The first Super Bowl I watched was XX, in which the Ditka-led Bears toyed with Tony Eason and the Patriots in what was to be one of those debacle scores that seemed to plague the Super Bowls of that era. So that was right around 25 years ago, and I’ve just turned 35, and recently ticked through the 2010 season which served only to prompt further mourning of the 2009 Vikings season that was ended by the fraudulent Saints who later got a picture taken with Obama right after they admitted in public that their goal was to injure Brett Favre. So all this layered on top of “Packers weekend” and a guy just can’t take it. One must devise an itinerary that will best the cheeseheads by simply downplaying their achievements and to some degree ignoring them. Here was that schedule for February 6-7, 2011.
(1) Saturday morning: take kids skiing. The short story here is that both boys skied for exactly 60 minutes, without one whine or plea to quit. This marked the first time in which I actually skied with them, as opposed to walking alongside to make sure they were okay. The young guy fell a lot but he never asked for help; rather he used his poles to stand his stout little body back up. He fell a lot because he tries to sprint in his skis, which is pretty remarkable and sometimes comical. The older guy is a more patterned and cautious fellow; he does controlled falls, sitting down on his skis when he gets going too fast. This was probably the highlight of the weekend for me: watching the boys receive smiles and words of encouragement from folks who passed or met them, and seeing that they really enjoy the activity.
(2) Saturday afternoon: team up with neighbors, and climb Chimney Rock over in Whitewater State Park. Perfect climb for kids of this age: long, but not too long. Steep, tough and very minor danger here and there, but nothing too bad. After skiing I figured maybe the boys would be worn out, but in fact they struck out in the lead and had to be reined in every few minutes. It’s quite a thing to stand up there and look out over the valley at the river that long ago routed itself a path maybe according to a rock here or a rill there kind of like a cow chooses a path in a pasture and then just ate its way down into the earth century after century and now sits at the bottom as we see it for this little snapshot.
(3) Sunday afternoon: 14:00 – 16:00: fish for trout in close vicinity to house. First two bridges I looked at had two cars each, so I passed on that because (a) looking to be alone, (b) good manners. Find somewhere else. So I peeked in on a less-traveled stretch and found no cars. No footprints even, other than those of cows. It came down to fishing three holes hard, for maybe 20-25 minutes each, with travel time and pondering time in between. At each hole I caught ~4-6 fish. Tandem nymph rig with indicator and one shot. Almost all fish ate the trailing orange scud. This was highly enjoyable. A few of the takes were subtle, some of them were jolting strikes that moved the indicator six inches or so across the water. Some strikes came immediately after the rig hit the water. Other notes:
a. Three brook trout were caught, in succession at one hole. The first was an absolute beauty: one of my favorite fish to date. On seeing this particular fontinalis, I immediately removed the glove from my left hand, put the fish on the reel and got serious about landing it. I didn’t measure it, but I know it was >12” and I believe it likely nudged up toward 13 but likely not 14”. Hard to say. Picture doesn’t quite do it up like it should, as is expected. This fish was one of a few that took the lead nymph, which was a crane fly larva imitation. It was holding back in the flat water just down from a plunge pool.
b. Of the brown trout caught, ~50% were fairly small. Of the decent sized fish, one stood out as a 13-14” fish that hit with a jarring strike, leapt twice and demanded use of the reel.
c. Never did see fish rise, but then again I didn’t spend a lot of time staring at the flats and slicks. Rather, I dug deep in the holes. On my way out, I observed midges to such a degree that it looked as though God had just taken his pepper shaker to the snow.
Mark it down for a good weekend, in spite of whatever happened down in Dallas. And in closing: I'm not that bitter, really. Age tends to diffuse intense rivalries.
There's a beating heart inside a rib cage that is wrapped in the painted canvas pictured below:
Smaller, but still remarkable:
Brookies came from this hole (HI work):
Peppered snow - midges everywhere:
Gear report: the Buff, used in combination with skull cap (Christmas present (thanks)), works well to cut wind.
Nice brown trout, caught on the way out. Last fish of the day:
I'm developing crows' feet.