Just one Good Fish Lord.....then one more

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Paradise Shores RV Park

Flag of United States  , Ca
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So, were back in Santa Fe, well, actually we're staying with friends in Albuquerque right now and may camp around Santa Fe until August, which we are thinking about spending on the Oregon coast. Ilana will leave for the Bay Area in September to lead two Southwest bus tours back to back, Oye!  I will depart most likely for Montana and a month of great fly fishing in some of the best trout streams in the Country.  September is one of the most beautiful and best times to fish as the trees are beginning to turn, the stream flows are perfect, the trout are fattening up for winter, and the crowds are gone.
     right now Ilana is staying with friends in Santa Fe and I am tent camping and fishing the famous San Juan River in Northern New Mexico.  the stream for eight miles below the dam is classified as trophy trout water; fly fishing only and strictly catch and release.  there are literally thousands of fish per mile in this stretch and they average 16 to 20 inches with some going  bigger.  this morning, after being skunked my first two days on the river, I hooked six of these behemoths and landed two, including one bright rainbow which by modest assessment was two feet in length and took me nearly 20 minutes to land, playing him very carefully.  this is easily the biggest trout I have ever landed.  You could fish a lifetime and never catch a trout this size.  to do it on a flyrod with a fly no bigger than a comma on a page and gossamer line was a whole new challenge for me. 
     This paragraph is a month later in our trip.  our plans changed and we did not go to Montana.  Instead we went to Southern California and worked on fixing up my Dad's house (which is now a rental property) and then took off to the Eastern Sierra for a couple of months.  we are staying in a trailer park at the edge of a beautiful sparkling blue reservoir in Bridgeport, California, which is just twenty miles north of Mono Lake.  the lake is also a bird sanctuary, harboring huge flocks of stately white pelicans, finely painted grebes, regal eagles that make bald look good, long legged cranes, great blue herons, and many varieties of geese and ducks.  I took a picture of a flock of black birds with bright yellow breasts on a lakeside bush, some with red heads.  Not sure what the were, orioles?  Tanagers?
     the sunsets here are spectacular and the morning light on the jagged escarpment of the Eastern Sierra is rich and dramatic.  there is still plenty of snow on the peaks, which soar to over 13 thousand feet, well above timberline.  Ilana, Chance and I made the short drive up to Virginia Lakes for a hike.  Starting at 9,000 feet and climbing to over 10,000 ft, the altitude was too much for Ilana so we took the trail at nearby Twin Lakes, only 7,000 ft, to Horsetail Falls, which was a thundering cataract with billowing spray refreshing our faces.
     the next day I went back to Virginia Lakes with Chance and we hiked up into the wilderness for miles, through groves of Aspen, fir, pine and cedar, past babbling crystal clear creeks choked with wildflowers, past towering rock monoliths  finely carved by the ages.  Chance got to swim after sticks in four different alpine lakes along the way and drank from clear streams.  He was in dog heaven.  I got him to pose for a picture at two of the lakes.  He doesn't know why we do it but he totally gets the picture taking thing.  a couple of hikers sitting by the lake told me, "I couldn't believe the way your dog posed for that picture!". I said, "Yeah, he's a real ham.".
     I, of course, have been fishing at every opportunity and Ilana is certain that I have taken the sport past any reasonable extreme.  Perhaps I am an addict but for me it is a fine madness, and certainly less harmful than drugs or alcohol.  Rivers are the arteries of the earth and standing in mountain water with my head in mountain sky I feel more in the moment, more alive.  I loved rivers and streams before I ever learned about fishing for trout.  But the pursuit of trout has taken me to more beautiful natural places than I ever would have seen or experienced otherwise.  The whole package; the beauty, the freshness, the adventure, the focus, the excitement of trout fishing is addictive, so I am guilty as charged.  This is not to justify what is certainly a selfish indulgence the way I practice it.  Everyone needs a little selfish indulgence in their lives but too much leads to social problems.  Again, guilty as charged.  But, here and now I am like the proverbial kid in the candy store with too much good fishing too close by, so it's been decided that September, while Ilana is busy with her tours, will be my month to fish my butt off, and then it’s back to the real world with all it’s responsibilities and challenges.

     I guess the only way to sign off is, "gone fishin."

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Mel and Nora on

What a great adventure. Would like to have shared it with you both. |Nora should be out of Rehab the second week in September. Love you both.

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