A Spring Full of Adventure - You've barely had time to catch your
breath from the thrill of our last issue and here comes another newsletter
from those crazy folks who quit their jobs and took off across the country
to go fishing.
When we left off, we had pulled out of the White River in North Central
Arkansas and were headed back towards Central Texas for a quick stopover before
taking off for Alaska.
April is a bit early to rush up through Canada and into Alaska. So, we had
a little time to work with before the long haul north. We managed to fill
that time with lots of new adventures. We just can't wait to share them
Mountain Fork, Oklahoma Our path from North Central Arkansas to Central
Texas took us through Southern Oklahoma. We've heard about the Mountain
Fork River tailrace below Broken Bow Reservoir. They've done the same thing
with this river that we hope will happen on the Guadalupe River. They have
built a quality trout fishery by using a combination of trout stockings and
special fishing regulations. We thought we could learn a lot from a visit
to the Mountain Fork and that we might just have a good time while we were
We were pleasantly surprised to find this lush, hilly landscape in Southern
Oklahoma. Ferns and lichens covered the wet rocky hillsides that line the
river. The campground was nicely shaded by large pine trees. The campground
was well maintained and offered us a site right along the river. It was
just a short walk to fish. Just like we like it.
One of the most special memories of our visit to the Mountain Fork was the
new friends we made. We were joined for a couple of days on the stream by
Dallas based outdoor writer Mark Williams and his wife Amy. Together we
fished, shared stories and just had a good time together.
In addition to the many small but beautiful rainbow trout we played with
during our days on the river, the Mountain Fork yielded one special treat
on our first day. Fishing had been pretty slow most of the day when Jeff
spotted a large fish working in a pool just below a nice drop in the river.
As we watched the fish feed regularly just below the surface, Jeff rigged a
small bead head hares ear nymph. The fish picked up on the first drift.
When netted several minutes later the fish turned out to be a 21"
brown trout. The photos of this fish turned out to be spectacular. Watch
for them in our slide show next fall.
Welcome to our New Readers - The last couple of issues
have gone out to more and more new readers. If your one, by now you're
probably wondering "who the heck are these people and why are they
sending me this crap?" Well, think hard. We probably met you along the
way somewhere, knew you once or your name and address has been carved into
some rock out here in the great outdoors. In any event, you made the list.
Hope you enjoy it.
A Salute to Left Handers Many of you received our "Special Left
Handed Edition" last month. We felt that, as a matter of equal rights,
left handers should have things done their way once in a while.
Actually, this is just one of the many challenges of publishing this
newsletter on the road. We print the master on our notebook computer and
bubble-jet printer which are powered by our solar cells. Then we see if we
can find somebody to copy it for us. Last month we drove into Moab, Utah
for our printing. We picked up the finished copy as we started a 300 mile
drive north. Soon we discovered the copy shop had gotten some pages out of
By then we were really in the middle of nowhere. So, making do with what we
had, we discovered we could fold and assemble a newsletter that was exactly
backward. Works perfect for lefties.
Albuquerque Stopover We have written frequently about all of the
family we have in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our drive from Texas to Utah in
April provided us yet another opportunity to stop and visit.
Barry and BJ Shelton fixed us a nice dinner and engaged us in pleasant
conversation one evening. We're sure sorry that we missed the 10 year
renewal of the marriage vows a couple of weeks later.
Ron and Laurel Shelton, along with Cyndie's youngest brother Rick, joined
us for drinks and hors d'oeuvres at Gardunos Restaurant, where Rick's
girlfriend Bobbie is head bartender. You can bet the drinks were good that
Dan, Chapel, Sarah and Kristen Schmitt, had Sunday brunch with us at
YesterDaves. After checking out the car museum next door, we went back to
the house to be worn out and amused by our Sarah.
We cherish our time with our family. Seeing family more often was one of
the main objectives of our two year break. But, we still find ourselves
saying, "I wish we could see them more often", as we drive out of
town on the road to new adventures. It seems like every place we like to
visit can be arrived at via Albuquerque, so we'll be back.
Learning to Live on the River Most of our
lives these days are spent in, on, or around water -- usually rivers. Our
custom fishing raft has opened up many new waters to us and has taken us
onto many of our countries biggest and most majestic rivers. To tell you
the truth, there is probably not anything we like better in life than
spending the day floating down one of these great rivers, taking in the
scenery, feeling the rhythm of the river and maybe catching a few fish.
But, in order to get to many of the places we want to fish or see, you have
to forge the power of the river. You must cross her rapids. Along with this
comes danger and risk. Like everything else we have learned to do well in
life, we felt we should be trained to deal with these risks. After some
research we found just the perfect course to get this training.
The Canyonlands Field Institute (CFI) in Moab, Utah, is located near the
confluence of two of our countries greatest rivers, the Colorado and the
Green. CFI's mission is to educate the participants in its' programs on the
issues facing the Colorado Plateau region by exposing people to the
environment through a variety of activities. In our case, they offered a
River Skills course designed to teach people how to safely operate a raft
on big rivers.
River Skills I took us to Moab for a 3 day, 2 night, camp on the river,
participative float trip/course. On the first night we reported to CFI's
Professor Valley Field Camp, about 20 miles from Moab, where we set our
tent camp. That evening they taught us a session on knot tying for river
runners, fitted us in wetsuits and briefed us on our river trip.
The next morning we awoke early to a hearty camp breakfast. Morning
classroom sessions included sessions on rowing, river reading, river rescue
and river safety skills. Then, it was off to the nearby Fisher Towers
section of the Colorado River where we rigged and loaded 4 rafts for the 20
of us to use to float downriver. After a detailed safety orientation, we
each got an opportunity to practice the rowing and river reading skills we
had been taught earlier in the day. By late in the afternoon we had arrived
at a nice sandy beach which would be our camp for the night. Here they
taught us how to set a camp, how to build a camp kitchen, how to patch a
boat and even the ecologically correct way to poop on a river trip. Soon,
the group was around a campfire sharing stories of adventures past and of
those only dreamed of. Dreams are easy to come by under skies full of stars
in the wilderness and we all slept well in our tents that evening.
Sunday morning Michele Reaume, our trip leader, had us up early. Breakfast
was served quickly as we had a lot to do today. Camp was broken and the
rafts were loaded down with our gear. Before we left camp, we were briefed
on a variety of river rescue techniques that we would need later in the
day. As we floated down the Colorado, oars and guides went overboard for us
to retrieve and rescue. By lunch, we were all thrown into the river to swim
the rapids while our classmates practiced rescuing us with ropes. Swimming
in the rapids of a big, cold river is not something you look forward to
doing. But, we didn't want the first time to be in some kind of emergency.
All in all, it was a good experience that will hopefully never need be
By Sunday evening we were to the takeout. Gear was broken down and loaded
onto the truck for the drive back to the CFI camp. In 3 short days 20 of us
had become a team, working together towards common goals. New friendships
had formed. Some time was spent saying goodbye and promising to keep in
touch. (We've done our part so let's hear from some of you guys)
The best part of this course was that it was so participative. Unlike many
of the guided river trips we had taken in the past, we did the work that
made this trip come together. We rigged and rowed the boats. We set the
camps and worked the kitchens. We pulled our new friends from the raging
river currents. Our course instructors and the 3 professional guides that
assisted her were there to insure our safety and share with us their wealth
of knowledge about the river.
We always tell people we're not into whitewater rafting but that we raft on
whitewater to the extent necessary to get where we want to fish. Rafting
has added a new dimension to our adventure and is an exciting way to
experience a river. We plan to continue our conservative approach to
boating on big rivers but it will be with more confidence in our abilities
that we visit them.
River Skills I has just wet our appetite for river safety knowledge. We
plan to return to Moab in May for River Skills II. Stay tuned for our
report in our next issue.
Moab Sights We went to Moab for the River
Skills course but got much more than we expected.
Moab is a haven for the outdoor enthusiast. Perhaps most famous for its
mountain biking terrain, it is also a favorite amongst rock climbers,
hikers, hang gliders and just plain old sightseers. With both Canyonlands
and Arches National Park within an hours drive of town, you have two
incredible areas of geological formations to enjoy in any way that you
We spent a couple of days of our time in Moab doing some sightseeing. As
the name suggests, Arches National Park is noted for the wind carved
sandstone arch structures that dominate the landscape of the park.
Canyonlands National Park takes you to the top of the Colorado Plateau to
overlook several tiers of canyons that make up the Colorado and Green River
valleys. The colors and textures of the landscape are incredible here.
We took a short hike on a trail from the Grand View in Canyonlands National
Parks that took us out onto a point thousands of feet above the canyon
floor. You can't believe how quiet it was out there. As the sun moved
across the sky, the canyon scene changed with the changing light. We took
pictures, but they'll never really live up to the beauty of seeing it in
There isn't much in the way of flyfishing opportunities in Moab. But, it
offers so many other things to those of us who love the outdoors. Now that
we have new friends in the area, we're sure we'll be stopping in Moab
whenever we're in the area.
Springtime in the Gorge Last summer we
told you about our first visit to the Green River below Flaming Gorge dam.
So, finding ourselves in Utah with a couple of weeks to kill before our
second River Skills course, it is not surprising that the Green found a
place in our spring itinerary.
When we arrived on the Green River we were greeted by the weather you have
heard about in previous stories. First, the wind blew with gusts up to 75
mph, then it snowed, then it got really cold. Since we had lots of time to
spend on the Green we wimped out and let the weather slow us down a bit. We
only fished one of the first three days and that day we fought the wind all
day. With a lot of work we caught 4 nice rainbows that day and had a nice
preview float of the river canyon. But, we were hoping for more pleasant
By the fourth day, the weather gods began to smile upon us. The skies
cleared, the winds calmed and the sun began to warm the air between the
shadows of the canyon walls. It was time for some serious floating and
The Green is just such an ideal place for our setup. The campground at
Dripping Springs is located between the put-in and take-out for an awesome
day float. The river is perfect for our boat. The rapids are challenging
enough to be fun to run yet not so big as to be real dangerous. There are
services in the area just set up to support floating the river. The scenery
in the river canyon and the pleasure of the float insure you a fun
experience whether you catch fish or not. And, since there are a lot of
fish here you always see fish swimming around the boat and in the eddies.
We almost always get the bonus of catching a few fish and sometimes the
thrill of catching a lot.
Our trip to the Green included 5 one-day floats of the "A"
section and one, two-day "float and camp on the river" trip where
we floated from the dam to Browns Park. Rowdy, our golden retriever, went
along for all of the floats. The overnight trip was our first
self-outfitted float and camping trip with our boat and was a dress
rehearsal for what we plan to do in Alaska.
The Green is quickly becoming one of our favorite places to visit. We're
planning a stop through again this fall, as we return from Alaska.
Dinosaur Droppings Ahead The area
around the Flaming Gorge in Northeast Utah contains some of the most
interesting geological features in the world. Uplifting and erosion have
resulted in the exposure of almost every layer of the earths history in one
small area. In several areas the layer that has come out on top happens to
be one that was around when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Saturday April 27 was Cyndie's birthday. The weather was cold and the winds
were blowing at over 25 mph. Somehow floating the Green River that day just
didn't seem like a good time, particularly since we still had over a week
more in this area. Instead, we decided we'd take a 50 mile drive over to
Dinosaur National Monument, east of Vernal, Utah. Cyndie had visited
Dinosaur with her family as a child, so it brought back good memories to
her for her birthday..
Dinosaur National Monument is basically miles of desert land surrounding a
big building built right up against the side of a hill. The exposed face of
this hill, which forms one wall of the building, contains hundreds of
dinosaur bones that have been partially exposed by an active digging
project going on in the building. The building has been set up to allow
visitors to view this dig site and the incredible display of dinosaur
remains. A couple of skeletons of large dinosaurs are nearly complete.
Informational displays explain the process going on at the dig site and
assist visitors with identifying the exposed remains.
After checking out all of these dinosaurs and realizing we were in the
heart of their domain, we were feeling particularly adventuresome. So, we
decided to take the "back way" back to our camp in Dutch John.
This involved a 40 mile gravel road section followed by about 10 miles of
steep, 4 wheel drive road. It also involved a couple of those most dreaded
backroad experiences. The road forks into two gravel paths, both of which
go off into the mountain horizon. The map shows no fork and the road isn't
marked. You make a guess and go on faith.
In spite of this, the drive was magnificent. First we crossed the desert
plateau above the Green River and then we descended into Crouse Canyon,
which was basically a narrow, 200 foot deep crack in the red rock just wide
enough for a creek and a pair of dirt ruts that a map we had generously
labeled as a road. We successfully navigated the "road" to within
a half a mile of the cutoff to our campground when we came across a large
tree that the high winds had blown across the road. At 18" in diameter
and about 40 feet long it was too big for our winch and too tall for even
the ground clearance we have in our truck. We were stuck.
We had to back up the "road" for about one-half mile to find a
place wider than the truck to turn around again. A two hour drive back
through the road we had already driven got us back to within a few miles of
where we had already been.
Today, as I sit and write this story at our camp, it is snowing big white
flakes. It has snowed most all day and our solar panels are struggling to
find enough sunlight to run our lights, heater and keep the power up on
this laptop computer. The scene outside the trailer window is beautiful. In
fact, I think I see a dinosaur rustling around in the trees over there.
Think I'll run out and help Rowdy check it out.
Grand Canyon, After the Flood If you watched
the news at all towards the end of March, you could not help but see the
story about the "controlled flood" event that took place this
spring in the Grand Canyon. This man-made flood event touched us personally
in several ways so we had a special interest in checking out the results.
So, a visit to Lees Ferry, at the mouth of the Grand Canyon in northeastern
Arizona, was in order.
Basically what took place in the Grand Canyon is that they tried to
simulate on the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam what used to take
place before the dam was built. In the springtime, the rush of runoff from
the snowmelt from the western slope of the Rocky Mountains ran into the
Colorado River and flooded a lot of habitat. The floods also moved a lot of
sandbars in the river around. The construction of the dam changed this
pattern. As a result, some native fish species that had evolved over many
millions of years to this natural flooding cycle on the Colorado River,
were becoming endangered. We got a good look at this perspective on the
flood during our float trips with Canyonlands Field Institute (CFI) on
Colorado River. CFI 's mission is to educate people on issues effecting
this region. They provided well-informed seminars on the flood and the
plight of the endangered fishes.
Another perspective on the flooding of the Colorado River below Glen Canyon
Dam came from our friends, Terry and Wendy Gunn, who own and operate Lees
Ferry Anglers. Once Glen Canyon Dam was built, the waters directly below it
were fundamentally changed forever. What were once warm, silty waters way
downstream of the cold mountain runoff were now cold, clear releases from
the bottom of a deep reservoir. Native fishes were completely displaced by
this cold water. To compensate for the loss of these native fishes in the
productive ecosystem that is still exists, trout fisheries were created.
Trout now fill the role previously taken by the native suckers and chubs.
In fact, in the Lees Ferry area of the Colorado River a world class trout
fishery has been built. This fishery has become a treasured resource by
many people, including us. People in this area have built their lives
around the trout fishery at Lees Ferry.
The flood in the Grand Canyon this spring has some potential downsides to
the trout fishery. There are fears of how this high flows will effect the
trout spawning in the river. There are also concerns about what recurrent
floods will do to the insect and invertebrate life on the river, which are
a vital part of the trout's food. At minimum, this flood cost the people
who depend on this sport fishery for their living. They were directly
effected this spring. News of the huge floods and life threatening
conditions resulted in many people not visiting and fishing at Lees Ferry
Which leads us to another way in which this incredible environmental
experiment directly touched our lives this spring. You may recall from a
previous newsletter that we had an opportunity to work for 3 months at Lees
Ferry this spring. Jeff was going to guide fisherman on walk-in trips into
the Canyon and Cyndie was going to work in the flyshop. The flood on the
Colorado this spring effected business at Lees Ferry Anglers such that they
were unable to get the business they needed to keep us busy and we didn't
get to work at Lees Ferry. We were disappointed to miss the opportunity to
see this perspective of the flyfishing industry.
As with many environmental issues, we find ourselves torn between the two
perspectives. Both positions have merit. We just can't help but thinking,
"can't we all just get along?". No matter which perspective you
take on the great Grand Canyon Flood of 1996 it is an event that we will
remember for a long time.
Adventures in Glen Canyon It was early May when we pulled the
trailer from our campsite on the Green River over to the campground at Lees
Ferry. Lees Ferry is located at the bottom of Glen Canyon, below Lake
Powell in Northern Arizona. It is called Lees Ferry because there used to
be a guy name Lee who ran a ferry boat across the Colorado at this access
point. The Ferry ran from 1860 until 1920, when it sank. When you look at
this area from above and at a distance you quickly see why this is an
important geographical point. Above and below this point steep canyon walls
crack the earth, making for impassable territory. But, at Lees Ferry, the
land slopes gently away from the river, making for passable terrain on
horseback, or in a wagon.
Lees Ferry is now known as the entrance into the Grand Canyon. Raft
expeditions, some lasting as long as 3 weeks, regularly launch their boats
at Lees Ferry. Once you push off at Lees Ferry, it's over 200 miles to the
top of Lake Mead, the next place you can get our boat out of the Canyon.
This makes Lees Ferry a0 center of activity for the Grand Canyon.
Lees Ferry and Glen Canyon are also known for the world class trout fishery
that has been created in the 17 miles of magnificent canyon between the Dam
and the Ferry access point. It is the trout fishery, the incredible scenery
and our friends, Terry and Wendy Gunn, that drew us Lees Ferry this spring.
One thing about fishing at Lees Ferry is that we are guaranteed a great
experience, whether or not we manage to catch any fish. The scenery is just
so spectacular it is almost a shame to spend a whole day looking at nothing
but a small dry fly or strike indicator floating on the water. With good
friends like Terry and Wendy to visit with, an enjoyable visit is
guaranteed. Fishing is just the catalyst for the friendship and the bond we
all have with this incredible environment. But, we did fish and I have to
report (or brag) on our success.
Lees Ferry is a 'can't be missed ' place to visit. Check it out sometime.
Hiking Cathedral Wash The Grand Canyon is a formidable work of
Mother Nature. You basically walk for hundreds of miles across a flat,
desert terrain and then come to this several thousand foot crack in the
ground. When you walk to the rim and look over it is unimaginable how you
would ever get down to the river. But Mother Nature has supplied you with a
Water and gravity are the path makers of the desert canyons. Water falls
rarely, but often violently, on the desert plains above the canyon. These
waters run off the sandy soils rapidly, gathering themselves into areas
called 'washes'. These washes start at desert plateau level and angle their
way down to the bottom of the canyon and into the Colorado River. These
washes are gateways into the Grand Canyon.
Cathedral Wash is the first such pathway below the Lees Ferry access point.
This wash provides the hearty hiker a way to walk right to the mouth of the
Grand Canyon. Cyndie, Rowdy and I made this day hike while we visited Lees
Ferry. The alleged purpose of the hike was to go fishing. But, the
difficulty of the hike, the majesty of the terrain and the intense heat
overwhelmed our desire to fish much.
The hike started as we walked off the bridge on the main road and into an
overgrown ditch. We followed the wash bed downward as the walls around us
began to rise. Soon the descent became a bit more treacherous. It became
difficult to decide where the path really was. The sun beat down on us and
we quickly realized that this hike would have better been done at 7:00 AM,
not 1:00 PM. After about 45 minutes, we came to a sign that says
"Entering Grand Canyon National Park" and amongst other things
"No Dogs." Well, Rowdy had been in this adventure with us up to
this point and we were convinced we must be getting pretty close to the
bottom of the canyon. Sign or no sign, we were not turning back now, Rowdy
included. We decided to move on down just to see the river and then we
would get out quickly. Then the real fun started.
Around the next bend we followed the wash bottom to the top of what is, on
the rainy occasions, a 25 foot waterfall. Now, the rock climbing began.
Imprints of footsteps in the sand lead us to several places where the jump
down was manageable. We handed Rowdy down the descents that he was too
smart to jump off on his own. We weaved our way along the canyon walls that
were now looming above us. Another 45 minutes of rock climbing, ledge
walking and duck walking under overhangs was invested while the sun cooked
down to us.
Then, we rounded the bend and began to hear it. Next, we saw it sparkling
at the end of the wash canyon -- the clear, cold waters of the Colorado
River. We stumbled down to the end of the wash and onto the sand beach it
had created. Rowdy was the first to jump into the 45 degree water, but we
were not far behind. It was cold but so refreshing What a contrast to the
heat our sunbaked skin was feeling.
As we cooled, fished and swam a group of rafts floated past us and deeper
into the mouth of the Grand Canyon. We watched as huge motor-powered rafts,
hauling the gear for several small oar-rafts, blasted through the waves.
Many of the rafts are no bigger or river-worthy than ours. The people
running them looked no different than us. They crashed into the first rapid
of the canyon, whooping and hollering, there eyes filled with the
anticipation of things that lie ahead. We have to do it. The bug for a
float thru this marvel of nature has caught us.
Soon we began to let our intimidation of the walk out terminate our time at
the river. We begin the walk back up the wash and out of the heat. The walk
back up is actually easier, partly because we know what we have ahead of us
and partly because it is often easier to climb up than jump down in rough
By early evening we were out of the wash and back to the truck. The falling
sun lit up the canyon walls and formed a majestic backdrop to our drive
back to camp. We are sunbaked and even Rowdy is sore from the climbing.
What an adventure.
Drifting thru Glen Canyon Our trip to Lees Ferry included an adventure not
experienced by many people. Access to the canyon is usually only possible
by hiring a guide with a jet boat to take you upstream into the canyon from
the Lees Ferry access point. However, we were able to make arrangements to
have our cataraft moved 15 miles up the canyon, where we took the next 3
days to float, fish and camp our way down the canyon.
Experiencing the canyon from our raft was an awesome experience. The quiet
of a drifting raft, as opposed to the noise of a jet boat engine, created
an atmosphere that is unbeatable. Our small raft was dwarfed by the
magnitude of the huge canyon walls we floated under. Camping on the river
also provides a glimpse of the canyon that few people experience. As the
heat of the day fades to a cool evening, even the dark of night cannot
obscure the shadows of the canyon walls that loom over you.
A particularly memorable and humbling experience was the opportunity to
hear the sound of rocks crashing off the canyon walls. Even though this
happened nowhere near where we were camped, it sounded like it happened
right above us. In fact, it awoke us from our sleep and I promptly jumped
out of my sleeping bag and went out to pull clothes off of our line,
thinking I had just heard a close lightening strike. As the fog of a deep
sleep cleared from my mind, I realized I was outside preparing for rain
under clear, starry skies. It was later we learned that we had heard a rock
Fishing during our 3 day float was on and off. We caught fish each day but
one particular morning was the most memorable. On Sunday morning, the water
was low and Jeff was stripping streamers, one of his favorite ways to fish.
The fish were into it that morning. In 3 hours we landed about 25 fish and
had hit or follows from twice that many more. That morning was one of the
best days of fishing we had ever experienced. After lunch, we quit fishing
and spent the rest of the day appreciating where we were.
It was late on Sunday evening when we floated out of the mouth of Glen
Canyon and to our take out at the Lee's Ferry boat ramp. Sunbaked, tired
and dirty, we loaded up the boat and headed back to the relative comforts
of our trailer camp. Another adventure not soon to be forgotten.
Sharing the Canyon with Dad We were joined at Lees Ferry by Jeff's
parents, Pete and Rosemary Schmitt. of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Our friend
and local guide Terry Gunn took Jeff, Cyndie and Pete up into the canyon in
his jet boat for a one day fishing and sightseeing trip. Terry taught Pete
how to flyfish and he was fortunate to land 3 nice rainbow trout as a
reward for his learning. We also took time to visit the site of some
ancient Indian ruins and petroglyphs. Quality time, for sure.
Oarstrokes of John Wesley Powell Each of the places we have visited out
west this spring (Flaming Gorge, Lee's Ferry and Moab) have one common
thread that connects them. They are all part of the river and canyon system
that was originally explored and mapped by John Wesley Powell. Powell was a
civil war hero who lost one arm in the war. In 1869 he convinced the
government to sponsor his expedition to track the mighty rivers and map the
grand canyons of the west. This was a journey unlike anything undertaken
before. They took small wood boats onto the rivers and floated into
uncharted territory, not knowing what would lie around any bend.
Cyndie has taken quite an interest in the history of this journey and the
areas we have been visiting. She has been reading the published notes that
Powell made on each day of his journey on these rivers. As we have floated
the sections of the river that Powell visited, she reads his notes and
compares them with what we see today. We are able to identify places on the
river the he camped from the descriptions in these notes. A hundred years
ago much of this area looks just like it does today. And, hundreds of years
from now it will probably still look the same. The rivers and canyons
remain the same. Only the boatman have changed.
Opportunity Lost We have written several times about our work with
Trout Unlimited in Texas and our dreams of establishing a quality trout
fishery on the Guadalupe River. We changed our spring itinerary and drove
600 miles back to Texas so that we could put our full efforts into
supporting a proposed change in the fishing regulations on the Guadalupe
River. Texas Parks and Wildlife had proposed a limit on the number of trout
that could be taken per day and restricting bait fishing. A hearing was
scheduled on April 16 in New Braunfels at which time the proposed
regulations were open to public comment. It was this hearing that we
returned to Central Texas to attend and to rally the membership of Trout Unlimited
to turn out to show their support.
It is with great disappointment that we report that our efforts have
failed. A small group of local residents turned out at this hearing and
managed to make much more noise than our TU membership could counter. They
made this into a private property rights issue and convinced TP&W that
their rights to fish for catfish with worms off their docks were more
important that the right of thousands of Texans to have one quality trout
fishery on the only section of water in the state capable of supporting
such a fishery. Never mind that TP&W studies showed that there were
virtually no catfish to fish for with worms in this section of the river.
The bottom line is TP&W withdrew its' recommendations for changes to
the fishing regulation. A great opportunity has been lost in Texas.
Wildlife Sightings Report
Otters were seen on the Colorado River near Moab, a rare sighting in
this section of the river.
A raven chased an eagle across the sky as it protected its
nest along the banks of the Colorado River.
Deer were the brush and along the roads around Dutch John, Utah.
A variety of camouflaged lizards were seen along the trails in
Canyonlands National Park.
An elephant was spotted along the highway in West Texas. Well,
actually, there was an elephant in the back of a semi-trailer stopped at a
Canadian Geese are headed back north. Many have passed over us,
emitting their distinctive call, while we have camped and fished in Utah
Merganser Ducks, pairing up for the mating season, were prevalent on
the Green and Colorado rivers.
A White Faced Ibis is an uncommon sighting but we saw quite a few
along the banks of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon.
"Lizards, snakes and scorpions, Oh my!" is what Dorothy would
have chanted had she headed thru the desert on her way to OZ. Saw many of
the first and spent lots of time avoiding the last two while we hiked in
these arid climates.
And finally, it's always something. If it's not a chipmunk, it's a rabbit
or a lizard. There's always them pesky little creatures that are just out
of leash range and know it. They seem to be there to tease Rowdy at most
every campsite. He acts like he hates it but we think he loves it.
Campground Recap When we left
off in our April newsletter we were at Beavers Bend State Park in Southern
Oklahoma. Here's where we've stayed since then :
Mockingbird Hill RV Park, Burleson, TX - After recovering from a
flat tire earlier in the day, we pulled into here for an overnight stop
over on our way back to Austin.
Our Own Backyard, Austin, TX - We needed a place where we could
access a phone for a couple of days while we mounted a phone campaign for
Trout Unlimited. Our backyard works well for living in.
River Valley Campground, Sattler, TX - This has become our home when
we're on the Guadalupe River. We stayed here for a couple of days before
the Parks and Wildlife hearing in New Braunfels. We fished one day with
friends Alan Bray and Scott Graham.
Mission RV Park, El Paso, TX - After a 600 mile haul from San
Antonio, which featured yet another flat tire, we pulled up for some sleep.
The wind blew in El Paso that night.
KOA Central, Albuquerque, NM - Spent 3 nights while we visited
family. Of the 3 places we've camped in Albuquerque, we like this one the
American RV, west of Albuquerque, NM - We pulled out west of town to
get clear of traffic before we headed out the next day.
Canyonlands Camp Park, Moab, Utah - A real nice, quiet, campground
in the center of Moab that served as our base camp for the River Skills
Professor Valley Field Camp, outside of Moab, Utah A majestic site
on the Colorado Plateau under the LaSalle mountains. Canyonland Field
Institute uses the camp to educate program participants on the ecology of
this area. We tent camped here on the first night off the River Skills
Primitive Campsite along the Colorado River in Central Utah - One
night of tent camping off the rafts with the River Skills students and
Dina Campground, Vernal, Utah - The pull into the Flaming Gorge is
steep and difficult to drive, so we stopped short of our final destination
to get rested up for the final drive in.
Dripping Springs Campground, Dutch John, Utah - Our second visit to
site #16 at this campground on the Green River in the Flaming Gorge. Out
trailer spent 10 days here while we floated, fished and tent camped on the
Sand Campsite, on the Green River We had to float into this site and
spent the night tent camping next to the river. You can sure get a good
nights sleep with the river sounds setting up the background.
Bryce Canyon KOA, Panguich, UT - A stop over camp for one night on
the way between Dutch John and Lees Ferry. Unfortunately, our schedule did
not allow us to spend enough time in this beautiful area.
Lees Ferry Campground, Marble Canyon, Arizona - We had a site in
this campground that looked right into the mouth of the Grand Canyon when
you looked one way, up into Glen Canyon the other way and onto the
Vermillion Cliffs behind us. The sight of sunrise on the cliffs in early
morning and sunset on the canyon walls in the evening are beyond
description in words. We can only hope the photos will do this justice.
Backcountry campsite at 14 mile and 9 mile in Glen Canyon - Tent
camping under the canyon walls while on a float through the canyon.
Canyonlands Campground, Moab, UT - Back to Moab for the second river
skills course and back to the campground we stayed at last month.
A Look into the
Future of the Dynamic Duo
(and their faithful pup, Rowdy)
By the time you get our next issue we'll be in Alaska. We have many new
adventures planned for our visit to the north country. Stay tuned for :
Our return to Moab, Utah, for River Skills II.
The grueling details of the 2,500 mile pull from
Moab to Anchorage.
Stories of sights we have seen and adventures we have undertaken on our
drive through Montana, Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon.
A 7 day fly-in, float out on the Kakatlin River.
Rowdy's going along for the ride on this one.
Salmon fishing on the big rivers of Alaska.
Driving to the Arctic Ocean on the Dalton Highway.
Our friend Bill Choate joins us in Anchorage for a
drive to and tour of Denali National Park. By the way Bill, bring some
Canyons and Arches
Drifting thru History
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