Thursday, August 12, 2010

2nd camp, 2010

My second camp this year was a little cooler than the first, thank you very much, but not as enjoyable in some respects. There is more than a little of the hermit in me, and I enjoyed the solitude of my first camp. This time there were far to many people and to much activity for my liking. The dogs had to be kept tied much of the time. There are public corrals and an outhouse at this camp, but more conveniences means more people, and there really was no place else to camp nearby. There were a few times when I seriously considered packing up and going someplace else if it hadn’t been so much trouble; then things would quiet down as people either packed up and headed up the trail or went home. I had peace and quiet for awhile, at least for the time being.

Fishing? Well yeah, kind of, considering there was no chance to fish at all at my first camp. It was an eye opener for me though. I have been geared up for fishing the high country lakes or many years now, and it has been a long time since I fly fished a creek. I spent considerable time learning all over again. I used the same rod, reel, and line that I used back then, but to my dismay I found that I couldn‘t see the fly much of the time, and unless the light was fairly good I couldn’t even see the line. The old eyes aren’t as good as they used to be. For a short time I rigged up a spinning rod with a small Panther Martin spinner, and caught a trout on the first cast. I kept fooling round and soon hung up on the rocks and lost the spinner. The only practical way to fish a creek like this is with a fly. Spinners would have to be very small and light, like a tiny Colorado spinner, and then count on losing many of them. I caught enough trout to keep me interested, and to fry up with bacon and eggs for breakfast, but the truth is I lost more than I caught.

No excuses, but I was really limited to only 4 pools where I could fish. On the first evening I was there, before I even started to fish, a party of local people came in off the trail. A couple of teenage boys grabbed their rods and headed for the creek while their parents unloaded and unsaddled their mules. Those young fellows could scramble over the rocks where I couldn’t or wouldn’t attempt to go, and reach places I couldn’t. They caught several fish in the short time they were there. A few days later a neighbor of mine brought his family up for a one night campout and some fishing. Again, 2 teenage boys. Those kids not only scrambled over the rocks, but waded right down the middle of the creek. They did quite good, where I had been able to catch only an occasional fish. Ah to be young again! By the time I left that camp and headed for home, that section of creek had been pretty well fished out.

Shacklefored Creek

Once in awhile I would saddle Sis and take a short ride up the creek, prospecting for other likely places to fish. I see some changes I need to make. I have a couple of pack rods that break down into 4 pieces and fit in medal cases to carry them; but with these old eyes it takes me forever to rig one up and tie a fly on the line. I need one of the small telescoping rods that fold up to little more than a foot long. That way I can carry one all rigged up and ready to go. Then I could ride up a creek to a likely looking spot, fish for a little while, then fold the rod up and ride on to the next spot. Also, I have another fly reel here at home, loaded with a different color line that is easier to see. That should help a lot. It’s a learning process.


There were things besides fishing that occupied some of my time. As I said, people would come and go at this camp, and at least I knew some of them. A couple of commercial packers made some trips, packing people to the high country lakes. Cattle belonging to a local ranch also graze these mountains. One day the packers came into camp with a tale to tell. A dead cow was laying in a spot far to close to the trail, and 3 or 4 bears were feeding on it. One of the packers got a dandy picture of a bear, taken with a simple cell phone camera; the bear standing with its front feet on a log and looking right at the packer. The packer had a pistol with him, and he fired a shot into the log. The bear just stood there, and none of them ran off. They weren’t about to leave that carcass! From then on we tried to warn all back packers we possibly could to beware of those bears.

Later I was told that a troupe of Boy Scouts were camped somewhere along the Pacific Crest Trail, and an adult in the party had suffered a heart attack. A Wilderness Ranger who I have known for years happened to be nearby. She had a Forest Service radio with her and was able to call out. A CHP helicopter was flown in and the man was airlifted out.

On one of those rare occasions when no one else was in camp, and the dogs were sound asleep, I was flaked out in the shade and reading a magazine. I happened to look up, and there was a dandy buck standing about 20 feet from me. Of course he saw me, but didn’t seem to have a care in the world. Naturally my camera was in the truck! The deer calmly walked up the road to the hitching rack I had been using for Sis, and trying to act as nonchalant as possible, I tiptoed over to the truck for the camera. I had to crop a large section of the photo out, and enlarge the important part, so it may not be as sharp as I would have liked; but here is the result. This fellow better smarten up pretty quick. Archery deer season opens a week from Saturday!

deer,blacktail deer


Murphyfish said...

Hey Bob,
Tis better to have fished and not caught than not to have fished at all, at least you got breakfast from the waters. Seems that bears are popping up in a lot of the blogs from your side of the pond at the moment, would certainly change my approach to walking if I lived over there, camera with a much longer range for starters!
The wildlife over there is outstanding, one day maybe , one day.......

Momlady said...

Nice shot of the buck. When I went out on my porch a couple of days ago I saw a buck, a doe, and twin fawns in the yard. It's the first time I've seen the buck. Obviously they didn't stick around when they saw me. Wish I'd had my camera with me. Stay away from the bears and happy camping.

Bob Mc said...

Good morning John. Yes, bears and cougars are becoming a problem in many areas. To many people walking around without guns or any means of protection. The wildlife is losing its fear of humans, and that is NOT a good thing. I'm still catching up around here and haven't had a chance to read your latest musings yet, but I will.

Momlady, yesterday when I got out of bed and looked out the window there were twin fawns standing in my back yard. Two years ago I planted some fruit trees here, and I've had to protect them with chicken wire and plastic netting. Last year the deer ate the leaves off a young cherry tree and a peach tree. Killed the peach tree but the cherry tree survived. Last fall I planted 2 more peach trees, and so far the wire and netting is working.

Le Loup said...

I was working in Arnham Land one time, living on an Aboriginal reserve. I took a horse one day and went to a secluded waterfall pool for a skinny dip. I had just unsaddled my mount and started to undress, when out of no where a group of nuns turned up!
Had I already been in the water it would not have worried me, even coming out of the water in front of them. But somehow stripping off with them there did not seem right, so I saddled up again and moved on. I like being alone too!

Bob Mc said...

Keith, under the circumstances I would say that would be a good time to be alone too. LOL.

HermitJim said...

Never know what kind of excitement you may find in the woods!

Sure looks like a good bunch of places to camp and fish! Too bad those spots are getting so crowded!

That way all over, it seems! Good pictures!

Bob Mc said...

You're right Jim; those secluded spots are getting harder to find all the time. With hunting seasons about to open up there will be even more people around the main camps.

Leigh said...

Thats one handsome buck!

Bob Mc said...

He is that Leigh, but he won't live long enough to grow another point on those antlers if he keeps hanging around camps like that. Thanks for reading.

Casey said...

I've been thinking about getting one of those telescoping rods, also. If you get one before me, be sure to post a review!

Take care -


Bob Mc said...

I already have one Casey. I expected UPS to deliver it sometime next week, but instead it came by Priority Mail in double quick time. I have a horse trailer hitched up, and if the weather will cooperate I will take the rod out for a test run on a local creek tomorrow. Thunder clouds have been threatening all day, but so far it is just a threat.