Newsletter Volume 5

 April/May 1996


In 1995, Jeff and Cyndie set aside their careers to pursue personal interests: travel, flyfishing and adventure. They lived in a 5th wheel trailer that had been converted into a fishing cabin on wheels. Their Ford F350 pickup and custom designed inflatable boat took them to places where dreams are made. Rowdy, their Golden Retriever, came along for the adventure.

This newsletter was produced 6 times a year to chronicle and share the adventures. It was distributed to family, friends, business associates and folks they met along the way.

 


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 with you.

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 at it.

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 order.

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 night.

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 drawn upon.

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 could want.

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 person.

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 days.

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 fishing.

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 this spring.

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 path.

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 terrain.

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 fall.

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.

In the 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.

Cyndie's 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 rest stop.

Canadian Geese are headed back north. Many have passed over us, emitting their distinctive call, while we have camped and fished in Utah this spring.

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 best.

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 course.

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 course.

Primitive Campsite along the Colorado River in Central Utah - One night of tent camping off the rafts with the River Skills students and instructors.

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 Green.

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 longies.

Contents :

River Skills

Canyons and Arches

Flaming Gorge

Dinosaur Sightings

Grand Canyon

Drifting thru History

Wildlife Sightings

Campground Recap

Coming Attractions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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