Sunday, December 1, 2019

After The Gold Rush

... not a lot of action this past year - these images sum it up...

... early summer... for somethin' different made a rare visit to the 'Wooddale Powerline' (aka: 'Trout Hatchery Boulders')... the open power line ROW access was pretty overgrown with tall grass by then so we opted to stick with a few boulders spread around the adjacent open woods - that place used to be overrun with rattlesnakes and we didn't want to press our luck bushwacking about... hadn't been there since probably the mid 90's and well before the current open pit quarry operation adjacent - was a bit disappointed as the quarry took out a few pretty nice boulders located higher up what used to be a ridge - we're sure the rattlers are probably gone as well as they're highly sensitive to even the slightest ground vibrations (critical to their hunting complex) so the blasting and constant heavy equipment moving about surely couldn't have done them any favors... we used to spot two Ravens frequently as well that had a "ravens roost" atop a large boulder up on the ridge top - probably had been used as such for a few hundred years...

... an old climbing buddy of ours told us recently of another nearby old local crag which was habitat to more than a few rattlesnakes - he mentioned that since the construction of a nearby gas well and the subsequent frequent humming and vibration, it was only a summer or two before he hadn't spotted a snake there since... 

... a few days up on the 'Ridge'...

... keepin' busy...

... boulder layback cracks are few and far between...

... two in a row - a fingertip layback seam...

... lot's of fun workin' the only project of the summer over the course of a few visits...

... why is it more fun when ya' can't climb somethin'... ?...

... exercise or achievement?... must be both...

... edit 12/07/19 - a shot from an hour or two at 'Cal's Boulders' (aka: 'Liston Rocks') a few weeks back... 

... from inside the cave - forgot we had those still in the camera...

... a whole year of excitement...

Sunday, November 17, 2019

What Not: 300, Chicken of the Woods, Pumpkin Spider, Snipe Hunt

... the built in ticker tells us this is post number 300... we began posting here eight years ago, originally for the sole purpose of hoping to get rid of a stray cat we acquired...

... but we didn't... nowadays we wouldn't trade 'em for a million bucks (although, no one has yet to make an offer)...

... besides, he's a favorite of the local bird population - these photos are from back in May of this year - that female Northern Cardinal was well into a better than week long relentless stalking - dawn to dusk...

... designated 'Banshee' - we figured she had good reason after we found several feathers lying about that we ID'ed as remnant to a Cardinal fledgling...

... he's a fan of the 'Tornados' as well...

(You Tube video)
... this is his favorite tune - he'll only set and listen with his back to the speakers and ears wheeled to the rear - we figure that must produce the best feline acoustics...

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... a good time of year to encounter some local 'Chicken of the Woods' mushrooms...

... this was a pretty large one... edible - supposed to taste like chicken when done right (we've never tried one)...

(You Tube video)
... this guy does a pretty good presentation for those interested...

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... finally...

... just in time for the holidays - photographed this female 'Pumpkin Spider' (aka: Marbled Orb-Weaver) creekside while fishing a local stream last weekend... "can frequently be found along the banks of streams"... pretty cool... 

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... honorable mention...

(photos: allaboutbirds.org)
... not very often encountered... unexpectedly flushed a roosting 'Wilson's Snipe' while hiking along a boggy creek bottom last weekend... not our photos - that guy was gone in two seconds... mentioning it only because everyone growing up in these parts was taken on an obligatory "snipe hunt" at some point in time while growing up - always by a bunch of "older guys" - they'd take ya' out in the woods well after dark and leave ya' standing alone with an open brown paper bag at your feet and a flashlight to shine on the bag opening to attract the "snipe" while they went off 'en masse' to "drive the snipe" to ya' (they in fact just left ya') - you were to quickly cinch the bag and capture the fleeing "snipe" after he flew into the bag... we're proud to say that we were suspicious from the get go and hung out for only about five minutes before we booked (it was typically some spooky spot deep in the woods anyway and we're about ten years old) and actually beat the guys back to where we originally assembled and was setting there when they returned hootin' and howlin'... we sure couldn't wait to be a part of the group to take the next unwitting imbecile out, however...

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...