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Best of All...

“Best of all he loved the fall the fall with the tawny and grey the leaves yellow on the cottonwoods leaves floating on the trout streams and above the hills the high blue windless skies"

by Ernest Hemingway


I've waited a long time to have the time to enjoy my favorite season.  There's never been enough time.  Too many competing interests.  A longbow and rifle required regular mountain walks.  They now gather dust.  Work, well what can be said.  It demanded a lot of time and effort too.  Well, I've retired my counting tray and spatula and shut off the part of my brain that had been devoted to work.    My mind and body can now be re-purposed.  A fly rod beckons.  Make that several.  And fish.  There are too many uncaught trout.  If they're lucky, they'll stay that way.  I plan to have a little say in that matter though. 




So, two weeks into this next life what have I to show?   Well, gas.  You know, for the car.  There's been a half dozen trips to the creek.  Mos…

Cool Change...

A few days sandwiched between the nineties of summer make for glorious hiking and camping conditions.  Rarely can one backpack on a mid sixty degree August afternoon.  Imagine, summer hiking without breaking a sweat, what a luxury.  Such was the weekend past.
And, like my last trip, bugs were a non issue.  Two mosquitos lit on the back of my hand. That's right, two, the entire weekend.  They took too long working up the nerve to bite and consequently were cheerfully squashed.  Like the saying goes, snooze you lose.  Being able to sit outside and in the tent with the screen door unzipped, sans bugs, was ok by me.
A few clouds and showers rolled through during the afternoon and evening.  Barely enough to wet things down.  The peaceful patter of raindrops on the tent fly made for a relaxing night.
And of course, a few nice fish iced the proverbial weekend cake.


























Into the Burn

Way back in 1910 a series of forest fires torched the Northern Rockies.  Depending on the quoted source, the fires may have numbered in the thousands.  Catastrophic winds at the most inopportune time coalesced many of the fires into a few huge ones.  There was a great loss of life, property and timber.  No doubt a lot of elk got barbecued too.

Well, one of the burned areas straddles the Montana and Idaho border.  Appropriately known as the Great Burn, it's been considered as a candidate for wilderness designation.  I hope that it receives some protection.  It's a neat area.

Here are a few images from a overnight trip to the Montana side of the burn.  The lead photo doesn't do justice to the overwhelming serenity of the morning.




























Although I hiked alone, I had plenty of company.  A pair of inquisitive hummingbirds hovered outside my open tent door while I sipped coffee at daybreak.  Soon after, a moose announced its arrival by belly-flopping into the lake.  Meanwhile, a grea…

Table...

A few images from a short day hike to the north flank of Table Mountain in the Spanish Peaks.  Beautiful blue sky day.  Lush greenery.  Flowers galore.  Most hikers call it quits at Lava lake.












Oh yeah, parmesan crusted fish for lunch.

All Together Now....

Mid-October on the prairie. Clouds and sky make a perfect backdrop.
This year, the birds, like steelhead, were scarce, but not nonexistent.
Here, the girls take a break.  Note the attentiveness (of the dogs). 
No food bribery involved.


MO

There's no shortage of folks on the Missouri now.  It's clear but still a little high for wading.  Just a tad over 8000 c.f.s yesterday.  I had to go and take a look just to see for myself what those water levels meant. Well, what it means is that it's fishable for a wading angler, although one needs to pick their spots.  Boaters on the other hand have lots of spots to choose from.



The biggest issue is not in finding fish, but rather in what happens after hooking one. They're just harder if not impossible to chase with the deeper water and flooded banks.  So one hopes, as I did, often, that there's enough backing.  One fish took me down to the last few turns of the spool before the knot gave out at the fly.  I was relieved to see the fly line after having recovered my backing.  That fish might be to Great Falls by now. 



So, it's PMD time.  Finally.  A sparse hatch yesterday, but there were plenty of spinners. They kept the fish interested and eating on top for…