Sunday, October 6, 2019

Catchin' Fish All Afternoon

... patience ...

... took two seasons but we finally started to catch some fish yesterday on the 'Tenkara' fly rod... not that many actual days in, however, maybe eight or ten... we're not that avid of fishermen now'days - might pick up a fly rod for a day or a few and then not touch it again for two years... we divide our time amongst many endeavors - at least we don't get bored...

... was worth the time and effort, however - really knocked out the fish - landed eight, lost that many (though a few or possibly all are probably included in the eight catches) and had probably three times that many strikes - all native brook trout with one surprise (very aggressive) rainbow in the mix...

... all five to seven inches in length, aggressive, with vibrant sheen and color (especially the rainbow) - attributes that distinguish 'em from the herded, grain fed stocked trout (our opinion)...

... there's some very good native trout fishing here'bouts but ya' gotta' put in a bit of effort - we'd been a bit lazy the previous seasons and finally decided that we gotta' get to where we know the real fishing is to see if this Tenkara style works or not... this particular feeder stream tumbles down a boulder strewn ridge flank forming a deep hollow with some steep drops and tight chutes and channels requiring some rugged hiking for access - all stuff we love... 

... some upstream pools and holes usually leave us scratching our heads as to how the fish even managed to get there themselves - another reason we quit tryin' to figure out nature long ago...

... steam level is currently at optimum as well - most will disagree...

... " so where's some pictures of some fish, ya' bullshi**er?!!"... hey - can't say we didn't try (but we suck at it) - four of the fish we lost was because we were trying to land a fighting trout with one hand and fumbling with a small compact camera in the other - each instance the fish squirmed off the hook and bounced a bit violently off the boulders and back into the water (we are usually quite a few feet above the pools using the boulders for cover) - no way we're leavin' a stream strewn with dead fish all for our own self gratification to get a shi**y photo - actions like that are for the riff-raff haunting the park-and-fish stream sections (our opinion), so we quit tryin'...

... a few good pools with rock ledges for cover... 

... the entire section is about a mile long partial of a feeder run to the Youghiogheny River...

... headin' back out we stopped at Dunbar Creek - fished upstream for maybe a quarter mile above the Betty Knox parking lot with no action...

... first fished this stream back in the mid sixties when just a little guy - caught our first fish there probably around 1965... used to go quite frequently with a family friend named Harry Pytrulak who was a real fishing guru - the guy knew his sh*t and taught us a lot (although he figured it was goin' in one ear and out the other - wasn't the most patient sort) - hear he's still out there at it at nearly ninety years old... wish we still had the old fly-tying kit he gave us... a few other local older guys (no longer with us) who were real "no bulls*t" creek and river men and really knew their way around the local streams were Harry Fosbrink, Joe Polidora, and the king, Stan Helinsky - used to pick those guys brains every chance we got*... 

... *(10/07) - let's not forget Mr. Richter...

(Internet Image)
... Pytrulak had an original International Scout (his was green) - this is back in the 60's, and nobody owned a 4WD vehicle - recall gettin' back into a few small streams in that thing where ya' didn't even have a chance of encountering anyone - might as well have been on the moon as far as we were concerned...

Saturday, September 21, 2019

King Kemehameha

... took a hike earlier today to check out a recently completed old growth timbering operation - was curious to see what negative impact, if any, it imposed regarding access to an old rock climbing destination of ours...

... once dense woods...

... we know actions as such infuriate the majority, but in reality it's a healthy function for regeneration of the forest habitat; beneficial to all plant and animal alike, right down to the smallest insect... no different than pruning your petunias...

... nature will adapt - seeds will take root and sprout, seedling will give way to sapling, mighty oaks will again rule the roost... our only beef is with the inevitable greenbriar thickets due next spring on this southwest-facing mountainside - but even they have purpose; protecting the young sprouts and saplings from intrusive gnawing critters and varmints...

 ...further explanation is well beyond the scope of our writing, however... go get yourself a GOOD book on the subject...

... we'll adapt just fine as well... hot damn - new ski trails!!...

... so what about impact on the rocks?... actually, made it a bit easier to access...

... while there we captured a few images of this badass crack, 'King Kemehemeha', situated on the 'Kemehameha Wall' of the 'Uberman' boulder... we gave up on this thing a long time ago, but not without trying... about 20ft in height (see grass whip in photo for scale) and overhangs the entire length at least 6ft...

... staying directly within the crack, we'd managed over many (top rope) attempts to sequence the moves (or at least hang from 'em), so we know the holds are there (digit to knuckle-width jams), but linking the thing together in one push is a whole different animal (definitely for us)... we'd had a few local "high performance" climbers give it a shot - they each bailed onto some face holds right of the crack located about 3/4 height... to be honest their crack technique was a bit lacking (first off ya' gotta' tape up), but we'll give 'em credit; heinous mid-Atlantic crack climbs are few and far between - none-the-less all very strong clip-up sport climbers... "why the f*k would ya' wanna' climb a f*k'd up crack when ya' got perfectly good face holds!!"... ha!... c'mon guys - cracks are to climbing what a perfect barrel is to surfing...

... the one guy we know we felt strong enough to work this thing out was a strict "traditional" climber who in no way was gonna' hang and rehearse moves, and insisted on lowering to the ground after each failed attempt - no bailing on any face holds either... it was ground up or not at all... gotta' give 'em a lot of respect for that, but man, that was triplin' the endurance factor for us...

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... hey - the entire time we been typin' this we've been listening to the 'Cars'... forgot how good those guys were... what the f*k happened to modern music...

(You Tube video)

... RIP Ocasek...

... used to share rides back/forth to school with a guy - this was the only 8-track tape he had and his radio didn't work - so we listened to this non stop (when he drove) for two semesters... also, the heater didn't work in his old VW bug so we froze all winter - comes summer and he decided to fix the heater - problem was, now he couldn't adjust or shut it off - so we traveled all spring/summer with heat blasting out the rocker panel located floor vents...

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Old Business

"Hey, finally have a free afternoon -  let's go climb'n..."
"OK - where too?..."
"Haven't been out since April - definitely out of condition - someplace not too potent!..."


"Hey, up the ante -  try this old route - is pretty stiff!"...


"Pretty good, huh? - latch that pocket and you're just gettin' busy!..."


"Is a bit old route - that tree grow'n from the base of the stone wasn't even there when first put up!..."


... gotta' love a few of the old 'one off' hangs and the folks that enjoy 'em... most wouldn't...

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Fungus of the Month

... this years Amanita Muscaria var. Alba "crop" (ref: Manic Mushroom)...

... they usually appear in growths of three - although, think we may have accidentally run over the two others with the lawn mower during early stages of development - it's only September 1st, however, so we'll see... this guy has expanded to five inches in diameter... has become an annual event - don't know why they appear only on our property, and then only within the southeast corner of the lawn - have never encountered them anywhere else... research tells us that they are usually "symbiotic with conifers and hardwoods" (trees) - none of those around and the location they grow is in direct sunlight from dawn until around 3pm each day, when the sun sets beyond the shadow of a large sycamore tree to the west...

... we quit tryin' to figure out all the so called scientific bulls*t, however, and have just accepted them as another positive harbinger from the Great Spirit himself (itself..?) - mushrooms were perceived as powerful and mystical and associated with protection and power in Native American culture...

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Bromance

... two smart men... we've known bodybuilders (and other athletic types - most, in fact) who couldn't carry the garbage out let alone know the difference between a London or Philadelphia style mason's trowel - or mix a good batch of mortar...

... even if the pro bodybuilding career had stalled out, these two guys most surely would have been successful as masonry contractors, and we'd all be working out building brick backyard barbecues...

(You Tube Video)

... so long, Franco...

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Against the Flow - Part II

... originally saw this old film that we found on You Tube, The Voyageurs, back in the early 70's - made a heck of an impression and thought that was how things were done... subsequently, we've occasionally spent just as much time toiling upriver (though nowhere to the extent as those guys) as we have on the drifting down flow...

...when conditions are right there's a good trip which begins not far beyond our front door...

... the route annotated in red...we'd had paddled the route downriver many times, most of which as the final home leg subsequent to running the Lower Yough River whitewater rapids situated miles further upriver beginning below Ohiopyle Falls; usually around a 9 to 10 hour trip at normal summertime flow, say 2.5ft on the Ohiopyle river gauge (OPG), to take out in Connellsville, PA... always looking to enhance the experience, we got to wondering of the difficulty and possibility of retracing our strokes upriver given the right conditions - all eighteen miles of it... unlike the old time trappers, instead of furs we'd be hauling a cargo of PBR's - not to be opened until we completed the journey...

... so with nothing better to do, late one morning back in time we tossed six PBR's into a small iced cooler and set out alone on a test run, figuring to just start paddling and keep going for the remainder of the day to see how far we could make it before difficulty, boredom, exhaustion (or combination thereof) or just plain running out of daylight would take us... we had opted for a river level of 1.5ft OPG - anything over 2ft OPG we figured would be tough paddling and we wanted to resort to as least amount of tracking (wading and pulling the boat by rope) as necessary - to the contrary, we also hoped for sufficient water level as to eddy hop the inevitable series of shoals and small rapids (locations identified 'X' on the map) to be encountered, for the same reason... we paddled an 11'-3" whitewater canoe we owned that tracked well (i.e., the ability of a boat to travel in a straight line, as opposed to the aforementioned) along with good maneuverability...

... after probably three or better hours and five miles of upriver travel we finally decided to phone it in at a river feature called 'Petes Hole' - the 90ยบ+ temperature was finally taking it's toll and we had really beat ourself up stubbornly struggling to paddle the downriver shoals and rapids, the majority of which we wound up tracking anyway - also, those ice cold PBR's, which we vowed to not touch until the end of our journey, were now also too much of an allure considering the heat and exhaustion... we had to relinquish...

... subsequently we gave up all thoughts of a complete eighteen mile "voyage" - however, the completed five mile trip up to Petes Hole became a favorite repeat once or twice each summer for quite a few years - we even paddled the entire distance three times (no tracking) when we substituted the canoe with a sit-on-top kayak - not a bad feat as there's a few tough sections to eddy hop...

_____________________

... last weekend we took the abbreviated version of the route terminating just below the low head dam separating 'Wheeler Bottom' and South Connellsville... hadn't paddled that section in quite a few years...

... figured we'd put some scratches on the Firefly...

... this is a narrow river channel east side of the large island opposite the put-in...

... some interesting exposed root systems of these sycamore trees lining the channel riverbank...

... a river section known as 'Thirty Foot' viewing north to south - have never known why - the water depth averages (our estimate) probably two to four feet and probably doesn't exceed six feet... is a long stretch of shallow water with some good bass fishing - usually catch a few rock bass when we tote along a fly rod...

... viewing Thirty Foot from south to north...

... an old river side camp we hadn't visited in years - needs some clearing...

... a river grass covered gravel bar near the mouth of the 'Dunbar Creek' confluence...

... technically we guess this section south of Dunbar Creek is a continuation of Thirty Foot, but we always called it the 'Ice House' for the existence of an old abandoned concrete structure that exists back in the woods several hundred feet beyond the shoreline, to the west of what remains of this old stone pier. It supposedly stored blocks of ice for the railroad back in the old coal/steam locomotive days. It resembles to us an old ancient ruin you'd find in a South American jungle... another disparity; the identified Thirty Foot section is a bit wider and slower moving...

... once a favorite camp near the mouth of Dunbar Creek - needs a bit of work but not much to get it back in condition...

... takin' a break at the pier...

... the same pier and distant sandstone bluffs overlooking the river...

... the low head dam - is a short portage over a low, stepped concrete causeway east side of the dam (left of photo) to continue upriver...

... a few geese that didn't mind our presence - there was a male wood duck hangin' out with 'em, the reason we took this shot - he was right in the middle of the river between the two big concrete blocks - don't know why he's not there now... ??... must have dove for a fish as we clicked the shutter - our only explanation...

... that whole Thirty Foot section of river is sometimes one heck of a place to view birds of prey - we figure it's because of the wide shallow water and abundant fish...

(Internet/Audubon image)
... in fact the day of these photos we flushed a juvenile bald eagle which flew from a tree branch only about fifteen feet above our head as we paddled silently along the shore line - that is the third sighting of a bald eagle by us at that location (the others about six years ago) - we suspect they have or have had a nest there... we borrowed the above photo (and the ones following) from images we found on line on an 'Audubon Society' website - we have nothin' that comes close...

(Internet/Audubon Image)
... we also flushed a blue heron...

(Internet/Audubon Image)
... and a kingfisher...

(Internet/Audubon Image)
... we didn't encounter one this day, but a few years back we observed an Osprey dive bomb the water and snatch a fish which it carried up to an opposite river-side tree branch... all the Ospreys we've spotted have always been in a pair... we're figuring that they're also attracted to the shallow water and abundant fish... a birdwatcher we know mentioned to us that the Ospreys are nesting at a small lake located high on the ridge about twelve miles east of this location...

... we also see quite a few water snakes, painted turtles basking on logs (one log in particular) and snapping turtles while out and about in that stretch of river...