Monday, September 30, 2013


Yep, I caught my fair share after all, on hopper/dropper rigs mostly.  Ran a double nymph rig for some of the big fellas when the creek was blown out. 

Speaking of blown out- I see this particular pair nosing a feeding line at the foot of a pool, maybe 12" down.  I look away to change rigs out, look back up to make my cast, and there's nothing but chocolate milk where white water did flow.  Yep as fast as that, as I'm sure you know.  Spooked myself out of heading into the box, what with that crazy rain in CO fresh on the mind. 

Did manage to top out into that upper meadow before calling it a day.  Trudged back to camp in, you guessed it, a downpour.  

Staring at the prospects of another cold camp, another drenching night, I set my sights instead on that peach cobbler made by that nice Abuela on the road back home.   

Hmmm, my choice was made, and a wise one it proved: read later 2" snow blanketed my meadow that very night.  

the fall backpack 2013 series:
fair warning
elk smoke

Saturday, September 28, 2013

elk smoke

elk smoke [elk smohk]; noun  

Def: those wisps of backcountry storm clouds reminiscent of the vapor of elk bugling on a frosty morning.

Origin: First coined by toddler Will the Thrill on one of his first camping trips
Usage: peering out of the tent at the remnants of last night's storm, WTW exclaims- 'Look Dad! Elk Smoke!' 

Indeed it is son, indeed it is. 

bull elk bugle on chilly morning

the fall backpack 2013 series:
fair warning
elk smoke

Thursday, September 26, 2013


elk smoke on the ridge

don't matter, so long as it's hot

The next morning dawned bright and clear...
...somewhere far, far away from my small valle.  My morning was met again with squalls punctuating the steady downpour.  Slowing to a drizzle after breakfast, I made the most of the opportunity to gear up, boot up, hit the trail for that feeder I had my eye on.  

I wasn't a half mile up the trail before a monumental squall breaks over the far ridge.  There I stand in the middle of the trail, exposed as the day I was born, rooted in complete fascination as the squall envelopes the head of the valley.  The clouds slink down the rock face like elk smoke, while below the rain sheet is a moving, quavering, curtain of battleship grey.  

I'm shaken out of my boots by a peal of flash/thunder/flash/thunderrr, and I'm thinking oh sweet jeebus, this ain't gonna be good. But a minute, and I'm getting hammered by rain, sleet, grapnel, the trail now a veritable river. I hoof it into a clump of spruce, hunker down under some big boughs, and wonder aloud just what the hell it is that I'm doin' up here. 

In the far backcountry, in the pouring rain, lightning all around.  Without a lick of sense.
So I had some time to ruminate and thank dog for what Awesomeness could be found in the moment.  Like Gore-Tex.  And Redington waders.  And loved ones.  And oatmeal-raisin cookies, don't forget those.  And cutthroat trout, without whom I would not be in this fine mess.  ;-) 

cutthroat waters

All kidding aside, nothing quite like those big boomers in the high country to make a guy feel alive, amirite amigos?
the box in a brief lull between storms

Well wait ten minutes and the weather will change adage proved dead-on dontchaknow.

I soon found myself at the foot of the canyon, stringing my favorite 3wt.  That stealth black 3-piece, crafted by an old rod maker, sorely missed, who will never make another.  

It is there, peering through the gloom to where my first glory pool awaits, that I find...myself.  Once more.  

For I suddenly realize, despite the steady downpour, the numb fingers, the cold trickle down the back of my neck- that most all is Right in my World.  

And so it is, with a murmured- Well, let's get after it, I make my first cast into what is to be another glorious day in the high country. 

why we fish

the fall backpack 2013 series:
fair warning
elk smoke

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

fair warning

So yeah that crazy weather front that rolled through Saturday-Sunday washed me right out of the mountains.  Cut my backpack trip short, darn it, but it was an adventure nonetheless.

absolutely not by mountain bikes, frackin horses
The trip started out pleasant enough, mostly fair skies though with scudding clouds that portended something else to come. Trail was an unholy, soul-sucking mess from the drenching rains the week prior, and the horses, my Dog the horses. 

See, that's the problem with backpacking the Wild during the hunting seasons of Fall.  Add a string of hoofed, sh!#ting, pissing, foul beasts to a muddy trail and that right there is reason enough for a backpacker to join the Sierra Club for life.  And that's to say nothing of the Outfitters' actual pack animals, badda-bing!   

Thank you, thank you, be here all week~ ;-)

Sooooo, anyhoo, I digress.  

From Backpack Fall 2013

Made it up to my base camp meadow after a hard slog, to say the least.  No-one else camped in sight, all chasing elk in the high country.  I made short work setting up camp, then busted back down to the foot of the meadow to sample that oh-so-sweet water I reluctantly passed on the way up. 
is this heaven?
Water was absolutely gorgeous, tho I admit I ruined most of it stubbornly casting various terrestrial attractors on top, knowing mostly I should set aside my pride and dance with the girl that brung ya.  You know, with so little fishing under my belt this summer, I just wanted to catch my fair share (on what could well be my last high country trip this season) my way.  You know what I mean? 

So yeah, I blew my chances on more than a couple pigs nosing the bottom of pools, bringing their younger brethren to hand with beetles, ants fished up top.

My way.

Fishing done, dinner was a rushed affair, dodging rain squalls as those scudding clouds gathered in strength.  While duly waiting my 8-9 minute chicken-alfredo-in-a-pouch to stew, I hunkered in the downpour, counting the seconds between flashes and those big rolling boomers crashing thru the hills.  I ducked into the tent early, finally executing the good sense to get in out of the rain.  Having brought a metric ton of nothing by way of entertainment, I drifted off, counting again as the next wave of boomers broke over my camp.

the fall backpack 2013 series:
fair warning
elk smoke

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

dryin out

Measured 4" of rain at mi casa last week, whoa. Never seen the like around here, weather dudes are confirming NM has never seen a wetter Sept (5 days?!) in recorded history. We're thinking of you CO!

In other news almost as big- I wrapped up that yard construction project, Yay, right?Yep, the money's all buried in the backyard, as Mrs Wulff is fond of sayin- sod growing gangbusters, our new beds await spring planting.

Oh, and I also published my largest, like !evah!, project at work, put that puppy on the streets for pricing, whew!

Jeez what a summer...

So ya, finally found time to unleash the Yeti. Found her sitting forlornly in the garage this AM, replete with two flat tires, made me want to cry myself.

So you might forgive me for taking a moment to stop and smell the flowers, it's been too long. M

Saturday, September 7, 2013