Saturday, July 13, 2013

Worlds Greatest Fishing Buddy

Since this is a place I can share my thoughts and love of the outdoors and I have a grundle of pictures,  it's time to brag about my absolute favorite fishing partner.

Not really Coltin, but he is the man that made all of this possible. It's also his 70th birthday on July 16th. I love you Dad!

Even brutal cold and frozen water won't keep him from chasing fish with me!

Look at that expression! "Are you seriously taking a picture of this?!?"

This is my absolute favorite picture of Coltin, This is his first fish on a fly rod that he cast, hooked, and landed himself. I was a proud papa!

I have hundreds more these are just the ones on my photobucket account. There will be more coming!


     After our Kings peak trip we were done for the year, I was a little disappointed that I didn't go in as far as I had originally planned. I was just beginning to hone my backcountry skills. I had many hunting trips trough out the area and even tried chasing those rotten Ptarmigan in another place that didn't work out. It was still quite enjoyable to see different parts of the Uintas, but just not a fulfilling as going with Coltin. Winter dragged by and summer seemed to take its time, while waiting for the snow to thaw I continued reading and scouring over maps looking for possible fishing opportunities. I did manage to locate a few possible locations for some larger Grayling. You'll have to bear with me if I have dragged you to the lake I am about to describe simply because I have visited it several times; with few different people. If that is the case, I didn't ask your permission so I will just refer to you as my buddy. Anyway, I believe I did check it out the first time by myself and I caught a 12" Graying. For the Uintas that is pretty good and as crazy as the weather gets up there I didn't stay long as I wanted and didn't need to because when ever you catch a nice fish, the euphoria can last for days and I had plenty.

     I even talked Heater into going to this lake and being that it is only three and a half miles in I knew she could handle it. When We reached the trailhead the clouds were rolling and Heather didn't seem to thrilled about the prospect of getting wet so we just fished at another lake near the trailhead. We fished for a little while and caught a few fish, she sure is fun to be around and she likes to fish with me.

One of the fish caught was a small tiger trout and we decided that we would refer to them hence as "tigger" trout because they liked to bounce in and out of the water once hooked. Below is a picture of said "tigger" trout, it was her very first tiger trout and up to that point the one I had seen caught. A tiger trout for those that don't know is a cross between a Brown and a Brook trout.

I had a blast hanging out with her that day and now that I am writing this, I have the desire to drag her fishing again. I just have to wait for her summer job to conclude and then it's fish on!

      I dragged Coltin to my favorite Grayling lake and we managed to hook a few and I was finally able to take some pictures of the Grayling caught. Here is some of the shots taken on the trip Coltin and I took it to the lake.

This shot is actually of my fish but since Coltin was freaking out after catching his we didn't have it on shore long enough to get a picture. As you can see they are not quite as pretty as a Brook, Cutthroat, or Rainbow. They have their own unique beauty though, its hard to see but their large dorsal fins have purple and almost a florescent blue hue to them. They are quite pretty on a bright sunny day, not to mention incredibly fast. One of my favorite things to do when the waters are calm is watch the lines that appear out of nowhere and shoot across the lake. It is caused by their fin as it breaks the surface while they are zooming around the lake. If any of my readers would like to take up fishing and aren't afraid to strap on some boots I extend an offer to take you to some of the lakes mentioned here.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Kings Peak/Henrys fork basin

King's Peak Attempt

As the title suggests, this was just an attempt and boy was it fun. Coltin on the other hand laments the trail to Elkhorn crossing, not due to how steep it was but rather how long it was. When I say long, I really mean LOOOONG! Using my GPS I recorded seven miles to Elk horn Crossing not the five miles listed in my Uintas hiking guide. We left the house with the intent to try and locate the elusive Ptarmigan, a small white bird that likes to live at the highest and most remote of places. It was a Thursday and I had four days planned, I had just picked up a Kelty external frame back pack I found on KSL. At home it felt great even with the forty pounds I had in it, I was convinced it would be more comfortable than my Divide pack. Boy, was I wrong, but I digress, we jumped into my truck and started our long journey through Mountain view Wyoming to the Henry's fork trailhead.

Coltin had just gotten new glasses and he looked very handsome in them, even while tired and yawning. We made it to the trailhead around five pm and slung our packs and hit it. We hiked in looking for Alligator lake and ended up passing it right by. We ended up hiking up away from the trail and camping near a small stream on the edge of a meadow.

There was a Moose on the opposite side of the meadow bedded down and didn't seem to mind us sharing the area. It was a little cold overnight and I slept pretty good as I recall. We were up early and back on the trail soon after the sun came up. We made it to Elk horn and started looking for the crossing that according to everything I have read about this trail says the bridge gets wiped out nearly every year.

We did have one other member of our family with us, my stubborn German Short haired pointer, Padmay. She even had her own pack and was quite the spectacle on the trail, we received many comments about her energy and pack.

I needed to see if she could handle the miles needed to hunt Ptarmigan; my worries were unfounded!

Along the trail we ran into several scout troops and quite a few solo hikers. Everyone was friendly and willing to offer advice on the best route to avoid the mud that was covering some parts of the trail. My favorite part of this trip had to be the views.


We made it to Dollar lake and it had been hit hard, there was no activity at all. I was sure all of the fish were hiding in the deepest part of the lake and didn't want a thing I threw at them. We didn't stay long and started heading to Gunsight pass.

The above picture is one of my favorites and this view was the reason I decided to check out Henry's fork lake and let the approaching storm blow by. We diverted and started toward the lake. Shortly before the lake we ran into this old cabin.

There is a sheep herder that uses it to store fuel and other items, it was neat to see it on the way. We had a small reprieve from the storm and we went to check out Henry's.

Once we arrived at the lake we started to fish and then the storm came back with a vengeance. I only got a few casts in when we had a lightening strike about a 100 yards from us. Man was I freaked out, my hair was standing on end and you could smell ozone in the air. Everything had a static charge to it and at that instant we headed back to the truck. This was only my second trip and my biggest fear was having something happen to me and Coltin would have to make it out on his own! It still makes my heart sink to think about him at 10 years old trying to find help if something happened to me. We hiked no stop for thirteen miles and to this day I still feel it was the toughest hike I have been on. This is also when I discovered that external frame packs SUCK! The entire trail I seriously contemplated just burying everything I had just to stop the pain! We made it back to the truck in about five hours and drove straight home. I didn't see one bird on this trip and I haven't been back, I do regret not going over Gunsight pass to get a better look at Kings peak, I hope to redo this trip soon.

Dry Fork Trail, Weber River Drainage.

This my outdoor adventure blog, a place I can share my thoughts and adventures. My story starts late; as a child I went fishing a few times with my father. It was simply due to the fact he was not that into the outdoors. At least, that was the case after my parents divorce. I have always loved the outdoors and enjoyed camping and hiking. I didn't do as much hiking since I was a smoker and the two repel each other. I mostly camped and fished through out my twenties and into my mid thirties. It wasn't until my son Coltin came to me one day and asked to go onto an adventure that I really began seriously to contemplate hiking again and finally ridding myself of the poisons I was self-administering. On March 24th, 2009 I finally abandoned cigarettes and began my adventures with my son.

Our first adventure was to fish lake (the little one in the Weber drainage) and being a KSL classifieds junky I picked up a Alps Mountaineering Mystique 2 for $60, a Cabela's Divide backpack for around $80, a Coleman backpacking stove for $20, and a High Peak extreme pak 0 degree sleeping bag. This was my starting gear and I still have all of it. The Mystique 2 is still my primary tent simply because I have not upgraded it and it is the tent Coltin and I used on our first trip.

I had heard about this lake on a fishing forum (Utah Wildlife Network) I have been a member of when I began bird hunting back in 2007. I may go into this at a later time but right now I want to stick with backpacking. I did a little research and I began walking the Ogden river parkway to get into shape. After around two months of weekly five mile hikes Coltin and I hopped in my work truck and set out on our first adventure. We reached the trail head near Smith Moorehouse reservoir, we parked the truck, slung our packs and hit the trail. Within less than a mile we ran in to our first stream crossing and I for the life of me could not find away across. I searched for maybe 20 minutes and decided to head back to the first intersection and ran into a couple that planned on day hiking the same trail. They lead us to the crossing and we struggled to keep up with them. Man, was I out of shape and 20 years of smoking wasn't helping either. At that point I had only been smoke free for three months. After struggling for three hours we covered 3.5 miles and made it to Round lake. I can honestly say at that point in my life and after that brutal hike I was ready to quit backpacking and Hiking at that moment. I was done and decided Round was going to be our destination for the evening and set camp. We made a small fire and ate our Mountain house spaghetti dinner. Both of us got our feet wet and I managed to melt my sons boots trying to dry them out. For those of you that are not familiar with the area it is not too far as the crow flies ( I love that expression) from Chalk Creek near Echo reservoir. This is also an area that has had several Wolf sightings. I am very sure that I heard a wolf that night next to Round lake and I do not believe I slept very much at all. This was the farthest I had ever been with my boy in the back county and being 3.5 miles from help was a little unnerving. Coltin still remembers the frank conversation we had about what he should do if I was hurt or we encountered a large predator. In hind sight he was a little too young to be worrying about our safety being only nine years old, however he has become quite the outdoors man so I didn't harm him too much. The next morning took it's sweet time coming and the skies were overcast, it was drizzling rain and it was cold. I was able to fish a little at Round and caught a small cutthroat and my first Graying.
At the moment I hooked that Grayling I was again excited about backpacking; Coltin on the other hand was not. He did have fun, but wasn't a fan of the carrying a pack and hiking up wet river beds. Having achieved my Grayling goal and nursing my sore feet, I decided to forgo our trip to Fish Lake and head back home. Coltin was all for it! I honestly can say I am not sure which was worse the hike up to Round or the hike back down Dry fork (which is not an accurate description, by the way)! We made it safely to the truck and headed home. I was fulfilled and full of bravado for our next trip! The funny thing is Coltin has been on numerous and seriously challenging trips; none of which draw the same reaction as our Fish lake trip does!
I hope you enjoyed this first post as there will be more coming, I just have to drag them out of the cluttered and dusty, mind of mine.