Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just Kickin' It In CO

WHOA! That's a yellow-bellied marmot, also known as a whistle pig. Possibly one of the goofiest and unintelligent creatures in this region...

Monday, I returned to North Inlet, the stream we hiked past last week. I had high hopes of catching some brook trout, but this was not to be. I was rained on the whole time I fished, I didn't even get a bite. However, I did encounter some wild life.

The weather has been pretty wacky this past week. Cold, wind, rain, mud, even a snow shower with a bit of accumulation! It seemed to me as if May had returned. Morale around the ranch was sinking fast. Luckily the weather finally broke Monday afternoon. I was greeted with this rainbow as I returned to the ranch.

Today was great. I have been itching to get into Rocky Mountain National Park, and today I scratched that itch. I've been told of a couple lakes and streams that are worthy of exploration. I dropped fifty bones for the RMNP annual pass and we set out for the Haynach Lakes. A little over six miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead.

1.8 miles from the trailhead lies Big Meadow. Not a very original name, but very fitting. The trail took us around the edge of Big Meadow. The more we walked around it, the bigger it got. Big Meadow was pretty impressive!

Tonahutu Creek meanders for a ways through a meadow, providing what should be outstanding fishing. I would say one more month, and this area will be on fire! I will without a doubt be back through here. There are a couple sweet campsites in this area. This stretch is roughly around three miles from the trailhead.

We hiked past Granite Falls, about four miles in, and started to run into large patches of snow on the trail. We made it up to a higher meadow, and continued hiking until we unanimously agreed that walking in the snow was a pain in the ass. We were a a little over 5 miles in, SO CLOSE! We sat down on a log and ate some sandwiches in the middle of nowhere, pretty cool if you ask me. I feel like a jerk for not snapping a photo of the snow, just didn't occur to me. I believe the reason is that I'm sick of snow.

There was a very large Golden Eagle residing in this cliff. He was too fast for me to get a picture of.

This is Big Meadow on the return trip. Really impressive.


Ok, ok! They aren't Grizzly bears, but there are some damn big black bears prowling the ranch lately. Also, one confirmed mother with cubs. It seems as if everyone has had at least one run-in with our bears, and they are becoming more frequent. There are bear tracks of all sizes throughout the parking lot, and around the dumpster. The bears are also hanging out right behind the kitchen and MY PLACE. There were two encounters outside the kitchen this evening.

Four nights ago, I walked out onto my porch, looking down on the ranch. I turn around, and not 15 feet from me sat a VERY large, very unafraid black bear. He was completely silent, and had to have been there the whole time I was standing there. We finally shooed him away, but it seemed like we didn't bother him at all. That startled me.

Anyways, life is good. The rivers are starting to come down, and I'm prospecting every chance I get!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ah, Sweet Summertime!

Well folks,

It's been a while since the last report of happenings in MuddlerLand. With all the rain, mud, hail, thunder and lighting, moral had been sinking rather low.

Luckily, the weather has broken. We've had about a month of bright blue skies and warm temperatures. This has led to many opportunities of exploration as the snow recedes. The rivers as still high and muddy, but are starting to come down a little. Some predict we still haven't seen the worst of it, but I can not agree.

I've found a couple places that are fishable, though. I managed to get out a little over a week ago, and caught two fish in two days of fishing. The low number of fish was worth the effort I put into catching them. They were wild browns, something I haven't seen in a while. I had a few short strikes and a couple really big fish take a sniff at my streamer. I could see the fish coming up to eat my fly, it was really cool. The only solace I've had has been catching dumb, stocked rainbows in the pond. I do not knock any kind of fishing, but over a period of time stockers become rather mind numbing.

I have most definitely found other ways to entertain myself, aside from fishing. Yesterday, Tony, Raliegh, and I took a canoe trip across Monarch Lake. I will most certainly be doing more of this! I had been to Monarch before, and promised myself I would be back with a canoe. There are no motor vessels allowed on the lake. Monarch is as pristine as it gets, and we had a great time on a beautiful Colorado summer day!

We paddled across the lake and saw some cool waterfowl and enjoyed the sun. We pointed the canoe in the direction of a large dome shaped rock. We had to make a short passage into an oxbow to get there. We climbed to the top of the rock and were stunned by the beauty. After admiring the scenery for a minute, my stomach told me it was lunch time. So I descended the rock, bound for the subs in the canoe. We enjoyed a makeshift picnic of subs, apples, and powerbars.

I looked at the clouds and noticed a full rainbow surrounding the sun. I thought this was pretty cool!

I absolutely love this picture. We had to paddle clear across the lake directly into a stiff breeze. At this point, I was pretty glad I had Tony with me. We paddled towards two islands that helped to break the wind a bit. As we paddled between the islands, I could see lots of good bottom structure. I definitely want to come back and fish this little gem. But I'll have to ask the right person to borrow the boat next time. I got an earful when I returned to the ranch with what I thought was a community boat. Oh well...

Today was another killer day! I awoke this morning to ominous clouds filling the sky, but never faltered in my plan to go fish scouting. I recruited Ben and Lindsey to head into the woods with me. We drug our feet a little trying to leave, which ended up being a great thing. After grabbing some more subs, we headed for the Tonahutu/North Inlet trailhead. The dark clouds had departed and blue skies prevailed. We headed up the North Inlet trial for a 3.4 mile hike to Cascade Falls.

The scenery was amazing, and the trail was really neat. The falls were absolutely raging! I'm sure when the water recedes, they will be more "cascading." Regardless, they were cool.

This is another picture I really like. This is Mt. Enentah. We could see this just about the whole hike. I thought it looked like a fortress. This picture is taken looking South.

I have no idea what this flower is, but I really like it! We only found them along really shady stretches of the trail for a half mile or so.

The three of us had been talking, since we started hiking, about seeing wildlife. We had only seen a few birds and a couple chipmunks. We joked that if we only looked for wildlife while walking, we would assuredly trip and break something. We were making our way down into a boggy meadow, and Ben suddenly belts, "MOOSE!" What a good spot it was. The moose were feeding probably 200 yards away, but making their way toward the trail. There was a cow and two young'uns. We watched them for a bit and made our way further down the trail. We kept a lookout and Ben spotted them again, this time much closer. Seeing the moose made our day, and we finished the hike strong!

Another picture I really dig. This is North Inlet. Clear and very fishable. I talked to a man I saw with a fly rod, and he told me there were mostly brook trout in this water. Do I have a problem with that? Not ONE bit. I don't have to work until two tomorrow, so I am planning on leaving early and fishing this stretch of water. It may be hard to tell, but this stream runs placidly through meadows and stands of pine.

The weather is doing nothing but getting nicer, which means there are more and more places to explore! I have many places on my map to hit. Colorado is in my blood! I received my CO drivers license today, and plan on registering my car out here next week.

If you get a chance, check out the song "Colorado" by Railroad Earth. You'll probably get a small dose of what I'm feeling right now!