree. What a coincidence, the fruit ripen at the same time each year.  Holy cow, the steelhead show up about the same time too!  It's kind of like Groundhog day. Anyway, there must be a lot of folks clamoring to find a way to predict steelhead run timing.  The post had a lot of hits.

Since that first post I've learned that steelhead generate a lot of interest. Hiking, locally in southwest Montana, seems to be popular too.  Golden trout, bird dogs, hunting in Alaska and arctic char, same thing.  What people in Latvia find interesting about this blog is beyond me.

So, yes, the plums are ripening.  Not qui…

Harvest Time and Apple Memories

Our kitchen and hallway are now filled with the wonderful aroma of ripe apples.  I picked them weeks ago.  Not by choice, but out of necessity.  They weren't quite ripe, but I figured that if I wanted any for our own eating, that I'd better pick some. Danged birds just couldn't leave them alone.  Why is it that they have to peck each and every piece of fruit just as soon as it shows the slightest tinge of color? No matter, they're still great eating.  They make great applesauce, bake well too.  Apple cobbler is cooling on the stovetop as I write this.  Soon it will be graced with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

The tree is a Mantet apple purchased locally from Cashman Nursery.  Fragrant and flavorful, it ripens early, which was one of the reasons for its purchase.  Now ten years old, the tree produces well.  It's just a battle beating the birds to the fruit.  It would be nice if we could leave the fruit on the tree just a little longer so that it could ripen fully.…

A Path Half Beaten

With August winding down I had one last chance to strap on a pack before the arrival of September. Summer, so slow to arrive, then it's gone in a flash.  Working every other weekend as I do, it passes even more quickly.

I left home before 5 a.m.  It's a slow drive through the Paradise Valley while dodging deer.  This particular morning, several nice whitetail bucks were intent on ending their lives prematurely as they ran across the highway.  My car survived this part of the trip without needing any auto body work. Then, there's the drive through the Park.  Tourists.  Enough said.

I arrived at the Clark Fork trailhead, loaded up and hit the trail by 8 a.m.  The first few miles of the trail are rather so-so.  It's hiking through the lodgepole forest while trying to avoid stepping on horse apples.  The section along Kersey Lake passes through an old burn and allows views of the surrounding mountains. Then it's back into the timber for another couple of miles.  Russ…

Deer Lake Dayhike

It's a nice hike, about six miles or so (each way). The elevation gain is steady but not brutal. An occasional straight stretch in the trail offers respite from the climb.  The prize at the end of the hike is the opportunity to cast a fly to grayling in an alpine lake.

I hit the trail around 7 a.m.  The morning was pleasant, dew or light rain from the previous night clung to the brush that hung over the trail. Along the way, I ran into this fellow rummaging for breakfast. He was unconcerned by my presence, enough so that he turned his back on me, sat, and went back to filling his belly.  I squirted by on the trail.

The rest of the hike was uneventful as regards wildlife.  In and out of the lodgepole timber, the trail follows a stream a good part of the way.  I stopped once to fill my water bottle from a spring (I carry a filter).

I arrived at the lake and found the surface calm.  Here and there grayling were rising. I snapped a few photos and commenced to rigging for the mornings…

A Summer Day on the Missouri River

After a few days of backpacking, we decided that a vacation day of fishing would be nice.  It was a spur of the moment decision.  When I contacted the folks at Crosscurrents in Craig, we knew that hooking up with a guide on such short notice would be pretty tough.  But, they soon called back. Done deal.  Just show up.  Tomorrow morning.

We arrived in Craig at 6:30, met our guide, Mike Geary, and were promptly on our way to the put in.
We lucked out.  Jo and I are both pretty low key anglers.  Mike, pleasant, easy going and affable, also happens to be an outfitter and owner of Lewis and Clark Expeditions.  He runs trips on Montana's Smith River and is most active in Project Healing Waters.  Quite a guy.  Once we got on the water, it didn't take long to realize that sitting in a boat is a hell of a lot easier than lugging a pack up a trail.

It was a bright, blue sky, August day. With temperatures forecast in the eighties, it would be a wet wading day. Other than a few stray puf…