26 April 2007

Old Ed says: "Get out there..."

The prophet Ed Abbey wrote, "Do not burn yourselves out... It is not enough to fight for the West; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still there. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends..."

I try to take old Ed seriously, and so in addition to working on Superfund issues in the crack-addict Clark Fork watershed and preservation issues in the clean-living Big Hole watershed, I do get out there. And so one fine afternoon colleague Chad and I (no pictures of him, just in case anyone wanted evidence of truancy) snuck off to "the dog hole" near Melrose. We were greeted by the sandhill cranes--including the one in the photo below and several that buzzed us, coming in low over the willows like pterodactyls.
And a few trout came to hand (and maybe a whitefish or two) like this fat brown that took an Okrusch Sparkle San Juan (my favorite form of bait, these days). Unfortunately, though there was a smattering of march browns, pmds, and other mayflies in the air and on the water, the trout were not looking up: it seems a little late in the spring not to have caught a fish or two on dries.
In the Big Hole, history is never far away. Here, a "date nail" in a railroad tie.

After a few hours of delight (Oh, how wonderful to live just 15 minutes from Montana!), it was time to head home. You can tell RTD is getting old--after 3 or 4 times swimming back & forth across the river, she is waiting at the truck. Good old dog and, here, looking especially noble.

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