Monday, October 31, 2011

What a crap ass weekend

Getting ready for the storm on Saturday, I headed off to the hardware store just as the snow was starting so I could get some supplies for an oil change on the generator. While I was there the storm just opened up. By the time I was coming back down the hill to the house there were two inches of slushy snow on the road.

I had actually fantasized about fishing this weekend. Sure we were getting a freak winter storm but it's friggin' October, how bad could it be? Maybe a quick trip before the storm or a trip Sunday afternoon after the snow melts. I was a bit concerned that the snow melt would cool the water and put the fish down, but I wasn't there exclusively for the fish but also for some time on the river. I was delusional.

Unfortunately, the hill got the best of me.

Regardless my creeping pace, gravity took over and provided Sam and I with a thrilling ride to an abrupt stop where the road turns. We're both fine. The car will need some attention. The wrecker should be dragging it out of the woods this morning.

One more thing to add to the pile.

We received about eight to ten inches of heavy wet snow and listened all night as the trees snapped and crackled and thudded to the ground. Some of those breaks sounded like automatic weapons fire followed by a crisp snap and a thud. Others went off like small explosions with the same terminal result.

No power is likely for days though the aforementioned generator is purring away providing some semblance of normalcy. We went for more gasoline last night and swung into the Mobil station. I wondered if they were open. The lights were on but there was only one car at the pumps. They only had high octane gas available but we weren't particular; we gladly paid the extra thirty cents a gallon. By the time we stopped pumping our ten gallons, every bay was full and there were a dozen cars in line waiting to fuel up. Timing is everything. At least we've got enough gasoline to get us through the next day, possibly two.

With the generator, at least there's heat and water and some of the other amenities. Internet service provided by the cell phone was spotty yesterday but seems to be functioning normally today. The neighborhood looked like a war zone yesterday but most of the blasted trees have been moved aside so at least the roads are passable.

Steelheading next weekend. Looking forward to it.

I guess this is what insurance is for.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fifi Flies - Dam Busting Possibilities

My Dad passed this video of the B-29 Superfortress Fifi flying up to Oshkosh this year. There's some amazing footage for those who just love these old warbirds. There's an especially stirring view of a flight of P-51s coming up alongside her.

Of course, it's also great to know that these resources are available for the foundation to use in dam  busting operations.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dam Busting Baby!

I think I hear the roar of a B-17 in the background.

Blowing Shit up. Noon (PT). Today.

The folks over at PacifiCorp are blowing a hole in the Condit Dam at noon today (that's west coast time for y'all who are elsewhere). They're going to have a live webcast so you can see this thing go off as it happens. There will be a link posted at 11 a.m. (PT) on their website. No doubt it will be popular so log in early for the show.

No word yet on whether there will be B-17s involved and while nobody contacted the foundation regarding our involvement, we're real happy to see an even bigger leap forward than some of the minor projects we've seen in the past.

Check out the video below re: the project to date.

Thanks to Moldy Chum and White Salmon Restored for the info.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quick Sips: Donnie Beaver Edition

President Obama causes FUD for anglers
  • Someone forwarded me an email for Donnie Beaver's Homewaters operation. They now have something called an "Inaugural Membership". Apparently during these tough economic times folks are unwilling to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go trout fishing on private water. The Inaugural Program costs only $9,900. Act quickly. Democrats need not apply.
  • So in doing research to see if this was real I stumble upon Donnie Beaver's Twitter Handle: Growing in Christ, Adore my wife, kids & grandson, Conserving Trout Streams for Future Generations.  When coupled with his business model, that last part seems to imply that conservation is only for those willing to pay between $19,500 and $50,000 for membership to those said "Trout Streams".
  • The whole Homewaters Vail operation seems to be going thru a bit of a restructuring though it's difficult to tell where Homewaters ends and other Beaver operations begin.  “Members should experience very minimal negative impact, if any."
  • Apparently, according to a testimonial by Ed Karlik, you can catch "native Browns" in Pennsylvania. See, money can buy anything including the establishment of native status outside one's native range. I love money.
    From Homewaters Testimonials

    UPDATE: Unconfirmed rumors are that the nineteen foot "native brown" was taken using a worm. It clearly doesn't "count".

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    On the Stream

    Vigorous Wild Brown on a stream hidden in plain view
    This weekend I managed to spend more hours than I could possibly have hoped for on a small stream near the house. There's part of me that would have liked to have spent all those hours fishing, but I didn't. Don't be too quick to weep, I fished, but I also spent time working with TU to assess the health of the stream by sampling the macroinvertebrates and I also spent a few hours strolling in and along the stream taking pictures and playing with the video camera.

    It's going to take a bit to sort through the video to see if there's any gold there and I promise to tell a bit more about the macroinvertebrate sampling later this week. But the fishing, there's time to write a bit about the fishing.

    The day started with the bug sampling (that's the technical term) and after about four hours of wading around the stream sorting stoneflies from caddis from mayflies I did ache to cast a rod. We sample in the riffles and all those lovely pools below them dance and glide alluringly.

    One particular stream that Sam and I sampled was one I hadn't fished in quite some time. I also had not fished this upper stream in years. This good section requires a bit of doing to access or a long walk from the parking lot. In the slim periods that are usually reserved for fishing I normally don't have the willpower to pass the poorer water to head up to this stretch.  It's a few good runs with lots of pockets and plunges in between. It was time to reacquaint myself.

    Fall days on the water are a special treat. If you can catch the foliage in full splendor so much the better but the shortening days and cool air keep most anglers from the water. That's the special charm, a bit of solitude.

    Trouty pockets
    Coming back to the water in later afternoon the only person I met was a dog walker with a inquisitive but non-swimming yellow Lab; the best kind. I started working upstream. I put a BH Hot Spot Hare's Ear below a Irresistible Adams and worked some pockets and small eddies. The Adams was impossible to see in the heavy water so I added a bit of strike putty above the fly so that I could at least get an indication of where it was.

    The first fish came quickly. It gave a good tug and a few leaps. The thing unhooked itself but not before I saw the bright orange belly of a Brook Trout. This stream used to be known (you know, one of those secrets that wasn't much of a secret) as a good Brook Trout spot but an oil spill and a couple of dry summers during the past decade stressed those poor fish so that they're more of a footnote in this brook's history. But fish early was a good sign; I hoped for more.

    I spent an hour working about a quarter mile of water and managed a handful of nice Browns and as many tugs that took a lesson from the first Brookie and parted ways before we even met. It worked out so that there was about one fish in each spot you'd expect to find them and if I missed the fish I'd move on.

    Another Brown falls for the Hot Spot Hares Ear
    There's a place where the river take a good turn and heads into thicker cover that makes casting a bear. It's good water to fish but I was looking for low frustration fishing and with a nine foot rod would have spent a bunch of time playing the trees instead of trout so I moved back downstream of the car and fished back up.

    There are four longs runs in this section and the fishing remained good. Another handful of Browns, a few Dace and a fine cigar came to the net. All the Browns were more than eight inches or so which is a very healthy and large fish for such a small stream.

    I was pleased to see so many healthy Browns. It was sad not to have caught any Brookies, as they're my favorite of all trout shaped fish, but I was glad to see that this wild trout stream actually had wild trout. I sure enjoy catching stocked trout as much as the next guy but knowing there are wild trout out there gives me hope that humanity might just have a chance.

    And another

    I refer to this as No Fish Pool. It's not an ironic name.

    I swear, there was a trout here a moment ago. See his tail slipping between my fingers.
    Brookie Pool (though not this time. This time it was Dace and Brown Pool)

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    f2.8 vs f11

    I took those fly tying desk pictures on Thursday early in the morning in very low light without a flash. Wide aperture. 2.8. Shallow depth of field. I'm a bit of a 2.8 junky but I wondered what the pics would look like with more depth of field and lacking a Lytro and it's Light Field Engine I decided to take two more pics at 2.8 and f11 to see which I'd like better.

    Results below. I still prefer the 2.8 (top photo) with it's shallow depth of field but the f11 has some appeal too. Some of those details, the Wooley Bugger, the Killer Caddis bead tins, get lost a 2.8. But I still like it. Trompe l'oeil it ain't.

    Both images were focused on the front edge of the upright spool of Chartreuse wire.

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Estaz Dizcovery

    Introduzing the San Estaz WurmTM, the Estaz Urth WurmTM, and the Estaz HellzgrammiteTM


    San Estaz Wurm

    Estaz Hellzgrammite

    Estaz Urth Wurm

    Love, don't hate.

    Do you think I've spent too much time with the Estaz?

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Hitting the sauce

    From a favorite internet discussion forum.

    A civil conversation related to a book takes an odd turn. A guy, let's call him Jon (not that Jon, another one. Yes, there's two.), says that he might learn something from sitting and having a beer with a particular writer with the initials J.G.

    At that, two others, who are generally friendly and always snarky, chime in.

    Writer #1: Like how to spell John?

    Writer #2: Back on the sauce?

    Writer #1: So a guy drinks a little too much Scotch, bourbon and beer, plays "Dueling Banjos" badly, then makes love to a small oak sapling, and you just can't let it go, can you? As if you've never done the exact same thing... [I was there, but I don't recall the violation of the oak]

    Writer #2: I prefer Maple

    Writer #1: You say that now, but wait until you've had a fine piece of Ash.

    It's not the fishing that make this sport great, it's the places you go and the people you meet while sitting around the fire burning Prosek.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    See where they'll dig the pit

    Head over to the National Geographic website and catch Robert Glenn Ketchum's  pictures of the landscape around where the Pebble Mine will be dug.

    The photo above shows the mine site. Replace all that stuff that you see above with a pit three thousand feet deep.

    Now that's an improvement on God's work!

    You can support those who oppose the mine by give to Save Bristol Bay.

    Scenes from the tying desk

    I was staring at the tying desk this morning before the daily grind of conference calls started. There's actually a bit of poetry to the layers and chaos of scraps and materials on the desk. I thought I'd share. As you can see, estaz has been a key ingredient recently. Fifteen days until the Steel.

    Estaz, Estaz, Estaz, & McFlyFoam

    The thing that binds it all together

    Okay, I admit it, I have a wire problem.

    Rabbit, Estaz & McFlyFoam. What could be better?

    For my little friends in Pulaski

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Quick Sips: Late Edition

    This should probably be titled the Quick Sips: Mike Sepelak Edition. Reading a bit over lunch, I realized a couple more items should have made it into today's Quick Sips.
    • Go read this. When OBN held their TU writing contest I thought I stood a chance (you may recall I didn't even garner an honorable mention) until I read Mike's stuff. He's got talent and displays it again in his most recent story.
    • Another piece Mike wrote yesterday was about how time is relative. He cited how time slows in those moments when your foot slips whilst wading and you know you're going for a swim; been there. I have just the opposite experience when nymph fishing. When I hook a fish while nymphing I can rarely recall the take; that dodge or dip in the indicator. Dry fly takes replay themselves endlessly in slow motion all the time. But for nymphing, it's as if my brain fast forwards past that event right to the tight line and the shake of a trout. Strange.
    • Outdoor Blogger Network's Birthday -- yeah, that's where I first encountered Mike's writing (fie on him). They're a year old this week. My curmudgeonly self wants to dismiss the whole thing as a front for marketeers and sales guys trying to make quota. But their partnership with TU on the Montana event (which I did not win) and recently on the Bristol Bay writing prompt redeem them. They're still working on the model but I think the blend of Sales & Marketing (you have to pay the bills), community, and partnerships like TU are going in the right direction. Who knows, maybe a split shot review opportunity will come up and I can shill for Thill.

    "....shill for Thill..." I crack myself up.

    Quick Sips: Ordnance & Tchotchkes

    • Tom provides a video of explosive aided dam removal on the Elwha. Of course, this is in line with my previous point of view on dam removal. Tom has pre-announced the formation of the Take 'Em Out with B-17s Foundation. Look for details in the near future. If anyone knows someone with a B-17 and other surplus ordnance, please contact either of us.
    • You may have missed this, but I was recently recognized for my contributions to the Orvis Company. Instead of a citing my many accomplishments* and hosting a banquet and presenting me with a martial arts-sized trophy, they opted for randomly selecting my name from a list of commenters on their website and sending me an Orvis Wool Blend Beer Cozy. Very understated in an Orvis LifestyleTM  sort of way.
    Forget the cozy, I scored a Phil Monahan

    *Well, there were in fact no accomplishments. But that's just quibbling.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    There's no tonic like the Housatonic

    Cause there's so much PCBs
    and mercury in the water.
    GE: Imagination at work
    The stress of urgent tasks was just the opposite of what I was pursuing on Saturday yet that's precisely what I felt as I drove north. I had forgotten my cell phone which required a twenty minute detour to retrieve.  But still, the emotion was wholly unjustified. I had plenty of time for the task; it was just past noon and I wasn't due back until shortly before seven.

    For much of the drive up Route 7 a white van ahead of me just couldn't go fast enough. I urged it to turn off at every opportunity. It's broad back obstructed the view of the road ahead. It was as if that thing that I was chasing was just beyond; constantly moving ahead just out of sight. When the van turned off half an hour later the road ahead was finally clear. The thing finally felt closer; within reach.

    Leaves didn't show a preference
    for black or yellow.
    The Housatonic sparkled through fall foliage browned past peak. The strobe of glimpses through bank-side trees beat shadows on the dashboard. The occasional laggard Sugar Maple or Poplar jazzed up the scene with brilliant reds and yellows but I was mostly focused on the water. The gauge said it was running at 1,400. The water showed that it was running at perfection. Solid. Wild. But not too wild.

    I had received a solid tip on a section of water that was fishing well. I hadn't fished that section before though it was just a bit upstream from a section that Jonny and I have a habit, perhaps a tradition, of fishing last on our Thanksgiving trip. Yellow streamers. Large Prince Nymphs. Rainbows. That was the word so that's what I fished.

    I have a 150 grain sinking line that is a great pair with my 5 weight. It used to be a bit of a bear to cast but since perfecting improving my double haul in Alaska I could now cast it well even with a yellow marshmallow* and a black zonker at the end of the leader.

    A very wet and chewed Marshmallow
    The first pool gave me a Brown quickly -- maybe the third cast -- and a meaty Rainbow shortly thereafter. Both took the yellow fly. Then nothing for about a half hour. I went back to the bank to rig up a nymph rod and was interrupted by the arrival of the circus. Guide and video star Aaron Jasper arrived with what was eventually about half a dozen folks and a drift boat. The camera guys took up residence in the best place to wade and fish so I moved downstream.

    A stocked Rainbow fell for the yellow.
    Between where I started and the next pull-off there is about three hundred yards of water. Three long runs with pocket water or riffles in between. Most anglers fish the water with twenty yards or so of the pull-off. I'm not sure if these anglers are lazy or if they're just habituated to walking into water and standing still. I walked upstream about two-thirds of the way back the the last pulloff and scrambled down the steep bank. 

    My first Smallmouth in the Housy
    I swung and stripped the two fly rig back downstream over the next few hours. It was easy fishing and the catching was pretty good too. It was likely my best day of streamer fishing ever. I had short strikes, fish on briefly and a mixed bag of Rainbows and Browns to the net. Two might have pushed sixteen inches with the rest between that and ten inches. I even managed a small Smallmouth. True to the tip I got most of the fish came on the yellow fly but the black fly got action as well.

    When I counted the days since I'd last put a fish in the net I was surprised to see how many it was. I'm often in denial about how often I fish. Ann keeps a better count though I suspect over counts a bit as she does when she counts the length of my business trips. Between the two of us we probably have a count that's about right and by most measures I'm lucky to get out as often as I do. But that count of forty days was surprising. Life has been busy.

    Summer ended quickly and Fall is already steaming aggressively ahead. It seems as if just the other day I was commenting that the leaves hadn't changed and now they're accumulating on the lawn at an astonishing rate. The natural world seems to be racing as quickly as my professional and private life. But as the stream bed slows the water, the press of the current and the rhythm of our sport slows my pace. 

    On days such as this I can look up and notice the unnoticeable. I marvel at an impossibly large Maple leaf wafting to a gentle landing on the water; a small pram sailing seaward. And then am jerked into the most immediate present as a another spotted and striped therapist tugs on my line. 

    I'm counting days again. Hopefully the count will be low.

    The hills must have been colorful before they went brown.

    A small stream that just begs to be hiked
    and fished. Logged for my next trip.

    The Aaron Jasper Traveling Menagerie

    *This is a fly I tie. It's an "original" pattern meaning that I cooked it up one evening while sitting at the vice. It's all marabou; they whole thing. I put a nice fish head with an eye on the front. I'm sure others have cooked this up in the past

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    For you Salt Pond Anglers

    Be careful out there. The Stripers aren't the only ones swimming in those waters.

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Quick Sips: & Christmas

    • By the time you read this, I will be standing in moving water. Strike broken!
    • You got here so this really doesn't affect anything but I've changed the URL for the site from the blogger version to just plain old If you have a blog that has a link to this site it should still work. That said, if you have a minute to update the URL, please do so. I bet those pesky search engines care about such stuff.
    • I know you like to shop early. You may purchase this, for me, for Christmas
    • The origins of Tenkara (via Troutrageous)
    • F-cube: Fishing Fashion Forward.

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Nothing is over until we decide it is!

    [Chris W. enters the Delta Tau Chi TU Chapter meeting. Chapter members are laying about. Bobbins swing slowly under vises, half finished Vladi Worms clamped in their jaws. Bamboo rods are stacked in the corner. Jonny absentmindedly snaps a Tenkara rod open and closed.]

    Chris W: Hey! What's this lying around shit?
    Steve Z: Well, what the hell we s'posed to do, you moron?
    Jonny: War's over, man. Pebble Mine Limited Partnership dropped the big one.
    Chris W: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
    Jonny: Germans?
    T.J.: Forget it, he's rolling.
    Chris W: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough... [pauses to remember the rest of the phrase] ...the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go! [runs out, alone; then returns]
    Chris W: What the eff happened to the anglers I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? This could be the greatest fight of our lives, but you're gonna let it be the worst! "Ooh, Alaska is way over there, Chris, and they're a big powerful company with dirtball politicians backing them." Well, just kiss my butt from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this! Hedge fund financiers, dead men! Lazy regulators, dead! Pebble Limited Partnership—
    Jonny: Dead! Chris' right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires we write politicians, that we fund organizations like Save Bristol Bay and that we join organizations like Trout Unlimited. And, if necessary, we do a really futile and stupid gesture on somebody's part.
    Chris W: And we're just the guys to do it.
    Jonny: Let's do it.
    Chris W: LET'S DO IT!!

    Eat me Pebble Mine
    I've fished the Kvichak River. I've roamed the tundra near where Pebble Mine will be dug. This land is stunningly beautiful in it's wildness. Tens of thousands of square miles of tundra dotted with countless ponds. Sagebrush. Willow. Ptarmigan. Moose. Elk. Bear. Rainbow Trout. Grayling. Pike. Humans.

    And everything is tied to the biomass brought into this environment each year by the legendary Salmon runs. During the height of the run 600,000 Sockeye Salmon enter the watershed each day. And that's only the Kvichak River's contribution. And those Sockeye need the tiny tributaries for spawning.

    Pebble Mine will dig a pit two miles wide and several thousand feet deep smack in the middle of those spawning grounds.

    On this map you can see where the pictures below
    were taken.

    This is not a place where a big hole in the ground belongs much less all the poisons that such an industrial enterprise will create.

    It must be stopped.

    Go to Save Bristol Bay's website and learn more. Help organizations such as them and Trout Unlimited by advocating on behalf of this fishery, its people and its wildlife.

    Clearing Storm on the Kvichak River. This is about 30
    miles from where the mine will be.
    Tony expressing the joy and wonder of being up on the tundra

    A quick video of some Salmon I saw (and caught) this past September. If Pebble Mine screws up, these are the fish and fisheries that die. Forever.

    Thanks to the Outdoor Blogger Network for suggesting this topic and to Kirk for inspiring me to break my strike and chime in. Now I'm back on strike. See y'all after the fishing.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    I'm on strike.

    I'm on strike.

    You can't write a fly fishing blog unless you actually fly fish and I can't subject you to anymore mindless drivel about not fishing.

    I haven't caught a fish in 40 days. I fished only once, half heartedly for about two hours, during that period. The trip was rushed and no balm for the itchy mental rash that comes from too much time away from moving water. Life's been busy, it's rained more in those forty days than it normally does all year, but for the love of God, this must not stand!

    Saturday afternoon is my target for a trip to the Housy. Ideally, my next post will have a picture of a freshly caught trout and a few humble words about the experience. At a minimum it's going to have some stellar pictures of fishy water and fall foliage.

    If you can't wean yourself of my inanity, subscribe to my twitter feed over there ------------->

    End of message.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    The Orvis Post

    First round
    Okay, I know I was supposed to finish Tin-a-palooza today with my field test of the various and sundry split shot but that will have to wait for tomorrow.* I got something cool in the mail that warrants comment.

    This evening I had a few errands to run between the end of a day filled with conference calls and a late call with Malaysia. While I drove about I listened to Tom's latest podcast on casting to difficult trout. A real gem of a podcast. I get something from most of his work but this one had a bit more than normal. I've fished for those impossible to catch trout before and while I probably won't fish for them again soon, at least I can dream about throwing a upstream pile cast to a finicky fish. Well worth the listen though most of you probably already listen in.
    Quote of the Podcast: "I should be thrashed with a Tenkara Rod." Any volunteers?

    The best tip I got from this one: If you need to shorten your leaders a bit, cut back the butt section instead of the tippet.
    So I didn't write this post to sing the praises of Tom's podcast but I'm rarely disappointed.

    On to the main show.

    With Orvis on the brain as I walked into the house, I found a box waiting for me in my office. Last week I received several small packages with Steelhead teasing materials and hooks but I thought I had already received everything I ordered so I wasn't expecting anything. And besides, nothing that I had ordered would come in such a large box.

    The label said Millbrook, NY and there's only one thing in Millbrook, NY that rings a bell: Sandanona.

    Each year in mid-September we go to the Orvis Cup. My buddy Ross started the tradition and the only year we missed it was when he was in Iraq and Afghanistan. We don't shoot the main event (cause we're not that good) but we shoot the course the day before and have a blast ogling fine weapons, watching hunting dog demos, and generally basking in the "Orvis lifestyle".**

    My son Chris shot the course for the first time this year and did very well. He shot 47 which isn't too far from my normal score. Ross and Heather also posted solid scores and so we expected to take home our scorecards and put them on the fridge.

    As we left the course the range officer asked for our scorecards. We demurred. She insisted. And in an uncommon fit of accommodation we handed in our cards. Much disappointed we headed home.

    That evening, I shot them an email explaining we were disappointed about having to leave the scorecards behind. I'm not sure what I expected but the response was nothing short of amazing.

    On Monday I received an email acknowledging receipt of my email and a promise to follow-up. Later in the day I got an voicemail from Peggy Long, the General Manager of Sandanona. She and I later spoke. She apologized for the "score sheet police", noted that she had found our scorecards and if I provided a mail address she would send them to us.

    They arrived today. Professionally framed. Way beyond expectations.

    The truest measure of people (and companies) is rarely assessed when everything is going right. It's what they bring to the game when things go wrong that you see their real quality.

    One friend gives me good natured ribbing that I'm a walking wading commercial for Orvis. There's a reason they get my business. Now they'll get my son's too.

    * I can hear Jonny weeping softly lamenting the delay in my total transformation to Culvert.
    ** Is that the sound of Jonny wretching?

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Fall Weekend in New Hampshire

    We got up to the New Hampshire house this weekend. It's a small cottage that's been in the family since the end of the second World War. It's nothing grand but it is on a pond (that sadly doesn't fish well on account of fairly acidic water). The last time I was up at the cottage was in April. We've had a water problem -- it stunk to holy hell and tasted like rusty bolts -- for quite some time and we even replaced a fifty year old well to see if we could remedy it. No dice.

    Over the summer, we had a water treatment system put in and my parents mentioned that took care of things. We went up to check for ourselves. Mission accomplished.

    The hurricanes left their marks on the local streams and any road that crosses those streams. The streams seem to be on the mend. They're back in their banks and acting normal. Fortunately, New Hampshire didn't adopt the asinine policies of Vermont and New York. There folks are allowed to just dig up streams without a permit; fixing what they believe mother nature cannot. The roads need more work but all of the small, dirt roads we drove were at least passable.

    Color has come to the hills though they seem muted this year.

    Morning on the Pond I

    Morning on the Pond II

    On the Water

    Boys on the Pond

    There's a rail trail that runs along about three miles of the Sugar River. The boys are both getting over colds so our walk wasn't too long but we did cross a number of old trestles and ran into a few folks fly fishing. Streamers were the ticket; one guy swore by black, another chartreuse.

    The rail trail is designed for use by ATVs, snowmobiles and self-propelled humans. It was great to see that all the side trails were marked by stop signs and large signs warning that ATVs and snowmobiles weren't allowed up them. We're not fans of ATVs but it was cool to see that the state had made an investment to provide ATVers with a place to ride while at the same time protecting habitat (especially stream habitat) from their deprivations.

    Of course, all these good feelings were totally destroyed as six guys came riding along the rail trail  and took a sharp turn up a side trail driving past the stop and warning signs. People shouldn't be allowed to buy an ATV unless they own land upon which to ride it. Someone who doesn't own land but owns an ATV is by definition a trespasser (save for those few who simply want to display the ATV in their living rooms as objets d'art).

    A local enforcement official I know once had the following conversation with an ATV rider.

    LEO: You're not supposed to ride this on town land. It's posted. You're trespassing.

    ATV: So where am I supposed to ride my ATV?

    LEO: On your own land

    ATV: I don't own land.

    This is where the person should have gotten the bitch slap. If you don't have a place to ride the damn thing, why'd you buy it?

    Unfortunately ATV trespass isn't even a misdemeanor. I'd neuter the fuckers. I think there should be higher penalties.

    Swinging Streamers, Sugar River

    Sugar River Bridge

    Sugar River Bridge Detail


    One of the great pleasures of being at the house in New Hampshire is that it's a whole lot more unplugged than when we're anywhere else. A decade ago the place really was unplugged. POTS. No cell service. You could really get away. Today there's cell antennas on the microwave tower on the next ridge line and satellite TV at the house and now internet though it's unreliable and damn slow.

    Even though we're not unplugged there's plenty of things to do that don't revolve around electronics. Mostly it's rambling around the countryside or paddling about on the pond. It was great to see the boys indulging in those things sans electronics.

    Simple Pleasures

    Sam and I did some fishing on the pond on Saturday evening. There are a few spots that generally yield a small bass or two but we got nary a bump. It's been a while since we did any serious bass fishing so perhaps were just rusty. At least that's my story.

    So, we're back at home. I've been ignoring the growing layer of leaves but at some point I'm going to have to face reality. Welcome to Fall.

    So it begins. Where's my rake?