Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The new extreme sport: Roadtripping with infant twins

Having just returned from a 2000 mile roundtrip roadtrip to California with the twins, I think I might have found a new extreme sport: Roadtripping with infant twins. We survived, it wasn't pretty but we made it work. All told, we spent roughly 36 hours in the car with our two 14 month old twin girls.

We had many people question our sanity prior to our departure. And as our launch neared, I won't lie I too was having second thoughts. Should we have bought those plane tickets? Too late buddy you are locked in. So we prepared and then we prepared. The packing process alone was a major logistical production. You would have thought we were driving to Tierra del Fuego or some shit. No conveniences were spared and the list was checked twice. You can never have too many snacks or distractions for 14 month old kids. A dvd was plugged in center stage in the back seat. Bags of toys overflowed on the floorboards. Sunshades dressed the windows. And we even had a emergency bottle of Benedryl if the shit really got out of hand.

We shot out of Missoula like a rocket across Western Montana. The roads proved to be in good condition once we got to Butte. Hitting the gas heavy, we entered Idaho over Monida pass and decended on upon the wastelands of southern Idaho. Runs of 2 to 3 hours were common before having to pull over to fuel up and change diapers. This is where extreme baby roadtripping really hit home. Not wanting to risk a run in with a grizzly trucker mama at the Truck stops we opted to do our dirty work in the Highlander. Diapers were changed in the vehicle. It went something like this: Pull in to the gas pump, I get out and drop the fossil fuel in the tank. Meanwhile T tries to pacify the babies as they freak out. Once fueled, we park and began the process. She removes one infant from the carseat and changes her in the front seat. I go inside and replentish the hotwater in the thermos for the bottles and grab a few RedBulls. As I get back into the car T passes one of the babies to me. The baby then gets some mock driving lessons at the wheel. T grabs the second twin and changes her diaper. After completed, twin #2 gets some drive time at the wheel. Followed by some general tomfoolery in the front seats as they turn on every light and switch in the car. Hasty bottles of whole milk are made up and the babies are strapped back in.

As we rolled down the highway, T was often required to perform extreme acrobatic manuevers to quiet the babies. Frequent reaches to the backseat to shove snacks into their face, pick up dropped/huck toys, change the DVD from Care Bears to Baby Einstein and delivering more Cheerios (which usually ended up in a pile near the carseat). As T did this I often practiced my Zen-blockouteverything attitude. Screams of terror rolled off my back like water off a duck. Okay, maybe I had to turn up the XM a few times to drown out the magnified shrills of delight.

Once we landed in California things settled down and we had a great time with the family. We chilled by the fire and watched our 4 kids (all under the age of 3) run amuck. We had a great day at Sugar Bowl, enjoying 14" of some cold Cali blower snow.

On the return trip, things didn't go as smoothly road condition wise. Halfway across Nevada we ran into snow and continued to drive in blizzard like conditions for the next 5 hours. The forementioned "screams of delight" did not help matters as I tried to navigate the skating rink of a road. Upon reaching Elko, NV at 10 pm, snow was coming down heavy. Little P had been crying off and on for the last hour. A debate ensued between the driver and navigator about stopping there. The driver argued that he felt fresh and if we could just quiet the wee one in the back we could push on for a few more hour and get in front of the storm, eliminating a few more hours from tomorrow's drive. A steamy bottle was delivered and all was quiet.

It was gambling time, I checked road conditions and hotel vacancies in Jackpot, NV, it was a go. I had a 50/50 chance of winning this hand. If I lost it meant listening to a screaming baby or possibly 2 for the next 2 hours as we delicately drove at 50 in a snowstorm. We gingerly pulled out of Elko and headed out on Hwy. 93. At the end of the night I won this major hand and cashed out with a good nights rest at Cacus Petes casino in Jackpot.

The final day: We awoke to huge flakes falling and 4 new inches out on the road. Like roadie veterans we loaded and went. A few gas station lattes and we were off toward Idaho. Snow quickly turned to sleet as we pulled into Twin Falls. A greasy breakfast at Perkins meant some break time for the twins. Food was thrown about and we hit the interstate. This is when things got interesting. Soon we were entering a full on ground blizzard. Drifting snow encroached on the highway like an advancing desert. Sustained winds of 40-50 mph pushed snow across the road and slowed our travel to 10 mph and visiblity to 50 feet. Luckily that only lasted for about an hour. But during that time we saw at least 30 cars and trucks off the road. Many of them had rolled and gone into the median. All the while, the Highlander with its new beefy snowtires did not slip once.

The last leg of the journey went well and we were relieved as we pulled into Missoula. We even busted out the emergency lollipops that we had forgot about.

***DISCLAIMER: Some of this is embelished and exagerated, but not all of it. It was a great trip but I might wait a few months before I'd do it again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hunting season 2008

Freezer's are full with lots of good meat. Here are a few pics from some of the animals that buddies scored this year. If you want to the whole album, click here for the Gallery. Until next year, now we can focus on the white stuff.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Well BELOW ZERO in Missoula

Just as forecasted, the Arctic beast rolled into western Montana Friday night. Saturday morning I peeked out the window to find white stuff in the front yard and its about time. It came in quick & dumped most of the snow (in the valley anyway) in the wee hours of the night. I think we probably got 3-4 inches here at the house, but with a ton of wind.

Snowbowl announced on Saturday that they were shooting for a nooner opening with 10 new inches up top. Reports varied from good to too damn cold. At any rate the base sounds like its building up top, with only Lavelle running. But the good news is apparently Paradise is passable. No skiing for me yesterday, I was stuck at work.

The top of Point Six is posting up some brutally cold numbers and when I say brutal I mean it. This stuff makes me shiver. From the Point Six weather station it shows that it has got down to 28 BELOW Zero sometime last night around 1030pm.

Currently its sitting at -25F with an average of 35 mph. If you are wondering just how cold that might feel to your precious little skin take a look at this Wind Chill chart. With that current wind and temp you would feeling like it was MINUS 65F. That means bare skin would have frostbite 5 minutes.

The snow should be sticking around for awhile. Temps are looking at -12 tonight, 0F on Monday, 8F on Tuesday and 10F on Wednesday. Wooot. Woot. We'll definitely have to remember this storm in the backcountry for a while as I'm sure the slabs and loading are setting up something fierce.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ladys and gentlemen, I bring you the 9 month update

I know you all have been holding your breath for this moment, hmmm yeah. Rest assured your ACL recovery update has come. Rehab is coming along about as good I as I could expect. Would I like it to be better? Yes. But realistically I am doing well. Here’s the basics of where I’m at:

- Range of motion = full
- No pain or swelling since probably month 4
- Hitting the weights at the gym regularly 3 times a week
- MTB’d a bunch late summer, felt great
- Have not been doing any jump type exercises for a few months now, probably should be
- Can run with no pain, 4 miles is about as far as I’ve gone
- Packed part of my elk out at ~70lb down a steep and slippery slope = solid
- Fell down many times in many contorted ways this hunting season = solid
- Leg workout, some numbers for comparison sake: Smith Machine squats 3 sets of 16 (185, 225 and 255lbs), 60 lunges with 30lb dumbbells, Seated leg press 270 3 sets of 18, Single leg press 140….lots of other stuff, but this is stuff I want to track.

All in all the biggest thing that I feel that I have improved is my confidence. Although I still have a ways to go before I’ll feel bomber on the skis, it’s a good start. I know that I can fall and its not going to blow out on me. I still have a noticeable muscle deficit in the leg that was operated on. I would guess that % wise its maybe 90% of the size of the normal leg. Thanks again to everyone that had encouraging words.

Today was the last day of deer and elk season (at least for the areas that didn't get the 3 week extension). My lazy ass couldn't muster the motivation to get out of bed this morning. However, in my dreams this is how it could have gone down. Maybe next year?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Eric Pollard

LINE Eric Pollard 08 Self Edit from Line Skis on Vimeo.

Some great shots and edits from Eric Pollard that turned out to be well worth watching. From my armchair view I never had taken EP that seriously. Always seeming too new school for a semi-old schooler like myself. However the stuff in this is super smooth and not too jerky on the ole' eyes. If you don't have patience, at least check out :40, :50, 1:50, 3:00 and 5:08

* self edit of his 07-08 season with his Nimbus Independent crew.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snowbowl pass pick up

Lack of snow continues to be the general weather theme lately. We seemed to have a few shots that got everyone thinking the beginning of the white was near, but alas it has waned. The ebb and flow on the snowline has been painful. I'm ready for it to drop to the valley floor and settle in for the winter. Looks like we might be waiting a bit according to NWS:


On the other hand good news for pass holders. Here's the message from the Snowbowl website: IF WE DO NOT OPEN ON THE WEEKEND AFTER THANKSGIVING (NOV 28-30) we will be at these shops to distribute passes and take photos.

November 28 , 2008 Friday Gull Ski 1pm-6pm
November 29, 2008, Saturday Bob Wards 1pm-6pm
November 30, 2008, Sunday The Trail Head 1pm-6pm

A few shots from years past just to remember that it will come

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BASE Jumping into a cave in China

Shane McConkey, Miles Daisher and Chuck Berry of the Red Bull Air Force recently pioneered their way into the heart of China. Here it is, BASE jumping session at one of China's natural wonders, a giant cave depression. These guys crack me up, everything they do is a joke. Living the dream, but a dangerous dream eh? This puppy runs ~ 9 minutes, so grab a beer.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Whistler Pillow lines

This is some quality pillow action. A few unbelievable lines being absolutely worked over in Whistler. You can find more over at Salomon Freeski. Mark Abma and Mike Douglas ripping it up..............be patient it takes a while to load.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Elk and Antelope hunts 2008

One of my favorite, if not my favorite hunts of the year.....antelope. This year I was able to go, last year I had the ultimate blessing, twins. Our group of five had planned since last October and it showed by the way my truck was absolutely packed to the gills. We weren't able to get on the ranch opening day (1 week prior) as the phone reservation system had proved bullshit. However, it appeared it was blessing in disguise as a foot of snow and muck turned hunting into an impossible affair. Many hunters never got out of their truck opening weekend. Rolling down Hwy 200, we were now looking forward to 55 degrees and sun.

Pulling into our annual camp spot, things looked the same. Same sage and knapweed blowing in the wind, same nothingness. Two wall tents were errected, one large tent to house the 5 cots that we would snore on for the next 4 days. The other tent would be the cook shack and more importantly the debriefing/story/fart/kitchen/beer/lying-tent.

Day 1 - The south end of the 15,000 acre pasture we were hunting only showed 11 animals, none of which we could get close enough to. We all put on about 7 miles that morning and then headed back to the truck. Even though the roads still had some gumbo to them (from the days previous rain) we decided to try one of the ranch roads on the north end.

We were in for a surprise. Just off the highway we ran into straight up grease and gumbo. I put the Tundra into 4Wheel Low and had it revved to get even 5 mph out of it. The steering wheel went from one side all they way to the next to keep it straight. After all was said and done, we had one truck off the road. We only hunted for a half of hour, then black clouds loomed in the distance. We needed to get out of there fast or we might be spending the night out there. Luckily we got out without much issue. But in the mean time I watched the most impressive piece of driving EVER. We had two trucks on the road on a tilted corner. This guy didn't even let off the gas and pitched it sideways, threading the needle, dang. With a busted day we headed into Jordan for some fried chicken at the Hells Creek Bar.

Day 2 - More rain and serious wind came that night, but day 2 morning brought 20 degree temps and frozen ground. We could now get into our area. I hunt to the West, run into them right away but are just on the other side of the fence. This keeps happening all day long, wrong side of the fence. I shoot and miss on a 250 yard doe waiting to cross the fence. I meet up with big Red and check out his doe. Everyone goes back to the trucks for lunch, Wisco Kid gets a nice buck before lunch. I sit on some muddy buttes for 2 hours surveying 5 square miles, only see 3 antelope. On a last hope I walk into the farthest west corner in hopes of something holed up. I see 4 from 1 mile away, sneak across the couleee and drop my pack. Sneak to rock knob, 40 antelope bedded and feeding. Pick the biggest closest buck, guess 250 yds. The first shot is a gut shot, next 3 shots miss, now out of ammo. Run 300 yds back to my pack and grab more bullets. Run back and take the final shot. Dress him out and pack 2 miles back to the truck at the west parking area. Beers.

Day 3 – Three in the party hunt north off the highway. Wisco and I park on a big ridge that has great views. I watch one of our guys pass by some antelope that he can’t see. I walk for 1/3 mile and sneak around a knob, 2 does peak over the rise, one of them falls to the 30-06 - 75 yd clean shot. I check her and continue on to the herd. Now Wisco is in hot pursuit, we plan our sneak over a little knoll. Wisco flanks and comes over the knoll. The herd of 15 now charges the fence and starts to hop it, antelope run in between us. Joel clears me and misses one at 75 feet. I struggle to track the now split herd. One herd that didn’t jump the fence now stops. Clean 225 yard shot that drops a small buck that counts for a doe. Now to quarter up the animals. One more doe antelope falls that day to another hunter in our party.

October 26 2008 Opening day of Elk season

Pulling out the drive at 615 we headed out. After parking we made slow and steady time up the drainage. Forty five minutes later we split up and peeled the eyeballs for day break. Posted up on a saddle we waited and watched. Eventually we wandered about checking the nearby slopes.

I walk the ridge up to the peak and look into another drainage for a while, nothing. Changing my mind for some reason, I break off to the east and down to the road. As I come around the knob I see 10 elk contouring on a hillside across the drainage. They are coming out of a clearing just below the slash pile.

I jump down off the road behind a tree, one or two seems to have seen me. The elk eventually bed down and I link up with Wisco to range find them. We are at 420 yds from an open cross canyon shot. We sneak around for 1.5 hours getting to about 250 yards. The shot is into the sun, I can't overcome the sun. Plus, it's the first day. I was ready for weeks of nothing. I decided I was going to get closer.

I sneak back to the saddle and find a game trail, the wind is perfectly in my face. The game trail is quiet and I can't believe how close I'm getting. I can see one of the cows, now standing up at 60 yards, so I duck down and crawl closer. I stand and take a offhand shot at 40 yards, broadside. The herd erupts, there were 10 in there, we could only see 3. I watch as some go across, some go down. I find her laying on a stump, perfectly huge. A lung shot, didn’t go more than 50 yards. Two days hanging to cool and age and its butcher time. Yum, the freezer is full.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oil and Water Project

While this isn't new news....Some Missoula boys showing how you can do it right, on many levels. What a great project. Not only did they do something great for science and the earth. They also managed to write their own ticket to one badass roadtrip. Nice work!

Oil & Water Project
: Two kayakers embark on an Endless Summer-style, 35,000 km road trip from Alaska to Argentina in a retro-outfitted Japanese fire truck without a single drop of petroleum. They converted their regular diesel engine to run on everything from pig lard to palm pulp and they traveled for nine months in pursuit of the best whitewater in the Americas. The pair coordinated with schools, local governments, farmers, agricultural research centers and media to conduct demonstrations advocating for the use of alternative energy all along the way. Winner of the People’s Choice Award at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Batten down the hatches, here comes winter

The season has quickly changed from a nice Indian summer to fall that feels like winter. Two days ago I awoke to sub freezing temps, the first of the season. A hard frost hit the valley, signalling the official end to garden season. I had picked the remainder of our vegatables from the garden (cucumbers, tomatoes and green peppers) the night before in anticipation of the cold front.

Its great when change of season comes on strong. The leaves color change seemed to change a lot faster than last years. Leaves literally changed colors overnight a week or so ago, then dropped rapidly in the cold stiff winds. The tree in the backyard lost all its leaves in one windy day.

In the yearly ritual, I removed the screens and put on the storm windows. The plants in the garden were pulled up and taken to the curb. Leaves raked into a pile and bagged.

Snow is falling today in Missoula. No accumlation here yet, but in the mountains there definitetly is. And just a little further to the east the mountain locations got hammered yesterday. The Tobacco Roots have recieved 60" out of this storm, check out the Albro Lake Snotel. Maybe this is a sign for a good winter, who knows but I like what the Farmers Almanac has to say:

Winter will be much colder and drier than normal, on average, with snowfall above normal in the north and below normal in the south. The coldest temperatures will occur in late December; early, mid-, and late January; and early February. The snowiest periods will be in mid-November, early and mid-December, mid- and late January, and late February.

And lastly, just a screen shot of the Montana Highway cameras. Check out all the snow, huzzah.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Redneck weekend

Last weekend we had to take a step back and have a big laugh at ourselves. We joked that wow, that was a redneck weekend. Aw shucks, we sure had a swell time. I think sooner or later I may have to accept the fact that I am on the road to domestication. Here's a breakdown of the fun:

- T picks some green peppers and cucumbers from our garden. Canning them, she makes some very tasty relish.
- Not to be outdone, I bust out the ground mule deer meet from last year and make some tasty deer jerky. We managed to eat up 2 pounds of the last batch in 2 weeks, NEED MORE MEAT!
- I headed out to the Deep Creek Shooting Range to sight in my rifle for the season. She's dead on boys, look out.
- The icing on the cake?: A friend suggests we have a fire down by the river. We met another couple and their 2 kids at the trailhead and mounted up. Pushing a Chariot full of gear (including an ax, saw, hot water for hot chocolate, pack & play, chairs, fire starter, beer, S'mores makings) we wound through the rustling leaves for 1/2 mile and found a white sandy beach on the Clark Fork. We had a perfect night laughing and enjoying the fire with all the kids.

Enjoy the photos and one little stupid clip of me with the trusty rifle.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Who killed the Electric Car

I recently watched this documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car and would highly recommend it if you are at all interested in alternative energy. This film is an eye opener to the things that go on behind the scenes. It shows that public knowledge is key and that large conglomerates, whether government or corporate are capable to squashing new technology. I don't even think you could call it a conspiracy theory, this is the real deal.

If you like high gas prices and foreign oil dependancy, don't bother renting this one.

Here's a preview

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

27 miles of pure fun

Well, okay it wasn't necessarily all fun but most of it was. Two buddies and I left the Rattlesnake trailhead at 10am on Saturday morning. Oh yeah, this was after I got a flat without even leaving the parking lot. How you might wonder? I'm not really sure but I think I might have reefed on the valve stem too hard while trying to pump up my rear tire.

The first section of this trail can be an ass kicker (for my candyass legs anyway). There are a feww really steep sections that just don't agree with my legs yet, so I ended up walking a bit. Finally, we gained the ridge and I caught up with K and J. The trail follows the ridge all the way up towards our destination. With many steep and rough sections, only a true animal could ride. We defintely had to push quite a few sections, but that was okay because it gave us time to stop and browse on the huckleberries.

Once you get to this point (at about 7 miles) you've gained about 3500 vertical feet. We took a long lunch, lounging in the bear grass and soaking up the rays. From there on, the grunt is lessened a bit and you have about 4 miles left to the top.

The views up top were unbelievable. We could see the Missions, the Bob, the Bitterroots and a lot in between. I would say you could easily see could easily see 50 miles in any direction, spectacular. After a few pics we dropped in on what would be a 16 mile downhill or 2.5 hours of fun. The trail off the top is very rough but totally rideable for 2-3 miles. The turn that takes you back down towards the Rattlesnake is one that you'll have to keep your eye out for, there's no sign so bring your map and good map skillz yo. This downhill is great, busting down though a jungle like rain forest (for Montana anyway), some buffed out section and some very rooty/rocky sections. And finally getting to the Rattlesnake dirt road, you have 8 miles of fast-get-back-to-the-car-to-have-a-beer-riding. Man that beer never tasted so good. A total of 8.5 hours and 27 miles later we kicked off our shoes and called it fun.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just because your bros ripped it, doesn't mean it won't rip you

Just a little reminder that you always have to be ready. I found this over on Teton AT and thought it was pretty interesting as well as scary. How many times have you stood ontop a line, given up 1st tracks to your buddy just because you might have felt a little nervous about the slope. You watch him and start to fell a rise of confidence. Its happened to me many a time. Well, this video just serves as a reminder thats not always the case.

This guy got real lucky! It definitely is going to make me think twice about hucking in the backcountry.

Monday, September 1, 2008

September snow!

The last week has brought a bit of winter into the surrounding hills of Missoula. There haven't been any signs of flakes in the valley but its exciting none the less. We've had 2 seperate occasions where its rained or at least sprinkled for 1-2 days. That feels great compared to the scorcher of a summer that we had last year. Last year brought record temps in July (11 days of triple digit temperatures), while this summer I'm not sure we had any triple digits?

Today the clouds finally broke enough to see up towards Snowbowl, what did I see? Snow, thats right. Not a bad way to start off Septemeber. The Stuart Peak Snotel site said it was 36 degrees at 3pm and dropping. We actually had to turn on the heat in the house for the first time since June. Time to get serious about the knee......winter is around the corner :-).

Here's a picture from this morning, Sept. 2nd. Lolo Peak looking good

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hunting on the brain already??

In the past couple of weeks we have a had few days that definitely felt "fallish". Last week it rained for a day and half, something you don't see very often in August. There were even reports of snow falling in the higher elevations. The clouds were heavy and clung to the mountains surrounding the valleys. I got out for a bike ride up to the Snowbowl Overlook and even had to put on a long sleeve shirt. The shrubs on the way up were definitely starting to show signs of changing colors.

Today is much of the same, 50 degrees with a light rain. The weather shift has forced me into another mode. I dug out all my hunting gear from the garage yesterday and started to get things ready. All the camo is in a pile, ready to be washed in the no-scent. The backpack has been emptied and inventoried. Stopped by Sportsmans Warehouse today and checked out some new binoculars.

It really is too early to be getting worked up about hunting, as there is still 6 weeks until Antelope season opener Oct 12th and Deer/Elk 8 weeks away. But hey it doesn't hurt to start getting ready. I'll be on Google Earth doing some scouting if you need me........

Deep Draw fire

I was up on the Deep Draw fire driving a water tender for 8 days. Turned out to be not a whole lot of fire action, but the scenery was pretty nice. A few pics from the last 2 weeks:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

7x tippet and #22 tricos

A couple people were in the shop, one man sat arms folded waiting on the porch looking as if he had been waiting a while. A lady stood behind the counter looking down at some papers. The proprieter and another man stood outside on the street, studying something in the bed of the truck.

I had talked to Steve earlier in the day and told him I would be stopping by. I milled around the shop casually looking at the antiques that adorned the small room.

Steve came inside from the street and finished his business with the owner of the pickup truck. A bright smile and a handshake greeted me, he introduced me to the woman as his cousin. Not wasting time we got right down to the details of why I had came. He laid out the time I needed to meet him the next morning and asked the lady to write up the directions. Next he shot into the requirements for the rendevous. The fishing mission was to be stealth, nothing but 7x tippet and #22 tricos. He spattered on about the required tackle as the man stepped in from the porch wondering when he would get his turn. Right now fishing was more important to Steve than selling another piece.

The next morning we sped south down the highway. Bursting out of the narrow Big Wood canyon we drained into the open irrigated valley bottom. The golden hillsides sat high above with cured grass and sage. The contrast was stark. Following the neat cursive directions we turned off on a dirt road and crossed a bridge over the meandering creek. A few anglers were next to their trucks pulling on their waders. The road edged along a newly swathed field of alfalfa as we neared the log cabin named on the paper. Above the cabin sat an old farmhouse with a panaramic view fit for a king.

The king sat on the front two steps of the house in fleece pants and a camo shirt. Fly boxes were scattered around with a few fly rods. We geared up and talked about the tactics. The fish would be smart and weary. We were going to have to fish down to them rather than attacking from the downstream side. Your position should be concealed if possible. And the presentation, well it had better be perfect.

We walked down the dirt road that led to the fishing access as we caught up on old times. A cool breeze rustled the willows that lined the sides of the creek. Flowing at the base of the Picabo Hills, this high-desert spring-fed creek attracts an abundance of wildlife. Silver Creek's globally unique aquatic ecosystem features one of the highest densities of stream insects in North America, which supports the world-class fishery.

Down at the creeks edge we sat and talked more
about the intricacies of the water. The fish were very smart as they got plenty of fishing pressure. To top it off the water was absolutely crystal clear. And further complicating things, the bugs the fish gorged on were frickin small. Today we would be fishing the end of the Trico's (mayfly) lifecycle, called the spinner. The trico's have hatched and they fall to the water, drifting and spinning along the water. The fish love the easy takings but are smart enough to pick out your imposter fly.

Steve was methodical in his fishing methods. He took out a notebook as we sat down in the grass. Next came the thermometer to take the temperature of the water. Fifty-five degrees, down ten degrees over the last 3 days. He surmised that the hatch would be starting a little later as a result of the subdued temps. In the meantime we watched and poked at the few fishermen that tried the waters in front of us. Steve explained that he employed more of a hunting technique when fishing. Choosing to fish only when he knew what the fish were doing (i.e. eating). This meant that we would sit for a while longer, awaiting the hatch.

The air slowly filled with small bugs hovering above the water. We screened the top water and picked up a few of the fallen tricos. The fishermen around us weren't having any luck. I watched as the one below us decided to move on, he turned his back and I watched at the fish began to top the water. Without hesitation I struck out for that hole.

The fish were beginning to slurp up tricos with a vengence as I pulled out my line. Casting the sixteen foot leader out across the corner I tired for the perfect drift. Again and again I put my fly out amongst the masses of real bugs that wandered on the water. I thought of it as a game of odds, sooner or later the fish's eyes would slip and they would hit mine. I missed a few strikes here and there. Finally hooking into a nice rainbow, he thrashed out of the water busting up the cloud of bustling bugs above the water. A nice 14" was more than a great reward, I figured that I would be skunked on this river for sure.

Driving back home we talked about the day and the frustrations. It had been a two fish day between the three of us. We did not "slay it" by any means. But with that said, it had also been one of my best days. The scenery and the potential was most impressive. The glassy smooth water and the finicky fish had been a real challenge. And the bottom line was that my cousin being one of the best fishermen I know had only caught one fish. I too had only caught one fish.. Tied up baby, until next time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

If you like beer, drink this, I mean read this

I've always wondered what the deal was with breweries in Montana having to close by 8pm. There is something just not right about that. At eight o'clock you are really just getting started. There is some legislation on the block right now that could affect how you do your drinking down at your local brewstop. In summary MT government is trying to make it that patrons will have to FINISH their beer by 8:00. Currently, the only lame ass law is that is can't be sold after 8:00pm.

So anyway if you want to do your part, read this Newwest article and send comments:

Here’s your chance to support your local brewer. Contact DOR and not only ask the agency to leave the current law as is, but consider supporting legislation to allow taprooms to stay open and sell beer until 10 pm.

To support your local brewer, give your comments to Cleo Anderson, Department of Revenue, P.O. Box 5805, Helena, MT 59604. Email: canderson@mt.gov. Phone. 406-444-5828 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              406-444-5828      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. The hearing record on this rule change stays open until August 15.

Also, feel free to sign an online petition on grizzlygrowler.com, a terrific website put up by Timothy Alex Akimoff. He already has 465 names on his petition, and you can add yours by clicking here.

This one's for you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I didn't even know this guy was following me?

I was just ripping down the trail and when I finally looked back there was a guy following me. Turns out he had a helmet cam and captured all my radness on video. Nah, just kidding. I think this is somewhere over in Europe (judging by the ultimate rudeness of both riders). Impressive none the less.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

From the ocean to the rivers

I've been slacking a little bit on the bloggage lately and I'm sure you all are just chomping at the bit.....yeah right, I don't know if anyone even reads this thing? Hello, is this thing on....echo....echo. Don't be shy.....sign the little chat box thing there on the right eh and let me know what you think?

Anyway, we've been a whirl of activity it seems for the last month. T and I both flew down to Florida at the end of June and I spent a great week down there with her family. We survived the flight down with the wee ones, they were actually pretty darn good on the plane. Only having one freakout a piece, which were both short lived. T stayed another week and half while I held down the Missoula homestead bachelor style.

T's brother was gracious enough to take us deep sea fishing off the Palm Beach coast for 2 great days. The weather was perfect, no thunderboomers or other nastiness. The air was warm but the breeze kept it nice. All in all we brough in a mahi mahi, a couple blue runners, a wahoo and a bonita. We even hooked into a shark on one of the live blue runners we strung up for bait. Man did that shark make a serious run, but in the end it snapped the line. Here's some pics.....

Mahi Mahi

15 lb Bonita

Blue runner

The Doughboy, our boat for the 2 days
Tracy's new car, a Lamborghini

Then just a few days ago we got to get out and do a nice float on the Blackfoot. T's mom was in town so we were taking full advantage of their offer to babysit. The tuber hatch was just starting luckily, so the hippy redneck tubers were not in full swing. We used a goddard caddis and slayed'em. While I won't claim to have caught any monsters, I definitely landed 20 fish w/in about 2 hours. Probably about 1/2 of those were tiny guys, and the rest in the 10-12" range.

T hooked a few nice ones on the ole' spinner

Notice Steve's smoothly shaved arms, almost as shiny as the fish scale, huh?

Look at this beast, I almost had to use a gaff to get it up

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mt. Sentinel burns in Missoula

*Images from www.newwest.net
Last Wednesday I was hanging out at home when a friend called and asked if I was on the fire. "What fire?" I asked as I ran out side to see what he was talking about. Holy crap! Fire was racing up the side of the "M" with grey smoke pouring off the top of Sentinel.

Turns out, 2 boys (7 and 8 years old) were playing with a lighter burning phone books at the base of the hill. I would have put money on it that it was a firework, but unfortunately not. Those two little boys are going to be a lot of trouble w/ their parents.

I was still on light duty with the old knee, I sat a watched the action from town. I kept a watchful eye in between batters at McCormick Field as I kept score and drank a beer.

The fire ended up being about 360 acres and mostly burned grass and brush. Although the fire got into the timber, fuel moistures were still high enough that all the trees escaped unscathed.

Here's a great video that Firewater Films put together of the action

Saturday, June 21, 2008

This looks fun, but I don't have the skillz or the balls

I think this place is just on the outskirts of Missoula. Wow, these kids got mad building skills and biking balls. I'd like to go check it out, but I think I'll just bring my camera. Check out the video, Elk Trail

Friday, June 20, 2008

Starting to feel somewhat normal

Since I got my mountain bike a few weeks ago I've been able to go on a few rides a week. It has done wonders for my mental state. I actually feel like I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and turning the corner on this rehab. Most of the rides are 5-7 miles but I've been on a few 10-12 milers and the knee feels pretty good. My buddy's have asked me while riding, hows the leg feel.....it feels tired like the other one is my response.

I haven't had any pain in the knee after or on these rides, it just a matter of restoring and building up the muscle in that left quad. Plus I am lacking some endurance, but those will come with time.

The rides around Missoula are impressive. The Rattlesnake, although I've only done 3 up there, never ceases to amaze me. Smooth ass single track that makes ya feel like a hero. Pattee Canyon serves up a little more road action than single track (at least in my limited explorations so far), but is still pretty damn sweet. And Blue Mountain is close to my house, so it's convienent but really lacks the great single track that the other places offer.

I am digging how much more country you can see on a bike vs hiking. And then the downhill? Forgetaboutitfool, it is badass. I'm gettting a great work out on the way up and then having a ball on the way down. I hope biking doesn't jade me too much on hiking.

We're going to be headed for Florida here in a few days to visit T's family. I can't wait for some sun and beach action. The 4 hour flight from SLC to Fort Lauderdale with the kiddies should be a blast, I'll keep ya post. For now, enjoy some pics from recent rides around Missoula.

And this is pretty cool. Click here to see a panoramic view that I created from taking 4 pictures from the top of Mount Sentinel last week

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taxi ride in Hanoi, Vietnam

I found this cool video clip over on the snaz blog, one the sites that I frequently check out. It reminds me of the few trips we've took over in SE Asia. Its amazing to see how many people the pack on the scooters. Check out how many babies you see squeezed in between the riders on the scooters. Someday maybe America will catchup?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

One more year

I turned 34 this week, so we celebrated with a bbq. We had a good turn out and lot of fun. We even had a fire in the backyard in the new fire pit that I bought for my birthday, good times. Got out on a good mountain bike ride up Mt Sentinel too.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lochsa Falls rafting carnage

This is great. I wish I could be over there running it right now, but I don't think the knee is ready for this kind of action. Some serious laughs to be had when watching Lochsa Falls from the pullout.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

3 Month update on the ole' wheel

I really can't believe how much better my knee has started to feel in the last 2 weeks. I literally have found myself saying, wow my knee feels normal. Albeit, there are still certain motions where I can feel a difference. But the biggest thing is that I can finally see my muscle tone returning to almost normal. I would say that it is 90%.

I have increased riding the bike to 1 hour/4 times a week (~12-15 miles). Three days a week I hit the gym and do my weights and jumps. I've worked up to 210 lb squats 3 x 20 (which isn't much, but its a great improvement). My leg presses are steadily increasing, at about 210 lb 3 x 20 and single leg at 120lb. I continue to increase weights on the rest of the exercises as well.

Two weeks ago the PT introduced jumps into my workouts. So I try to do 100 jumps 3 times a week. I do straight up jumps holding at the bottom for 2 seconds, side to side (kinda like skiing), 180 degree jump arounds. He also recommended that I skip but I'll be honest I have been slacking on that.

The thing I most excited about is my new mountain bike. I shopped around for 2 months and then finally found a deal and half on Ebay. I found a Kona Dawg Deluxe for over half what it normally retails for. I have a feeling that my kayak may be a bit lonely this summer.

And lastly, I had a my 3 month check up with the doctor today and he was impressed. He gave me an emphatic "you are doing great!" We talked about continue to train hard and continuing to push myself. Range of motion is full, at 130 degrees. No pain anywhere. All test showed tight ligaments. So we left it at another check up at 3 weeks, which at the point it looks like I will be able return to regular work duty. FKNA, they had told me 6 months and I'm a looking like 3.5 months, yes.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some old school fire pictures

I dunno, maybe it was the heat. We had three 90 degrees days this weekend, way to hot for this time of year. Apparently summer thinks its time to turn on the heat. Anyway, the 80 deg. living room pushed me into the basement, trying to escape the heat. I found my old fire album and scanned some pictures. Kinda cool looking at them. Enjoy.

The photos are from 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999. Some the areas I remember going - All over Nevada, the Big Bar Complex, the Idaho City Complex, Corral-Payette Complex, McCall, Sesech

Saturday, May 10, 2008

2 month update on the knee

Its been a while since I gave an update on the ole knee. Things are going well, the knee feels great all in all. I have very minimal swelling and very little pain if any. The main thing that has really improved is my confidence. I've ran for short distances now and it feels pretty good, just a little lagging on the extension. I have also started to do the StairMaster and the Eliptical, feels great. The PT has me doing some agility stuff to help the reflexes and confidence.

I even got out to wade fish this week. While over at a fire conference near Butte earlier in the week, we had a few hours to kill. A buddy and I drove down to Warm Springs Wildlife Refuge
Although we didn't exactly slay the fish, it was great to get out. I wore my knee brace and was super careful on the mossy rocks. The water really does run pretty warm there (thus the name) so its pretty slick wading. But the flows are pretty small so its not too pushy. Neither of us brought in a fish, I hooked one on a San Juan Worm but couldn't bring him in. There are some great stretches of water there, it just gets a lot of fishing pressure so they're pretty smart.
I've kept a lot of the bike riding I've been doing. More than anything, it is just a way to keep myself motivated. That way I can tell if I have been slacking by looking at the sheet. All in all since Feb 5th - May 10th I have riden 615 miles.
Here's the basic breakdown of my lifting at the gym. All sets of 3 x 10 unless otherwise specified:

Leg press: 180lbs
One leg down: 100
Leg pulleys (curl, straight back, side adduction): 30lbs
Squat: 155lbs
Hamstring curl (one legger): 45lbs
Medicine ball throw: 14 lbs 3 x 20 reps

Monday, April 28, 2008

Getting Western - Emigrant, Montana

Last weekend we were invited down the annual branding at the West Creek Ranch (Rocking 50). The usual contingent of Firemen that are dumb enough to voluntarily wrestle 200 pound wild calves were invited. I was there purely for the coaching of newbies, drinking lots of beer, mocking and taking pictures. Sidelined with the ACL reconstruction seemed to be the smart excuse to sit this year out.

All in all the group kicked 275 calves asses. This includes, but is not limited to:

1. Rounded up and seperated from their moms
2. Chased around the pen until they are roped by the back hooves (sometimes one hoof, look out cowboy). Dragged out to a testosterone charged crowd waiting to work them over
4. Wrestled or thrown to the ground, one leg reefed one way, the other leg drawn back; don't forget the boot up the butthole
5. 2 vacinations with a needle like a straw
6. Branded by the iron
7. If yer a dude, you are also getting castrated on the spot. The scrotum is wacked off and the nuts yanked/cut from you. Don't worry you get some bacterial spray and some blood stop powder lil fella.
8. A good smack on the ass and life is gravy in the pasture.

Now you city slickers might be saying, dang that sounds inhumane. But ask yourself, how often do enjoy the fruit of the plains? (ie burger and/or steak) Okay then.

Anyhow, the weather held up and it only spit snow and rain on us towards the end (the next day was a blizzard). A massive BBQ was served up afterwards and then the drinking begins. I like playing cowboy for one day a year, otherwise I'm all good.

I borrowed my buddies camera with a great telephoto lens. I'll let the pics do the rest of the talking. Also, Tracy put up some pics on her blog - http://twinventuresmt.blogspot.com/

Cool perspective on this one, check out the rope

Love the action in this shot

The views were just okay, J getting his fish on

One of the coolest guest cabins ever.

BBQ time

Tell me this couldn't be a Wrangler ad

Don't worry lil feller, its almost over.