Saturday, July 25, 2015

Truth Is Relative In Montana

Today I sit outside  in Livingston MT having coffee at Gills with me beautiful wife. My last day in Montana this year and I'm missing it already.  On F.B. today I posted a few dialoges' I'd had with wonderful people I've been meeting who are much further from my definition of "Christianity" that ever before, yet I feel closer to them and wanting to dialogue with them about "life" than ever before.  The photo above is right next to me on the sidewalk. I entertained in this bar last year on a Monday and tonight there is a smoking guitar based band playing. Guessing by the four massive pedal board configurations on the stage I"m assuming they have their "cow" together.
Tonight Jane and I will dine on our last night at 2nd Street Bistro (I have a blog on this rest. here from last year.) Owner Brian and Tiff his Mgr. treated me to dinner last week and here's one of the courses below. Duck breast with a miriad of smoked peppers in a reduction and a great bottle of 2012 Bandol.  Tonight it will be Halibut I'm sure. :) Only my third meal in 30 days not cooked over a campfire.
Yesterday I took the afternoon to sort out my truck and put into storage in Ennis, all my gear for next year I don't need to take home. All my cooking gear, a bunch of fishing gear, my float boat, my big cook stove and propane and chairs, and on and on.  Well last night about dinner time, I wanted to cook pasta primivera and Filet Mignon's with blue cheese and cheese and crackers with Merlot.
Ooops.  No cooking stuff, no utinsils, no glasses, no plates or dishes. just my Jetboil, a gallon of water and a survival cook kit..  Laughing, I  grilled the steaks in my fish griller and used the inserts from a case of wine for plates and coffee cups for wine and bathroom paper towels for napkins.  Jane says, "this is all perfect and done perfectly.. " I used some cedar i cut in the forrest to smoke the steaks..
I don't usually post personal video but the other day we walked up a ridge and then through two ranch cow fences and down to this stream "cottonwood creek". We sat down on a rock and had a cup of french roast and i took this video of the creek. Sublime...  here's a pic of where the creek comes closer to meet the Ruby River on our walk.
When you fish rivers in Montana they have now changed the laws to favor fly fisher-- peoples.  You can enter a river at any bridge (if you can get down there) and walk in the river up or down and stay within 5ft of the high water mark on the river. This is legal and not even Ted Turner can stop you where I did fish on his waters for a few days this month... and will again.   Great farmers and ranchers do what this photo shows,  they build a wood step stool over their cow fences to get to the river, knowing you're gonna get there anyway, why make it even harder to cross. Like faith, we should build bridges not fences for people to enter and not chase them down if they don't cross the way we like it.. 
This is big game country and I love that the forrest service puts up these stands for fall and winter hunters to hang their big game away from the Grizzleys complete with phone numbers for processors in the areas..

Everywhere you will find thse plastic sheets screwed into trees in the outback camping areas to remind you to NOT leave any food out that's not hung up 10ft up and 4ft out from a tree or locked in a steel bear container.  I have walked through the brush day and during evenings to fishing spots with my bear spray in one hand and my .357 unlocked and at my ready as the second resort.  Moose are also a great danger here, and MT. lions are the biggest population in the areas on the south of the upper Ruby Valley in the Beaverhead forrest.
Ok, I came for the fly fishing and so I have to sneak some of that in here :) :).
 I had a stretch two week ago with a 26, and 28 and a 62 fish evening.
Now I had to hike one hour up or down the stream before I began fishing to get to the holes most will not hike to, but it's worth it for the output and exercise. Here's a nice Rainbow taking a Green Trude Streamer.

Here's a cutthroat on a quick release..
I honestly never thought about photos on these days I was so busy have the time of my life.

So, when I say that I had two 16inch rainbows jump out of the water at the same time and each take one of my two fly's, I'm not kidding. Once in a lifetime. The nymph snapped as one Rainbow turned right, but the other one I landed and measured while laughing out of control like the priest in Caddyshack except alone in the wilderness with no caddy to hear me.

Jane has been here a week now as we leave together and she has gotten water socks and water shoes and come with me to walk and cross the rivers with me for the last few days to experience what i do. She did not take a spill and never got in the way and took a few photos and videos and carried the creel for the fish we would eat for dinner each nite.. Yea honey..
So, for now,  signing off from Montana till we're back in MN in a few days. Ooops a MN plate just pulled in front of me and I had to ask the girl where she's from......   Fridley.. I show her my Fridley Drivers lic. and she just giggles. I give her a card and we will now meet again for more important discussions of life and Montana. :)

Peace, Love and Happiness from the land where Truth is Relative, a pistol on your side is cool and a razor is for tourists.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hurry Up And Slow Down Now..

Where I come from, when you are in the middle of seemingly nowhere there is not a lot to stop for.
 I took the time this last week to stop my truck randomly and just use the Iphone to journal the week. On a dirt road south of Ruby Dam there were a few horses near the road just saying hello.  If you tip the  paint pony on it's head, the black marking looks like a seal or black lab laying down and turning its head. Driving along the Beaverhead River there was the Beaverhead rock. I took back roads and drove along it till it ended at private property on 4wh. roads. I stopped at a small irrigation dam/ditch 20ft wide and fished a pool under the little dam. Got 3 fish to rise and missed each one. These ditches, you would think, would not hold fish but trout have a way of making their way up rivers and streams and irrigation channels.. :)

 South of Alder MT on dirt roads there is a cut off seasonal dirt road "Sweetgrass" that runs 31 miles over to Dillon MT.  Unlike alot of dirt roads that cut through the mountains, this one stays down and cuts through private lands in the valley. It's a two hour drive to go that 31 miles on it but you definitely feel like you're in the old west on sagebrush and horse trails, and you see a few surprises on the way.  

Horses are one of Jane and I's fav. animals. Like boats, I love them but not enough to own one at this point in life. If you have one, I'd love to ride in or on it but otherwise I'll just take photos and marvel. 
Along these roads and at anytime around any corner you can run into someones cattle. They roam free on lands owned or managed by large associations and you do not want to be driving 50mph, come over a rise and owe a farmer for a cow and a fast end to a good trip. 25 to 30mph is about max.

At the top of the rise before dropping in to Dillion you come upon a large salt mine with those massive Cats and machines out of movies.

 If you didn't take this road you would never imagine this could be going on a few miles up a mountain.

Dillon MT is the home of the Patagonia Outlet store.  Yes you have to hunt for your sizes but holy cow it's like 50% off and another 40% on holidays:) When a rain jacket is 550. in the catalog and you can  get it for under 200. It's like your birthday.  Dillion is also a central point to float fish the Beaverhead River for big trout.  It's where last year I broke an oar on the first 1/4mile of a float and survived the day. 

In reality the fun of stalking a trout on a river you don't know and guessing on all the things it takes to land a trout is like playing keno..   I love catching native cutthroat trout but since they are forbidden from being eaten here in MT, I love me some rainbows and will eat a few every day I can in a pan or a camp fire.   For fish weapons, I've spent 30 years with Sage Graphite rods. Fast and smooth they are and great long throw rods at 9ft long.  Above you see a Sweetgrass 7ft 9" bamboo Pent rod and a Ross Evo. copper reel with a nice dinner rainbow from the Ruby River sitting in a handmade wolfriver fish net made by a couple in Wisconsin.  The colors of a rainbow vary from fish to fish and season to season but the taste remains the same :)

 In the south Ruby Valley this rainbow above was on one of Ted Turners regions. Had to climb down a bridge and get in the water to legally fish it and it was 95 degrees with no clouds so the fish were holding deep and you could see all those Turners monsters. I couldn't get one large one to rise all day for nothing. Just a few rainbows to catch and release there. 
Off of the Ruby River; deep in Mt. Lion and bear country, my partner Bruce and I would drive a mile to this ridge line overlooking everything to cook trout dinners and enjoy the sunsets. 

Thanking my friend Anthony for selling me his Rugar .357 and hiking holster, i feel much safer now carrying more than just my pepperspray while in these areas. 
Last week between 8 and 9:30pm I landed 13 fish. 10 Cutthroat 2 Brookies and here right before sunset with my headlight on my head to make it home, one nice rainbow for breakfast. I'm amazed how light it stays out in the evenings there in the summer.
At the end of the day, it must end like this. A billion stars, a fire with cedar, a beverage, a gar, a blanket, pepperspray with a pistol and a good evening prayer till morning.

Next week, Friends Along the Montana rivers..

Till then, dream big, live large and
Slow Down Now will ya!