"Feral ~ from feminine of ferus wild: having escaped from domestication and become wild"...

July 6, 2015

A Yellowstone Christening

On Saturday, July 4th, 2015, I couldnt present a fly to the fish gods if all my life depended on it. My rhythm was all flustery, and I was clenching my fly rod in my right hand with a death grip that certainly wasnt necessary. The slender 8 footer vibrated in protest, wronged, as I tried again. No. That was horse whipping.  I sighed, and pulled in some line with my left hand yet again. The length of lime green line lay mockingly slack on the water, grazing my legs in wide loops where I stood alone, rather then in front of me floating its little dry treasure down the Yellowstone. I wanted to call, taunt and bait to the beast fish that lived within, not scare them away. 

I had lost my cast.

It has been a little over ten years since I went flyfishing.  Back then, the last time was in the Bighorn Mountains, above 10,000 feet and off-trail, where no one goes but the very brave or the crazy.  The fish were generationally wild beasts, dropped decades ago by Forest Service helicopters and grew such good genetics to wonderful proportions that it got ones heart thumping when they would rise in crystal blue clear waters. I remember crouching a lot, using soft footsteps and no shadow, and once caught a cutthroat so large that when I went to tell Mr. Foresterman afterwards, I was still trembling.  There was a hatch going on that early August, a blessing from mother nature after a brief snow that had melted quickly in the rising temps. I could tie on an orange humpy and be guaranteed a strike if I wasnt caught trying to do so, or if the Sun wasnt directly overhead to reveal the outer magical world of pure mountain air.  Those fish were tricky but honest. Those are flyfishing memories. 

These moments were definitely not.

It certainly wasnt because of where I was, thats for sure.  With her waters caressing my thighs, I was standing in the mighty Yellowstone River, near Pray, Montana.  Her history runs deep and long. She carried the First Nation on her waters to many places, and she now irrigates those same places for those who live and work on her banks. The lack of dams to impede her waters aids her so she can reach all the way to the state of North Dakota with her determination.  If I wanted more adventure, I could float all the way to visit our youngest and her fly fishing husband if I wanted to.  He, this native Montanan Son in law of ours, was the reason we were here in the first place.  His love of the Yellowstone runs as determined as her waters, and he wanted to share this passion with us. Like a potential new relationship we too were enamored by her beauty now, but we were becoming frustrated more and more by our own inadequacy with each cast; will she love us back somehow, eventually, and reward us with her hidden gifts?

The Yellowstone is most famous for her Blue Ribbon status as a Class I fly fishing stream.  She is considered one of the best in the world, and many cast off her waters for trout; cutthroat, rainbows, browns in the cold waters, and fish paddlefish, sturgeon, walleyes and bass in her warmer waters. Shes over 690 gorgeous miles long, flowing north out of, you guessed it, Yellowstone Lake located in the famous Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.   It took over 200 million years to build her; and it was definitely well worth the wait.  Although it took time, She is beautiful from beginning to end.  

Like all things, it takes time. 
Just like presenting the fly.

It was then I began to get my cast back.  With each cast, the line flow was starting to smooth out.   It was beginning and then began as part of myself, my fishing soul, ending by landing in the spot I selected, but only if the wind didnt have her way that time.  Nature wanted to play.  The rhythm was there and it wasnt hard work, it was becoming instinct. The silent swish overhead, once, twice, three and the constant giving of line. There. stare. wait.  And then repeat.

It felt so good.

But then it didnt.  I was startled by a large splash to my right; a man had come down to the river with his dog, and was throwing a large stick into the cold waters. In his defense he probably couldnt even see me in the river with her thick green willows covering her banks.  Everyone needs to give space to those fishing on the river, but the dog leapt into the water as if his whole heart had already done so, and who could begrudge him?  And so my time was broken.  

Standing thigh deep,  I turned to move off of the slippery rocks under my feet to move on, away, and I slipped. Feeling my right shin hit a greasy boulder,  I felt the pain make its mark and knew I was bleeding into the river before I could even wade out to the dry bank. I was wet up to my shoulders, and my leg stung, but it was only a scrape and the bleeding soon stopped after a few washings of the Yellowstone's waters.  It was time to go, and I quietly wrapped my flyrod and reel up, as the others began to show up at the vehicle. No fish were caught, but it was time to move on to celebrate our Nation's Birthday in a different way, elsewhere.

And so the mighty Yellowstone River had christened me, and it seemed appropriate that I had given her my only decent offering I really had to give that day.

Maybe it will be different next time.

June 17, 2015

Nepal Notes चार

October 26, 1989


(am Seti, Nepal)

The "Royal" plane, or "Kings favorite"

Our flight (Royal Nepal Airlines) from Bangkok to Katmandu was delayed a day because the King of Nepal needed the plane.

Katmandu, Capital, Home of the King

In Nepal the King is still the King (as of 1989!).

My sister Jane is having fun shopping until you drop

Monday we took a bus ride from Katmandu east to Jiri (in 2015 it is still literally the end of the road). The bus was mostly of local folks. I think there were a few western trekkers on the roof. It was crowded; 10-15 people over capacity.

Katmandu's version of "garbage pickup"

The ride was very slow due to overloading and many stops. We spent a lot of time in first gear in the middle of the road. Total ride time was 12 hours; total distance 184 kilometers (115 miles).

Unexpected Bus Rest stop!

I received a reminder that you can't always believe what's in the travel guides. Our guidebook stated that people in Nepal use their right hands for clean tasks such as eating. They use their left hands for unclean tasks (toilet paper is not commonly available). At one point when our bus was stalled along the road some of our fellow passengers got off to stretch. One guy had to answer a call of nature and didn't bother to go too far off the road. He totally shot down the "clean hand, unclean hand" concept. I don't know if handshaking will be part of my customary greeting for the rest of this trip!

First day of backpacking to Bhandar

The first day, Jiri to Bhandar, was a killer. Going up the second ridge (a 900 meter or 2950 foot climb from Shivalaya) was very slow. That night we thought about hiring a porter. We found out they wouldn't be easily available due to some regional festival.

Jane envying the porters...

 The trail itself is good; basically a well worn footpath. There are lots of switchbacks to accomodate the elevation changes. Groups of porters are pretty common, generally a dozen or so men (some women) carrying large triangular wicker baskets that look pretty well loaded. Most carry a sort walking stick with  a T-bar handle thus they can sit on it in a semi-standng position. 

~ Mr. Foresterman

June 11, 2015

Intermission...a word from our sponsor...

Okay. Dont worry.
We have everything under control.  

"Nepal Notes"
 will continue again,
once mr. foresterman is home.


Once we have real internet.  

Not on a little phone that is from 1986 
from "trying not to get their seats dirty" little wireless cafe because 
its raining outside and we cant work.

So basically Im under pressure but in control.

For now.

If none of this makes sense its okay
because I think im under control.

I think.

But in the meanwhile,
let me give you a hint on what we have been up to.

"Tiny living"

This is my kitchen as of late.
I have spent more time at work (Black Hills)
then I have at home the last three months.

Rv'ing worklife for me!

Speaking of work,

this is the rare Black Hills Mountain snail.
\It actually lives at 6600'ft
where we are working at!

I have seen these guys all over,

Even on trees.

Its kinda gross but cool.

You try walking in the woods under pressure without stepping on something
thats only 1/4 inch big.

many of them.

Here we are on lunch break.

We take lunch on a log.

Ranger takes lunch anywhere.

We are vascilating between rain and sun.

Sun is bright at 6600 ft.

"Peeeeter,.. Peeeetor, time to wake uppp!"

Extra points to you if you know what movie that is from!

the trees are leafing out. 
it will make it difficult for us
to see the forest through the trees...

I think I have cored over 1000+ 
ponderosa pine
trees this year.
no joke.

We are still working out the details.

The oldest was over 300 years old.

The tallest was at 104 feet.

I have big biceps.

Big trees, big work.

thats all for intermission now.

xoxox's to you all!