Friday, April 29, 2011

on the road

We left Montana last night, bound for Oregon. Despite driving through snow all night, we did have a gorgeous sunset over the mountains as we approached Butte:

Last night's stop was Spokane, Washington. Right now we're bound for Portland, where we'll spend the night, before heading to Eugene and the race expo tomorrow.

Before we left the Park, two exciting things happened: 1) we saw our first bison calf of the year, and 2) we got TV! After 1.5 years without it, we now have access to sports (and the Royal Wedding). And it took all of five minutes for us to start fighting over the remote...

Monday, April 25, 2011

moose on the loose

Though the wind was howling and it was late in the day, when my buddy Ryan called and said he got out of work early and was ready to fish, I was out the door in 5 minutes.

Without much time, we decided to fish close to town, down by the airport behind Gardiner's recycling depot. We had gone out on Saturday and the warm weather meant there some fish rising, but today the wind and cold weather meant there would be no hatches so it was nymphing day no doubt.

While I was still tying on my flies, Ryan was on the water and quickly caught his first trout of the season

As Ryan settled in, I headed downstream and started fishing. I came to a big rock that I had to get around, and as soon as I got around it, I got the fright of my life as a moose that had been sleeping behind the rock, jumped up. Luckily the moose was as scared as I was and we both ran in separate directions.

I don't know if he was still waking up or he figured we were the ones that should leave since he was there first, the moose didn't go far

and even stuck around to see Ryan catch another rainbow (he's the brown spot in the trees in the back left corner)

Leaving the moose behind, we fished a good way down the river. Finally, before we called it a night, I hooked into a nice rainbow

All and all, it turned out to be a nice couple hours on the river.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Last weekend we flew to Charlotte for a family wedding. You know you live in an isolated place when you get excited about the food selection in the airport...especially when that airport is O'Hare. We had less than an hour layover on our way out, which gave us just enough time to hit the new Rick Bayless take-out place in the United Terminal.

I had a torta with braised short ribs,

and Steve had one with pulled pork. We both had mango-lime fresca's to drink, which were awesome. Pricey, but good. Airport dining at its finest...

We left Bozeman in a snowstorm and arrived in Charlotte where everything was neon green. And warm--almost 80 degrees. And humid. We haven't missed humidity at all, and it was a shock to be in it again.

We had enough time to indulge in some Southern BBQ while we were there--mmm fried pickles are very tasty.

And pulled pork. Real pulled pork. Oh how we've missed you.

It was hard flying through Chicago and not being able to leave the airport to see family and friends (Go Blackhawks!), but we made the best of our time there and hit up Billy Goat for "cheezeborgers"

and then stocked up on Garrett's.

And Eli's cheesecake. And Vosges chocolates. And another mango-fresca for the road.

While we were away, the bison started calving. Visitors have been showing me photos all week of newborn calves, hopefully we'll see one ourselves soon.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

the park is open

We spent most of the week preparing for the Government Shutdown, and what it would mean for us to live inside a closed National Park if it happened. But then at the 11th hour the budget passed, and so we decided that since the park was indeed open, we'd venture out to the Lamar Valley and Cooke City (cheddar bomb burgers!)

As soon we crossed the bridge over the Yellowstone we ran into a few bighorns on the side of the road,

and then watched a lone coyote make its way across Soda Butte Creek.

There were bighorns near the confluence.

A storm was hanging over the valley,

which was the perfect excuse to head to Cooke City for lunch.

Other parts of the country are experiencing spring and warm weather, and it's hard for visitors to understand why the roads in the park are still closed. Here's what spring looks like in Cooke City:

Oh, and when you're inside a restaurant, looking out the window, here's what you see: more snow.

We made our way to Buns n Beds for cheddar bomb burgers, but Steve and I were tempted by the BBQ ribs too. So we decided to split, 1 cheddar bomb burger

and 1 BBQ plate. Worth the drive, as always.

On our way back through the valley, the storm had finally blown over.

Monday, April 4, 2011


The hardest thing about training for the Eugene Marathon has been the weather. While the rest of the country is experiencing spring, it's still very much winter here. And even when the sun shines, there's wind. Sunday's weather was 26 degrees with 9 MPH winds. And those were GOOD conditions.

We've been running on the East River Road, a two-lane road that parallels Highway 89, in the Paradise Valley. Over the course of my 18-miler, it was sunny, they snowy, then sunny, then snowy.

As I pounded out the miles, I saw my first mountain bluebird,

which means spring really is around the corner (somewhere, somewhere). I also had an entire herd of mule deer cross the road in front of me, and apparently ran right past a moose in the river that I was too tired to see.

For about a mile I ran alongside a herd of elk, running above me on the mountainside.

The weather is harsh, the hills are killer, but I'd be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful place to run.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

point of rocks

When Wendie told me that that afternoon, I was going to have to give back the 8wt rod I had borrowed because its owner was headed down to the Snake River in Jackson, I decided to go fishing despite the snow and wind.

Heading out past Yankee Jim Canyon and into the Valley, the snow stopped and the wind lessened as well. Not having time to head to Livingston or even past Emigrant, I pulled off at Point of Rocks, a boat launch 21 miles from Gardiner. The rocks of Point of Rocks are actually remnants of ancient mud that was created by the Absaroka Volcanic Field, which formed 5 million years ago.

Since, the volcanic rocks right near the boat ramp where jagged and slippery, I decided to wade in about 200 yards upstream of the boat launch. Though my backcast kept hitting the four-foot ice shelf behind me, the fishing was good as I got this brown on one of my first casts.

He was about 17-inches but had a big fat head on him that made him a good fighter. I fished that same run upstream for about 300 yards and pulled out two more browns, including this guy:

After hooking up with two more fish, both of which broke me off before I could land them, the river became too shallow and fast-moving to be fishable with the streamers so I decided to walk further down the river. After about a half mile, I found a nice canyon (which you can see at the top of this photo)

with a deep pool on the other side of the river. There were some small fish rising to midges right by the shore but figuring the big guys were in the deep water, I waded out as far as I could to try to hit the pool on the other side of the river. Even though I couldn't make it all the way, I was able to get out far enough out to find this 16-inch rainbow.

He fought harder than all the browns combined, even giving a nice aerial show as he jumped clear out of the river three times. The picture doesn't do his size or beauty justice.

Since I had to give the rod back, I decided to head back toward the car. This is when I realized that not only were my waders leaking but that one of the soles of my wading shoes was coming off as well.
Still, when I made it back to the first pool I fished I decided to give it one more go to try to get those fish that I hadn't been able to land. Though my shoe kept threatening to send me ass-over-tea-kettle into the 40-degree water, I was able to snag one more brown before calling it a day. I left the rod in its owners doorway with a six, cold friends to keep it company.