Kings Creek Falls – An Evening Stroll

Well, the plan yesterday WAS to go hike to the Sierra Buttes Lookout with my daughter.  Unfortunately, life happens and she had to postpone.  Hopefully that epic hike will happen before the summer is out.  Needing a Plan B to get some “nature therapy,” and not having a great deal of time, I decided to hike into Kings Creek Falls in Lassen Park.  It is one of my favorite places in the park and I wasn’t super pleased with the last photos I took there.

I’m going to employ a little “artistic license” with this post.  I wanted to make sure to get there in time to set up the camera so I took no photos on the hike TO the falls.  However, it would seem a bit anti-climactic if I put the falls pics ahead of the trail pics so I’m going to put the shots of the hike OUT before the main subject…

The trail-head starts right next to Kings Creek, which you cross at a pretty little meadow if you’re coming from the south (SR36) entrance…
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It is definitely a pretty walk with very diverse landscapes considering it is only a couple miles…20160801_2016-8.1_Kings Creek Falls_Blog_014

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I call this the “falls before the falls.”  Just a pretty little spot on the creek…20160801_2016-8.1_Kings Creek Falls_Blog_002

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The park folks are doing alot of work to this area.  Indeed, the most direct trail to the falls is closed until 2018.  One has to hike around on the “horse trail” to get to the falls.  It is a bit longer but quite scenic. When I was here 2 years ago there was an ugly old metal railing.  Looks like they have spruced it up a bit…20160801_2016-8.1_Kings Creek Falls_Blog_007

Ok, I guess it is about time to “land the plane” before this post gets too long.  I think this is one of the prettiest waterfalls in northern California.  Some day I hope to get truly excellent photos of it!  To make that happen I think I’ll have to hike in in the early morning dark and shoot it in the golden light of the morning sun.  In the evenings, the sun is low and behind the falls making it hard for me to properly expose the falls without turning the sky into an ugly white mass.  However, these shots illustrate the splendor of the place fairly well…

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(As always, clicking any image above will allow you to view it larger)

 

2016 Montana Trip – Part 4 (The Rest)

This is the catchall for the miscellany of the trip…

The Engels have really let the old house go…lol…20160714_Little House_001

This old church caught my eye on the way back to Havre…
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This is what is known as a heavily wooded area on the Montana prairie…20160715_Havre_Blog_001

Coeur d’Alene Lake from atop Mineral Ridge just above where I camped…20160711_144238

This barn adjacent to a canola field caught my eye… 20160714_115319

More funny Montana woods..20160714_143251

Fresno Reservoir just north of Havre.  Supposed to be a very good Walleye fishery…20160714_180548

I added a couple more pub pints to my collection…20160716_Home Drive_Misc_Blog_004

Yep.  Long drive…20160716_Home Drive_Misc_Blog_003

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.

2016 Montana Trip – Part 2 (Glacier)

On the morning of July 13, I got up and drove into Glacier National Park.  My plan was to launch my kayak at the north end of Lake McDonald, which sits just inside the west entrance, and fish for a bit before taking a drive.  However, the spot I planned to launch on the north end of the  lake was out of the question due to higher water than I expected to see in McDonald Creek.  I didn’t want to double back to the boat ramp at the south end so I just drove on, hoping to perhaps launch in Saint Mary Lake but the winds were too high once I got there so the kayak stayed atop the car (probably owing to the downpour that kept me awake in my tent all night as well). I did snap a few shots at McDonald falls just above the lake though.  It is difficult to access to photograph in its entirety but I did what I could.

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There is lots of moving water in the park.  As you might expect though most of the examples near the road are quite crowded at times…

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The Going to the Sun Road is the main drive through the park…according to the sign it is a nice drive…

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According to THIS sign there is a mountain in there somewhere (Going to the Sun Road was Going to the Clouds Road on this particular day)…

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Just your basic roadside waterfall…

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Just a few more views from the roadside…

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Last but not least, as I mentioned, that kayak never left the roof while I was in the park.  However, I DID get the bright idea to use it as a camera mount as I drove through the park.  The video below is the result.  I ended up having about 2 hours of footage so I trimmed it down and tried to sort of “time lapse” through some of it which got it down to a shade over 22 minutes.  Footage from a cheap action camera can’t do justice to the sheer splendor of the place but it gives a rough idea to anyone who hasn’t seen it.  Watch as much or as little as you’d like…

 

2016 Montana Trip – Part 1

Well, I just got back from a week on the road.  The primary mission of the trip was to spread my mom’s ashes, per her instructions in north central Montana (more on that in a later post).  I decided to work my way up there in pieces, camping at a couple locations along the way.  First stop was at Lake Coeur d’Alene where I camped at Beauty Creek Campground, near Beauty Bay.  It is a pretty little campground, with only 19 spaces.  I had a couple visitors in camp my first morning…

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After a couple evenings there, a wonderful visit and hike with a dear friend, it was time to move a few miles east.  My next stop was Flathead Lake where I camped near Bigfork Montana at Wayfarers State Park, near the north east part of the lake (which is huge).  I caught a great sunset the first night (well after 9pm at 48 degrees north latitude)…

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Of course, no trip would be complete without the shameless selfie…this was the best I could muster…

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The next day I took a little spin up the Swan River where I played a little peek-a-boo with this eagle (a GOOD eagle photo is still part of my bucket list)…

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I also took my kayak to a little lake called Echo Lake that was supposed to have good bass fishing but that only resulted me getting jostled around for a few hours by the endless stream of wakeboarders.  It was still a nice paddle and if I wasn’t so lazy I’d post a video clip.

As always, clicking any of the images above will allow you to view them larger.

More to follow from this little drive.

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)