Category Archives: Family

Echo Lake Weekend

Last weekend James and I had a weekend of “bachin'” it while Mel was out of town so we decided on a father-son fishing weekend.   Mel had the grocery-getter and I wanted low range to “walk” that last half mile of ugly road to Echo Lake so I called in the ol’ Dodge…
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The spot I really wanted is currently an island since the lake is so high but this spot worked out great too…20180519_eagle_echo_blog_0002

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Took less than a hour to set the ‘pod up and get the ‘yaks splashed.   At that point, it took less than 15 minutes to get our first double hookup…good start…20180519_eagle_echo_blog_0003

On our lunch/beer break the first day, we met our only camp neighbor, Jim and his really cool Carolina dog (AKA American Dingo) Carmen.  Jim’s an interesting fellow with lots of worldly experience he don’t mind talking about…
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Jim asked us to get him some dinner and this was no issue at all…the brookie fishing was red hot…20180519_eagle_echo_blog_0005

Slayin’ all the fish on day 1 really worked up an appetite so I busted out the 10″ oven and whipped up a batch of prison food20180519_eagle_echo_blog_0010

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Our nation’s symbol, the bald-ass buzzard, cruised by looking for HIS dinner too…20180519_eagle_echo_blog_0011

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Life was good relaxing by a hot fire sipping a homebrew while James did a bit of bank fishing…20180519_eagle_echo_blog_0017

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Carmen decided to “help” James land one…I decided to add further “help” by grabbing some phone video….half a dozen homebrews probably helped with the amusement…..

Carmen’s NEVER sat by a fire, has she?  (she spent more time in our camp than she did in her dad’s)…20180519_eagle_echo_blog_0018

The next morning was a tad brisk but beautiful.   Life is good when the ‘yaks are already rigged and ready to go…20180520_eagle_echo_blog_0019

James tried to stick one while I had my coffee…. 20180520_eagle_echo_blog_0020

The ol’ girl walked us in and, equally importantly back OUT!20180520_eagle_echo_blog_0021

Just gettin’ out in nature is awesome. Slayin’ some fairly decent little brooks is a sweet bonus…here’s about half our fish condensed into a little over 5 minutes…It was an epic weekend for sure!!!

Riverbend Trail (last day of “vacation”)

Well, I’ve been on “vacation” for the last week.  My “vacation” has consisted of running a chainsaw, burning brush (from the aforementioned chainsaw), and getting a somewhat feeble start on building a fence.  I go back to work tomorrow and figured I better get at least ONE day of R&R on my week off (don’t feel too sorry for me; I only go back to work for 3 weeks before having 2 more weeks off, some of which will be really cool R&R, but I digress).  Not many better ways to spend the last day of “vacation” than  with my lovely daughter on a short spring hike.  She suggested Riverbend Trail near Red Bluff.  It is a nice little loop of about 5 miles without too many steep hills (good for me since I’ve put on plenty of beer weight this winter).

It didn’t take long to figure out the wildflower bloom is kickin’ at that elevation.  The lupines on the lower end of the trail were especially pretty…20170410_riverbend-hike_blog_0011

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The trail is pretty easy but it is composed of lots of lava rock so I’d advise good shoes and watching one’s step…20170410_riverbend-hike_blog_0013

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Pretty nice view once you reach the “top” (not like it’s some great summit you climb…the entire trail consists of a few  hundred feet of elevation change tops)…20170410_riverbend-hike_blog_0001

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Also at the top is this cool sign that says some stuff about Jedediah Smith that I may actually read next time I head up…
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We thought we’d head up on this little rock to kick back for a few minutes…
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However, the aforementioned lava rock attacked me (note to self, put a small first aid kit in the camera bag)…
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….nevermind…found the first aid kit….CHEERS!…
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The walk back down was pretty as well (unfortunately some ugly power lines DO detract from some of the scenery)…20170410_riverbend-hike_blog_0009

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Not a bad little jaunt!  Time for a couple more of those nice Hop Valley brews to close out this “vacation.”

CHEERS, PROST, PROOST, ZIGGY SOCKY!

Sierra Buttes Lookout

Well, Carly and I finally made this hike, which I have been meaning to do for 2 or 3 years.  Unfortunately, there is smoke on the horizon in pretty much all directions right now (’tis that time of year.  Thoughts and prayers to those who battle these blazes!).  Therefore, the views up on top weren’t as epic as I’m sure they can be.  Smoke or no smoke, it was still an amazing hike!  I was only able to narrow the images down to about 45 (I shot 186 and Carly grabbed some with her GoPro) so bear with me.

We got to the area a bit early so we stopped by Packer Lake to take a gander.  It is one of many pretty little lakes in the area…
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Yep.  That little house up there is where we’re going!  What have we gotten ourselves in to?…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_012

Gaining a little ground but already huffin’ and puffin’ and still a good way to go…DCIM188GOPROG0420727.

Just an incredibly scenic hike, all the way up…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_015

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There are several “teaser” looks at the lookout, just to keep you wondering what you were thinking!… 20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_024

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The breaks certainly got more frequent, the farther we got.  Carly lives at 500 foot elevation.  SEVENTY five and ultimately EIGHTY five hundred weren’t her favorites!…

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One of the treats of this hike is the frequent views of these three lakes.  Closest to farthest in this view are Young America, Upper Sardine, and Lower Sardine Lakes…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_022

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This sign, literally translated, means, you still have a ways to go…lol…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_025

Finally getting close.  At about this point, I told Carly, “Oh, by the way, there are 200 spooky stairs to climb at the end.”  This is the first glimpse at those stairs…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_033

Just about…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_035

Great view from near the base of the stairs…shows the smokiness in the air though…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_034

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Just a cool rusty old tank below the base of the tower…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_031

Time to head up!…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_037

Definitely, not for those with height phobias.  If the stairs aren’t enough, you get to walk on expanded metal at the top…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_038

Judging from the fairly modern stove and fridge, I’d say it was in use not all that many years ago…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_039

Absolutely spectacular views and I got 4 bars on my phone so I could check in on Facebook while up there…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_032

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Gotta have your nourishment! (and take plenty of water!)…DCIM188GOPROG0430778.

Yep, Carly loved the stairs (Don’t worry.  They’re only slightly more scary on the decent than the accent)…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_040

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We were treated to some wonderful “golden hour” light and a rising moon on our decent…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_043

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We made it back to the grocery-getter just in time for the end of a beautiful sunset (one advantage of all that smoke, I suppose)…

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I certainly want to try this one one more time in some crisp, clean air (which may be easier said than done as the fires could start pretty much any second after the snow melts off the trail). But it was a wonderful hike and we’re only a little sore today! If you’re a hiker and haven’t done it you need to add it to your “to do” list!

If you’re interested there are pretty good directions on how to get there available from All Trails HERE.

Josh, over at California Through My Lens, has a great post related to this hike as well.  It can be found HERE.  His blog is worthy of a look/subscription for lots of other great recreational/travel ideas around the state as well!

 

 

 

2016 – Hot August Nights

Melanie flew into Reno on the evening of August 2.  I figured we’d be remiss if we didn’t walk at least one show and shine while we were in town.  By the time we got to the Atlantis parking lot the light was fading so it was tough to get good photos (on-camera flash is no fun!) but I salvaged a few snapshots from our stroll.  Melanie’s son-in-law Tarrick is a VW guy so I grabbed a couple of them…

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Her former co-worker Jim is a Nova guy so I kept my eye out for Novas and Chevy II’s..

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…and just stuff I thought was generally cool like this ’56 F-600 (more on it here)…
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or this badass Willys..20160802_Hot August Nights_Blog_0080008000080008

Gotta appreciate the work some folks put into these vehicles, even under the hood…

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One of the current photo challenges on Pixoto is themed “American Cars” (CLICK) and another is just “Chevys.” (CLICK)  This very well done ’57 Bel-Aire made me think of both of them…

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However, I didn’t like the background clutter so I took a bit of “artistic license,” AKA screwing around in Photoshop and came up with this composite…

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Not sure how it will fare in the contest but it was fun, none-the-less!

All in all, it was a nice way to spend an evening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Montana Trip – Part 3 (The Main Mission)

As noted earlier, the main mission for my trip was to spread mom’s ashes.  She always wanted to move to Montana and set up a little mini-ranch.  She also always had a fascination with the Milk River and asked that her ashes be scattered where it returns to the US from Canada.  The river originates in Montana, goes northeast into Alberta, then returns to Montana on the prairie north of Havre.  In doing research for the trip, I found that there was a great deal of access to the river from Fresno Reservoir, just north of Havre, downstream.  However, access north of the lake is not the easiest to achieve.  With the help of Google Earth and my trusty GPS I was able to find a single 10 mile dirt road leading to a bridge over the river, 14 miles south of the Canadian line.  Here are some shots of the site.  I think she’d approve…

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While walking back to the car, this little bird (a sandpiper of some type that I already forgot the name of) was buzzing right around my head.  If I was the superstitious type or a native American, I may have read more into it, but it was stirring, nonetheless…

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Janet Diane Lee

4/28/1946-10/27/2015

Gone but not forgotten.  Rest in Peace.

Butt Lake Boat Ride

Took one more shot at fishing the hex hatch last night with my gal.  It ended up being more of a scenic ride than a fishing trip.

This little gal seemingly followed us along the bank for an hour or so…20160628_Butt Lake_Blog_005   20160628_Butt Lake_Blog_004

One of these days I’m going to get a decent shot of an eagle.  However, they always seem to show themselves when I don’t have a camera, the light is too low (as in this case), or any number of other “wrong” situations for photos.  I got a couple fair snapshots of this one though, considering I couldn’t get any shutter speed and the boat was bouncing a bit at the time…
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As to the fishing, the hex didn’t really start hatching until it was damn near too dark to see.  Mel had never seen them really popping though so she did get to see the spectacle before we left at least. Earlier in the afternoon, she got one little smallmouth trolling a crankbait (she then trolled the smalley for a bit, not knowing he was still there), I got about a 3 pound rainbow trout (on another bass crankbait) after it was too dark for usable video, and I got this damn thing which was a fun fight until I realized what it was (he’s lucky I didn’t have a knife handy or I would have fed him to the damn eagle…lol)…

Any way you slice it, it was a wonderful evening with my gal!

Butt Lake Hex Hatch

Yesterday was the full moon on the summer solstice.  That doesn’t happen too often.  What should one do to commemorate it?  Go check out the hexagenia hatch on Butt Lake of course!  I took the boy for a father/son boat ride.  We started fishing around 5pm, fighting the up-lake wind that seems to happen in summer afternoons on that lake.  Caught one dink smallmouth not worthy of a photo while the sun was out.  However, as hoped, the lake laid down as the sun got low and those big ol’ mayflies started showing themselves.  We’d prepared for it earlier in the day by tying some marabou jigs to fish under floats (I think bass-fishers call it “float and fly”).  I missed more than I hooked (I think there were some smallish fish in the area doing “drive-bys”) but the spectacle is always fun to watch and I did stick a couple fish…

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When the float went down again I figured I’d let the boy do battle with one…

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But the boy’s first hex hatch smallmouth was sort of funny lookin’…

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Shortly after this fish it got tough to see our bobbers so we watched that big ol’ moon rise over the lake and headed back to the ramp.

Great outing with my boy!

Koke Fishin’

I took James down to Redding this past weekend to, among other things, mooch a guided fishing trip from gramma and grandpa.  The mooching paid off and we found some good kokanee trolling on Whiskeytown.

The trip also provided an opportunity for me to test the towing capacity on my new grocery-getter.  Grandpa’s boat weighs in at 3500 pounds or so on the trailer and my baby SUV pulled it nicely…

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The fish were biting well as most boats in the area were catching fish.  That, combined with the fact that Ernie is absolutely the Kokanee Killer, and it didn’t take long before James was wearing his arms out…

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After the first dozen or so, the skipper DID finally let us deckhands reel in a few….

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Grandpa’s boat is faster than dad’s, as you can see by the kid’s hair…

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Now, time for the work to begin.  There’s only room at THAT table for 2.  I had to stand back taking pictures and drinking beer (I figured it was the least I could do)!…

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I can do this but I’m at about a 3 fish per hour pace.  They would have rotted by the time I was done!

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Looks like dinner…

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Here is a video for anyone interested.  The GoPro was running for 3 hours.  I trimmed it down to 13 minutes.  If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, the “meat and potatoes” (or, at least the meat) starts right at the 10 minute mark…

 

Mother’s Day Dinner

I decided to take my gal out to dinner for Mother’s Day last night but I wanted to go to a more exclusive dining locale than Susanville has to offer.  The Smoke Creek area seemed just the place!  On the way to our “restaurant” we almost ran over this critter (Mel saw it. I never even noticed as I drove by…lol)…20160508_Smoke Creek Drive_Blog_004

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Upon stopping we noticed he/she had a friend (or mate?) in the weeds…

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After we harassed them for a bit, this one decided it was time to fly the coop…

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After we drove on for a bit, we saw these jackasses (LOL) standing next to the road…

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We also saw a small group of pronghorns and a badger (first time either of us had seen one in the wild) that we didn’t get pics of.

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Mike and Mel table for two!…

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Between the rain and the recent fire in the area stimulating alot of new growth, the desert is as pretty as I’ve seen it in years…

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(As usual, you can click any images above to see them larger)