Archive for the ‘Kids’ Tag

A Whopper south of Westby   14 comments

My son Bode (Bo-Dee) and I took an overnight trip to the Driftless on Friday and Saturday and enjoyed ourselves very much. We set out after I got home from work Friday, picking up some provisions in Viroqua before heading to Avalanche to camp.

On the way we passed a few Amish buggies pulled by horses, and some Amish farms where we were greeted by waves and smiles as we zoomed by in our car. Bode had never seen any Amish buggies or farms before and was curious to know what it was all about. I explained it as best I could and he was fairly fascinated, as a boy who likes to make what he can by his own hand, at the lifestyle and talents of the Amish.

We enjoyed a quiet night camping in Avalanche and woke up at six on Saturday to go fishing. Bode was using a spinner while I walked along with him, fly rod in hand. We got to the next plunge pool upstream, the water still churning brown from days of rain. He made several nice casts to the top of the pool when suddenly his line tightened. He initially thought he had snagged something but then began cranking the reel. His line danced, but in the way Andre the Giant might dance, more deeply rooted than ephemeral.

Bode, having had very few large fish on the end of his line previously, cranked and cranked his reel until the spinner was an inch from his rod tip. The fish revealed itself in the surface film and we both let out a hoot.

This fish was one that many fishermen don’t get the chance to catch in a Driftless stream, and Bode had gotten one a few days past his twelfth birthday, in the first half hour of fishing.

Wow! Way to go Bode!

 

Bode with a 21" male Brown Trout, caught in a Vernon County spring creek.

Bode with a 21″ male Brown Trout, caught in a Vernon County spring creek.

 

 

Stephen and Son Had Luck Yesterday   5 comments

Stephen Rose and his son Heron (named for a bird that Stephen admires, but also named for Hank Aaron, Stephen’s childhood baseball hero) went out to the Driftless yesterday with a spinning rod and some #9 Panther Martins and got after it, with encouraging success.

They found the stream they were fishing loaded with Brook Trout, and the Brook Trout were much further down in the system than they tend to be during the warm months. It is our suspicion that they’re comfortable lower downstream right now because water temps are still cool enough for them to feel comfortable.

The fish in the photo below has some health issues. Not sure what it is, but it looks like fin rot to me. Has anyone seen this before in trout they’ve caught?

At any rate, It’s gratifying to me to see a young fisherman like Heron get out there with his dad and catch fish, especially on a day that snow fell from the sky. Way to go guys!

 

A nice-sized Driftless Brook Trout, suffering from fin rot, me thinks.

A nice-sized Driftless Brook Trout, suffering from fin rot, me thinks.

 

Heron and Stephen after a successful outing in the Driftless of Wisconsin

Heron and Stephen after a successful outing in the Driftless of Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

  2 comments

Here are some pictures from our last day on the trail in Montana. Enjoy!

 

Heading West, East Rosebud Trail

Heading West, East Rosebud Trail

 

 

Our troupe, with Ouzel Lake behind, East Rosebud Trail

Our troupe, with Ouzel Lake behind, East Rosebud Trail

 

Russel Creek, East Rosebud Trail

Russel Creek, East Rosebud Trail

 

Tom on the East Rosebud Trail

Tom on the East Rosebud Trail

 

The piney woods near Russell Lake

The piney woods near Russell Lake

 

A meadow above the Clarks Fork River, East Rosebud Trail

A meadow above the Clarks Fork River, East Rosebud Trail

 

Stephen, Wes, Bode, and Heron at the west end of the East Rosebud Trail

Stephen, Wes, Bode, and Heron at the west end of the East Rosebud Trail

 

Stephen, Tom, Bode, and Heron at the west end of the East Rosebud Trail

Stephen, Tom, Bode, and Heron at the west end of the East Rosebud Trail

 

 

Montana’s Beartooth Mountain’s – Installment 6   Leave a comment

Our fourth day on the East Rosebud Trail found us walking over a snowfield and peaking out at the Continental Divide, made obvious by a large rock cairn that we each contributed to. It felt great to know that we’d climbed all the way to the top, and that in front of us the trail would descend again. However, the effort of walking downhill is not negligible, just different, from walking uphill. Your back feels it differently. Your toes do too. Your lungs though, they get a rest.

We came upon Russell Creek, every bit as beautiful as East Rosebud Creek, and flowing westward into the Pacific. More flowering meadows were laid out before us, and the rocks took on a different color and tone. Things looked a bit more rounded at their tops, and angular along their faces.

We passed a few hiking parties on the way to Bald Knob Lake, all of whom were headed “over the top” to the East Rosebud trailhead. Many people choose to start at Cooke City and end at East Rosebud, due to the fact that the elevation gain is significantly less.

We arrived at Bald Knob Lake and put down our packs and got out our fishing rods. The Brook Trout were rising everywhere and we had no trouble catching them, either on flies or spinners. They were all about six inches long, making them a bit ineffective as a main course for dinner, so we put them all back. They were all beautiful though, with their blue and red dots and silvery bodies.

I took a swim in the lake, finding an island to dive off of into a deep pool. The water was cold, but the refreshment overpowered the chill and I stayed in for ten minutes and relaxed. “No worse than Lake Michigan” I told myself.

Heron joined me for a very brief moment, throwing himself in and immediately getting back out. Bode came along too and waded carefully into the water, only going up to his knees until a little encouragement from Heron and me got him in up to his neck. He also got back out quickly but we all found the swim fun.

Our campsite was well suited for a campfire, so we indulged and got warmed up after swimming. The night brought fierce winds and we were all relieved to find the next morning that none of us was blown off the cliff and down the waterfall adjacent to camp.

Knob Lake was a beautiful enchanted place to visit and I’m glad we stopped there. Ouzel Lake is just a bit further down the trail, and it too looked to be a gem, so consider it for camping, swimming, or fishing as well.

After our night at Bald Knob Lake our final day on the trail lay ahead of us, another big hike of seven or eight miles.

 

Off to conquer the Divide! East Rosebud Trail

Off to conquer the Divide! East Rosebud Trail

Wes crossing the snowfield at the Continental Divide, East Rosebud Trail

Wes crossing the snowfield at the Continental Divide, East Rosebud Trail

Continental Divide, East Rosebud Trail

Continental Divide, East Rosebud Trail

Bode, Stephen, Heron, Wes, and Tom at the Continental Divide, East Rosebud Trail

Bode, Stephen, Heron, Wes, and Tom at the Continental Divide, East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Heron take in the view at the Continental Divide, East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Heron take in the view at the Continental Divide, East Rosebud Trail

Fossil Lake falls from view as we continue west, East Rosebud Trail

Cairn Lake greets us as we continue west, East Rosebud Trail

Onward through stunning alpine meadows, East Rosebud Trail

Onward through stunning alpine meadows, East Rosebud Trail

Walking westward through the Russel Creek drainage, East Rosebud Trail

Walking westward through the Russell Creek drainage, East Rosebud Trail

Stephen amongst wildflowers, East Rosebud Trail

Stephen amongst wildflowers, East Rosebud Trail

Our troupe descends toward Russel Creek, East Rosebud Trail

Our troupe descends toward Russell Creek, East Rosebud Trail

A lovely butterfly near Russel Creek, East Rosebud Trail

A lovely butterfly near Russel Creek, East Rosebud Trail

East Rosebud Trail

A small lake forms from Russell Creek, East Rosebud Trail

Granite Peak (?) fades from view, East Rosebud Trail

Granite Peak (?) fades from view, East Rosebud Trail

Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Brook Trout filled Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Brook Trout filled Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

The sun gets low near Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

The sun gets low near Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Bode warms up near the fire, Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Bode warms up near the fire, Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Our bear hang at Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Our bear hang at Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Fishing rods at rest at Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Fishing rods at rest at Bald Knob Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Montana’s Beartooth Mountains – Installment 5   1 comment

Last we left off our troupe had just arrived at the unparalleled Fossil Lake. The guidebook stated that the lake is full of Cutthroat Trout, but they are often hard to locate as they tend to school together. Well, somehow, whether because of our superior collective intellect or our luck, we happened to camp in the vicinity of a very large school of these delightful and delicious fish. Bode and Heron were thrilled to have another dynamo fishing spot and were more than happy to put 5 tasty trout in our frying pan.

The boys started off fishing with their spinning rods and an assortment of old reliable Panther Martin Spinners (#6 sized). Stephen, after having set up hammocks for he and Heron, came down to the lake and assembled his fly rod, topped off with a size 14 adams parachute. His first three casts yielded him three nice trout and the boys picked up on this. They demanded to use their daddys’ fly rods and were given them unflinchingly. Some instruction ensued and before long each of these young men were catching 12″-14″ Cutthroat Trout with ease on dry flies. After our first night at Rainbow Lake the boys decided it would be worthwhile to tally the number of fish the boys had caught versus the number the men had caught. At this point I think the score was something like 70-10, in the boys’ favor. What more could a fisherman father want than for his son to catch the trout fishing fever at age 11?

After dinner we wandered across the way to the snowfield to have a snowball fight and look around. This was a moment we’d all been hoping to have and it was a great time. Afterward Bode and Heron and I walked up to the top of a prominent dome overlooking Fossil Lake. The flora was incredible and setting sun gave the surrounding peaks that wonderful warm hue that seems to make them glow. As we were sitting on top of this knob taking in the view I noticed a marmot not ten feet away resting on a rock, joining us in our repose. We sat there for a while admiring one another and then Heron grabbed my camera and tried to see how close he could get to snap some photos. As it turns out, Heron is good with marmots, so now we call him “The Marmot Whisperer”.

Night fell and all went to bed, but I decided to lay back on a slab of rock above our campsite to watch the stars pop out and see the moon rise over in the East. I saw one shooting star and couldn’t help but think to myself how fortunate I was to have taken on this new and unfamiliar challenge with my mates. We hadn’t really known what we were going to find or how our bodies would perform on the climb, but now with over half the trip behind us and each of us settling in to our routine I felt assurance that we wouldn’t run into undue hardship.

 

Heron and Bode fish Fossil Lake barefoot, East Rosebud Trail

Heron and Bode fish Fossil Lake barefoot, East Rosebud Trail

 

The headwaters of East Rosebud Creek trickle down the moutain into Fossil Lake

The headwaters of East Rosebud Creek trickle down the mountain into Fossil Lake

 

Stephen with a nice Fossil Lake Cutthroat, East Rosebud Trail

Stephen with a nice Fossil Lake Cutthroat, East Rosebud Trail

 

Dinner at Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Dinner at Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

How's that for backcountry cooking? (East Rosebud Trail)

How’s that for backcountry cooking? (East Rosebud Trail)

 

Bode chills at Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Bode chills at Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Wes watching over Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Wes watching over Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Snowfield on Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Snowfield on Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Let the snowball fight begin! (Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail)

Let the snowball fight begin! (Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail)

 

Let the snowball fight begin! (Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail)

Let the snowball fight begin! (Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail)

 

Stephen brings out the big guns, Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Stephen brings out the big guns, Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Round two, this time with feeling (Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail)

Round two, this time with feeling (Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail)

 

Where's Wes? Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Where’s Wes? Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Castle Peak and Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Castle Peak and Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Heron wandering the alpine wonderland around Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Heron wandering the alpine wonderland around Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Bode and Heron at Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Heron at Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Incredible wilderness all around, Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Marmot spotted, Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Amazing tiny flowers at Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Amazing tiny flowers at Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Our campsite was in the trees above Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Our campsite was in the trees above Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Heron's marmot, photo 1, East Rosebud Trail

Heron’s marmot, photo 1, East Rosebud Trail

 

Heron's marmot, photo 2, East Rosebud Trail

Heron’s marmot, photo 2, East Rosebud Trail

 

The marmots ducked for cover when a hawk was spotted overhead. East Rosebud Trail

The marmots ducked for cover when a hawk was spotted overhead. East Rosebud Trail

 

A baby marmot at Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

A baby marmot at Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Montana’s Beartooth Mountains – Installment 4   Leave a comment

I was awoken at Dewey Lake in the morning by my son Bode, asking me if he thought it would be okay to wake his friend Heron to go down to the lake and fish. I said it was, then got up myself and started breaking camp, packing away hammocks and sleeping bags, getting things organized for the day’s hike.

I walked up to the top of the knoll to see about my dad. He was sound asleep, and I left him alone. Today was going to be the push up to the “top of the world”, Fossil Lake, at 10,000 feet. Billed in the guidebook as the gem of this route, I was looking forward to seeing it, but worried about cold winds and high elevation.

Down to the lake shore I strolled ready to make coffee and oatmeal. It was a glorious morning with fish rising all around, and a little arctic tern was swimming just out of reach, picking away at the insects rising from the depths, wondering if we had anything to offer it.

Coffee was made, and oatmeal was eaten, though to the dismay of the boys who would have preferred bacon and eggs. I dunked my head in the lake to give my hair a wash, and then Wes came down to say hello. He ate and drank and dunked as well, and we cleaned up, packed up, and headed on our way, hoping for an enjoyable and rewarding day, ambling toward the headwaters of East Rosebud Creek.

We headed up the trail toward Fossil Lake, passing through incredible alpine meadows filled with flowers, spotting Pika and Marmots, and pushing our legs upward and onward. We made it to Fossil Lake by about 2pm, which was a welcome change to the previous two days’ hikes when we arrived after 7pm.

Adequate trees were located to hang our hammocks, the fishing rods came out, and we all enjoyed a relaxing afternoon on top of the world. I even took in a swim in crisp and refreshing water only feet from a snowfield. Fossil Lake is truly a crown jewel.

Below, some photos of our hike and a teaser of more Fossil Lake photos that I’ll post tomorrow. Enjoy!

 

Through the meadows along the East Rosebud Trail we go.

Through the meadows along the East Rosebud Trail we go.

 

Wes and Heron on the East Rosebud Trail above Dewey Lake

Wes and Heron on the East Rosebud Trail above Dewey Lake

 

Bode and Stephen admire the high alpine meadows on the East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Stephen admire the high alpine meadows on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Upward toward Fossil Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

Upward toward Fossil Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Up switchbacks and back down to cross a creek on the East Rosebud Trail

Up switchbacks and back down to cross a creek on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Incredible views along the East Rosebud Trail

Incredible views along the East Rosebud Trail

 

Heron clowns it up on the East Rosebud Trail

Heron clowns it up on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Tom on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

Tom on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

 

Wes on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

Wes on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

 

Stephen on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

Stephen on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

 

Bode on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

Bode on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake

 

A broad beautiful meadow on the East Rosebud Trail

A broad beautiful meadow on the East Rosebud Trail

 

The snowfields get closer on the East Rosebud Trail

The snowfields get closer on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Amazing alpine wildflowers on the East Rosebud Trail

Amazing alpine wildflowers on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Bode and Wes resting along the East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Wes resting along the East Rosebud Trail

 

A long view up high on the East Rosebud Trail

A long view up high on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Heron and Stephen hike up to Fossil Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

Heron and Stephen hike up to Fossil Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Amazing alpine meadow blooms on the East Rosebud Trail

Amazing alpine meadow blooms on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Bode with the first Cutthroat Trout from Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Bode with the first Cutthroat Trout from Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montana’s Beartooth Mountains – Installment 3   4 comments

After setting up camp and staying put, cooking dinner in the meadow, cleaning up and getting to bed, we all woke up leisurely and packed our sleeping bags, hammocks and tents back up.

While we were eating I asked my dad how he slept. “Fine” he said, “Except for that bear I saw last night.”

We all got wide-eyed and pressed him for details. He had been dozing and had to get up to water the flowers, so to speak. He unzipped the tent fly and started walking out of the wood toward the meadow where we’d made dinner. He looked up and fifty feet ahead of him a “huge damn bear” was sniffing around our cook spot under the full moon. He said it had to have been a grizzly because of its size, as big as a cow.

He backed up slowly and the bear took no notice of him, or if it had, it didn’t pay him any mind.

A bit of envy and some relief flowed through me upon hearing this. Bears are something you don’t want to see because of the perceived danger, but I still wish I’d seen the bear.

His story was supported a bit later when Ranger Jenny May came back around to check on things and break up the fire ring in the non-campsite we’d used. My dad told her about the bear-sighting and she said “Yep, that same bear was sniffing around my tent last night.” One night out and we’d already run into a grizzly.

Our second day on the trail brought another long hike from Rainbow Lake up to Dewey Lake. From Rainbow to Lake-at-Falls we’d had a pretty nice hike. Our party had been somewhat rejuvenated by the night of sleep and warm breakfast. But as the day wore on we pushed forward past Impasse Falls, past Twin Outlets Lake and on up to Dewey. The scenery along this stretch gets better and better and it would have been great to fish for Golden Trout in Twin Outlets and take a hike down underneath Impasse Falls. But, the day stretched out and we needed to make it to Dewey.

We finally made it, finding a good camping spot up on a knob. The boys caught more fish for dinner, this time Cutthroats, and we all made it to bed an hour earlier than we had the night before.

Another incredible day on the trail, with many waterfalls and amazing snowfields dotting the peaks.

Enjoy the photos!

 

Ready for another hike on the East Rosebud Trail

Ready for another hike on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Bode on the East Rosebud Trail

Bode on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Scenery above Rainbow Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

Scenery above Rainbow Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Rainbow Lake from above on the East Rosebud Trail

Rainbow Lake from above on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Pushing up the East Rosebud Trail toward Lake-At-Falls

Pushing up the East Rosebud Trail toward Lake-At-Falls

 

Water falls at Lake-At-Falls

Water falls at Lake-At-Falls

 

Bode and Heron Duel on a bridge over a creek on the East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Heron Duel on a bridge over a creek on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Bode and Heron Duel on a bridge over a creek on the East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Heron Duel on a bridge over a creek on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Snowfields feed East Rosebud Creek

Snowfields feed East Rosebud Creek

 

Heron on the East Rosebud Trail

Heron on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Sharp peaks along the East Rosebud Trail

Sharp peaks along the East Rosebud Trail

 

Tom on the East Rosebud Trail

Tom on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Stephen on the East Rosebud Trail

Stephen on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Beautiful peaks along the East Rosebud Trail

Beautiful peaks along the East Rosebud Trail

 

More water falling down to East Rosebud Creek

More water falling down to East Rosebud Creek

 

Bode and Heron resting on their way up to Dewey Lake

Bode and Heron resting on their way up to Dewey Lake

 

Impasse Falls of East Rosebud Creek

Impasse Falls of East Rosebud Creek

 

 

 

 

Impasse Falls of East Rosebud Creek

Impasse Falls of East Rosebud Creek

 

Hiking along Impasse Falls on the East Rosebud Trail

Hiking along Impasse Falls on the East Rosebud Trail

 

A cataract of water falls below Twin Outlets Lake, East Rosebud Trail

A cataract of water falls below Twin Outlets Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Lovely Twin Outlets Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

Lovely Twin Outlets Lake on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Meadow Flowers begin to appear en masse on the East Rosebud Trail

Meadow Flowers begin to appear en masse on the East Rosebud Trail

 

Bode and Heron prepare to catch dinner at Dewey Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Heron prepare to catch dinner at Dewey Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Cutthroat supper from Dewey Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Cutthroat supper from Dewey Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Bode and Heron fish Dewey Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Bode and Heron fish Dewey Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

Stephen's first-ever Cutthroat Trout, Dewey Lake, East Rosebud Trail

Stephen’s first-ever Cutthroat Trout, Dewey Lake, East Rosebud Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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