May2013

Change comes to the Firehole

The annual pilgrimage to Yellowstone is a trip of traditions where very little changes year to year and we generally wouldn’t have it any other way. In most cases, change is bad: nothing wrong with a little status quo. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Well, this year there were some notable changes to the program and change isn’t always bad.

 

2013 Firehole Rookie Ranger

For 2013 the Firehole Rangers were joined by a new Rookie Ranger and 3 guests. This year’s Rookie Ranger was Sir Lancelot—a gentleman someone I’ve known for many years and have fished with and written about previously. In fact Lancelot was the first guest blogger to grace the pages of the UA. Lancelot was a welcome addition to the ranks; he’s the type of guy that makes you feel better about yourself.

Robert and 2/3 of the Trifecta

Our 3 guests included two of the Trifecta: Rachel and Aileen (Rebecca was unable to make it). They were joined by Aileen’s fiancee Robert, who had never before angled (he can’t say that any more). It was great to finally meet folks with whom I’d previously had only the occasion to meet via the internets. No unsavory surprises here, though I am not sure they can say the same.

No, really—it’s not that bad.

Trifecta of cats.

Speaking of unsavory…a big surprise was the office lobby at the Ho Hum which, while still heavy with the smell of cat, was actually tolerable this year. Aileen and Rachel may not have agreed, but they had nothing to compare it with. Take our word for it, ladies—it smelled nearly like potpurri this year (get it? purr-i?).  Sorry, that was lame.

 

Jimmy’s Jordans.

Another change for 2013 was fashion. Not something that has ever before been a consideration, clothing and accessories actually played a significant role in this year’s trip. First up: Jimmy’s shoes. Not really sure what would possess a grown man to purchase shoes like this even if they were free. Rest assured Jimmy took a ration of crap over it, but perhaps not as much crap as was dished out for Lancelot…

Cantaloupe was in plentiful supply.

Lancelot’s shirt made Jimmy’s shoes seem not all that bad. What may have looked good on Rachel cannot the same thing be said of Lancelot and it was the conclusion of the Ranger Disciplinary Panel that there’s absolutely no reason for a man to wear a shirt that color. Or powder blue for that matter although I regret that I did not take a photo of The Gooseman and Morris sporting their powder blue shirts—you’ll just have to take my word they they made a cute couple.

Facial fashion.

The final Firehole fashion frenzy came by way of Aileen’s and Morris’s matching Buff things. Note that they each selected shirts in a shade of blue to compliment their Buffs: Aileen sporting a royal blue while Morris rocked the powder blue referenced above.

Unrelenting blue sky.

And while we’re on the subject of blue, the final and perhaps most significant deviation from previous years came by way of the weather.  We’re accustomed to fishing in intermittent snow and driving rain. Last year and the year before have seen the worst of what Mother Nature can muster for this time of year. Sunscreen was required as we fished in our shirtsleeves under sunny skies on Saturday this year. Sunday featured a few more clouds but temperatures remained comfortably in the 60’s.

Change—sometimes good, sometimes bad, is what it is. There was plenty of it this year.

 

 

 

 

Thar she blows!

 

May 18, 1980

On the 33rd anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, I harken back to where I was and what I was doing. I was 17—a junior in high school. It was a Sunday, so I can tell you for certain I was not in church. I was living on the west side of the Cascades in a Seattle suburb. To be quite honest, the eruption was a non-event if you lived on the western side of the state. But if you lived on the other side, in central or eastern WA, it was a different story altogether.

Ash plume moves east.

Ask Mrs. Unaccomplished Angler and she’ll recall a vastly different day. She was in church, and the sky turned black as the ash plume drifted over her hometown of Yakima, WA. Ash fell from the sky, blanketing the ground. There was widespread panic and anxiety. Nobody knew if the ash was harmful to the touch or toxic to breath. There was no internet for disseminating information. Kids were out of school for nearly two weeks. Deliveries were halted to area businesses so grocery stores depleted their inventory. It was serious business.

St. Helens from the visitor’s center.

Mount St. Helens: the crater

But there was no destruction per se—it was nothing like the devastation that occurred in closer proximity to the mountain itself. In the years since May 18, 1980 I’ve seen videos, films and countless still photos but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually visited the scene of the crime first hand. To stand at the observation point looking directly at the mountain and the course of the mud flow that followed the eruption is to be blown away by the magnitude of the scale and the shear destructive power of mother nature.

Mt. Rainier: “Hey, Tacoma—You’re toast, dude!”

Still the power of the St. Helens eruption is child’s play compared to the devastation that would will likely occur if when Mt. Rainier blows its lid. I hope that doesn’t happen in my lifetime—it would change the course of life in western Washington, very likely making Spokane the second—if not THE largest economic center of the state. Tacoma stands a very real threat of being buried under several feet of mud, for sure. Seattle as a whole probably won’t crumble physically, but some reports suggest that even parts of Washington’s largest city could be devastated as the lahar (mud tsunami) hurtles rapidly down Rainier’s many river drainages toward Puget Sound. The damage to the local economy would have its effects. Like I said, I hope this happens long after I’m gone.

But it could be worse.

image courtesy http://www.nps.gov/yell/naturescience/caldera.htm

One night several years ago while drinking beer in a bar in West Yellowstone, a local “character” (who appeared to be medicated) began to tell of the Yellowstone Supervolcano and the effects it would have on not only the greater Yellowstone area, but the entire region and in fact the world. I’ve no doubt he was medicated but his words were not far from the truth. It’s no surprise to visitors of the park that Yellowstone is all about volcanic activity.  Check out the general information provided by our friends over at Wikipedia. Of particular note is the paragraph that includes Seismic Hazards and Hydromthermal Exlosion Hazards.

Bubbling pot of hot water.

Warming one’s, um—hands—by a steam vent…

A good place to be.

My intent with this blog post is not to scare you. No, that’s what THIS ARTICLE is for.  Nor do I want to deter you from visiting Yellowstone and fishing the Firehole. In fact, put it on your bucket list because it’s a fascinating river to fish for reasons well beyond the fishing.

But if you’re like me, when the Yellowstone Supervolcano does blow—and eventually it will—you do not want to be sitting at home several hundreds of miles away, where you’ll have time to hear about the eruption on the news and panic before you’re wiped out.

No, I want to be standing knee deep in the Firehole—essentially right on top of the caldera—when she blows.

I hope it doesn’t erupt next week, but if it does I’ll be there.

 

 

 

Go get yourself some cheap sunglasses

As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to greatly appreciate fine eyewear. When I was younger I couldn’t afford good sunglasses, nor did I really need them. Now that I’m officially middle-aged, I value good sunglasses greatly.  I also wear prescription sunglasses so a quality pair makes even more sense.

But not everyone wants to spend or can afford expensive, high-quality sunglasses for fishing. I’ve had dimestore variety shades that have lasted a decent amount of time and the lenses were okay at cutting the glare.  Noithing to write home about, mind you, but functional.

I was recently approached by Fisherman Eyewear and asked if I’d be interested in trying a pair of their sunglasses. I never turn down an offer for something free (beer included), so I told them I’d field their offer.  I also told them that since I wear prescriptions I would be giving the glasses away. No problem.

So, here we are.  I have a pair of Fisherman Eyewear polarized (since 1974, mind you) sunglasses for one unaccomplished follower.  Before we get to that, let’s review Fisherman Eyewear for a moment, shall we? From their press department:

 
Fisherman Eyewear’s tradition-rich brand of Polarized sunglasses, embodies five pillars: heritage, innovation, value, style and quality. After nearly four decades of producing technologically advanced yet affordable eyewear, Fisherman Eyewear continues to introduce the best shades to anglers and outdoorsmen alike. Featuring a Lifetime Warranty, Fisherman lenses are always Polarized and always offer 100% UVA/UVB protection.

Alrighty, there you have it right from the horse’s mouth. I have no reason to doubt their claims, but you’ll have to be the judge of that.  What I have here for you is a pair of the Skipjack series in Matte Frost/Gray. The retail price is an affordable $20 so if you don’t win these glasses you can order them reasonably online right HERE.

 

How do you win these glasses?  The contest plays out on the Unaccomplished Angler Facebook page.  Follow these instructions very carefully: I will be posting a photo of the Fisherman Sunglasses on the UA FB page. Post a comment under that photo declaring why you would never spend more than $20 on a pair of sunglasses. I’ll choose the winning comment on Wednesday May 22nd.

Go.

Niether much fishing nor blogging

Just the beginning of runoff…

I used to feel guilty for having missed a week of blog entrying. I also used to have withdrawals if I went too long between fishings.

Well, the latter hasn’t changed, and I’m going nearly crazy for lack of fishing. Rivers, that is. I prefer river fishing.  I could figure out a way to fish the salt for searrun cutthroats, or I could visit any number of local lakes that have been recently stocked and opened for fishing.

But I prefer river fishing.

So two weeks ago I went river fishing. Going in we knew conditions would be less than stellar, but we needed to fish. We encountered a Yakima River that was high and rising, off-color, a bit windy, and mostly fishless; fairly typical Spring fishing on the Yakima, Washington’s only Blue Ribbon Trout Stream.  4,000 CFS is the typical sustained summertime flow, and on this day the river was around 3,600. So it wasn’t all that high—just higher than it had been recently.

But the sun was shining, and we did hook into 4 fish and one was landed. Not by me, but by Morris the Rookie Firehole Ranger. Marck and I each played with fish but failed to seal the deal. Oh well.  It was a good day that included a burger and cold beer at The Brick Saloon in Roslyn on our way home.

Rowing the Hornet so Marck could not catch fish.

Now the Yakima is completely gone, as in headed upwards of 7ooo CFS. Fishing it would be a waste of gas.

But I need to fish. I may have to take my Watermaster out of mothballs and go visit a local lake. It’s getting that bad.

As for blog entrying, I don’t mind missing a week. Or two. Or three.

Nor do I suspect any of you mind, either.