Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A New Season and a New Home

Last Tuesday marked my last day of work for, hopefully, the year. My last week was an awesome way to end the summer by leading a five day backpacking trip with almost a dozen Colorado Mountain College students through the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness.

The new and improved book shelf/dresser/ski storage/shoe shelf

Crossing that finish line was a perfect mile marker to move into the Dolphin and begin the Fall of climbing. While it's still lacking a few finishing touches like new cushion covers and a few new curtains it is 95% done and 100% moved into. Bedding, food and cooking stuff has all been installed and used! And man does it feel good to be able to lounge around with friends in the evening and to be able to hop out of bed and walk to the kitchen (even if it is three steps) and stretch while putting the coffee on or wash dishes in a real sink of my own. I'm hoping that with the help of one of my little sisters I'll have the Dolphin 100% complete by the end of the month and will have sold the Previa and ready to climb and adventure away the Fall. Stay tuned for final pictures with a little more tidiness on the bench seats. 

The kitchen/dining room/living room
So far this remodeling has absorbed ~$600, 65 hours of labor and countless opinions and ideas sought from friends and family alike. So far I have replaced the shag carpet with a ginger oak laminate, one ceiling panel that was water damaged and rotting 5 ceiling supports, the Bathroom has been fully removed and replaced with shelving and ski storage, 4 1/2 hours have been spent cleaning, 7-8 hours have been used sealing the leaking roof and windows. While there is still more to be done it's now liveable and functional to work with until I get another dose of motivation to replace more of the ceiling and interior paneling. 

The bed that will see a new mattress in the near future.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Greatest Day of Fishing

Colorado's state flower and many of them!
As I wandered through another meadow created by avalanches from years past I chuckled to myself thinking 'I definitely am coming down with a case of A.M.S...Alpine Meadow Sickness', as I pulled out my camera yet again to photograph hundreds more wildflowers, peaks, streams and pine forests that made up my surroundings.

I was scouting out a trail that I will be leading 10 or so students on next week and I wanted to check out a few out the mountain passes that we would be crossing that had no established trails and harbored large talus and snow fields even late in the summer. The first four miles of my trip were punctuated by these meadows, separated by dense pine stands along the valley sides. With each meadow that I crossed into I would pause, inhale deeply, snap a few shots and wonder if it was worth the bush whacking to get down to the river to fish for a little. Each time I continued on, promising just a little farther. As I passed into a meadow a couple miles long, where the trail came down to meet the river, which was punctuated but a dozen mini-bus size boulders within a few hundred yards I knew this was the first spot I got to bust out my fly rod. I'd just purchased my rod a month before and had only caught a few fish on it while, ironically on a week long fishing trip, and I was itching to try it out on new streams and lakes.

The first fish of the trip!
I immediately noticed a large cutthroat swimming lazily in shallow pool, snapping at anything resting on the surface. I quickly tied on a fly and snapped it out into the eddy of one of the boulders. Immediately the fish's course changed, homing in on my fly and with a "Gulp" it was on the line. I was shocked, fishing wasn't supposed to be that easy! I quickly realized that the water had distorted its size and it was in danger of snapping my line. After playing it a few minutes longer it was in my hands and much to my chagrin it was close to 16-17 inches, a quick picture and it was back it the water and on it's shocked but presumably happy way.

A few more casts up river saw a few bites and no more fish on the line. As I moved on I realized I'd just gotten supremely lucky and my reality had resumed it's normal equilibrium. A half mile or so up stream, just below a beaver dam I landed another, a brook trout this time of comparable size to the cutthroat. Just as before I caught it on my first cast and a dozen subsequent casts in the same pool produced no results. Still I was having great day I realized with two fish on the line in a twenty minute time frame and only a few dozen casts. With a little adrenaline and a lot of enthusiasm I continued up the trail to a small stream connecting two lakes. I'd been watching dozens of trout in the lakes, rising consistently but darting away as soon as I approached the shore. At this new location I immediately began landing fish, nearly every other cast there was a new fish on the line. My jaw was continually switching between a shit eating grin and almost resting on my feet it had dropped so low.

After three hours and 24 fish it was time to find a camp and put some miles under the soles of my boots. With a bit more bush whacking, route finding and patience I found a sweet spot tucked in to a few pines right at treeline on a small knoll within the upper reaches of the Fryingpan River valley. After re-hydrating dinner, reading and absorbing my surroundings I was lulled to sleep by a down valley breeze and a spectacular star show.

Whoops, rod snapped after the second fish
 but that didn't slow me down!

Making a morning cup o' Joe!

Looking back down the valley and last nights camp.