Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mountain Men, Firemen, and Fishermen... How Could This Possibly Be Bad?

How do I even begin to tell this story? I guess I'll start at the beginning...

Seth and I drove up to Wyoming last weekend intent on attending the Fort Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous and doing some fly fishing on the famous surrounding waters.

We arrived at Fort Bridger around noon and wandered the grounds... admiring and being appalled by some of the people who decided to dress the part. For the record, I don't think loin cloths were standard apparel for old fat hairy guys. But I digress.

The best part of the rendezvous was watching the Native American dancers.

We were a little disappointed that there were no grilled turkey legs to chomp on. But maybe they only have those at Renaissance Festivals...

After the rendezvous we ended up driving through Kemerer to the Ham's Fork. Along the way we noticed what looked like a forest fire.

Turned out to be controlled burns by the local forest service/fire department. But here's the part that's cool. They had a couple different ways of starting the fires... neither of which were anything like what I'd imagined.

First we saw this helicopter flying around with a torch that would drop little fire balls...

Then further down the road we saw this "fire truck" and the guys had a fire hose that sprayed fire! (click on the picture to see a better view). How awesome is that?

So it was pretty busy up in the canyon along the Ham's Fork so we ended up camping way up past the fires, which was a good thing. Luckily we were trying out our minimalist camping (hot dogs for dinner, cereal for breakfast, and sleeping in the car) so we didn't have to set up much.

It was around 6:00pm when we finally got to our camping spot so we decided to hurry and make use of our $14 fishing day license before it was too dark. Seth always fishes faster than I do so he moved pretty quickly upstream and I slowly followed.

I wasn't catching anything at first because I kept hitting all the holes Seth had already disturbed, so I decided to catch up and leap frog him.

So I came to this deeper hole and needed to cross over the stream. I wasn't quite sure how deep the hole was so I squatted down and stuck my right leg in the water to see if I could touch bottom. All of a sudden I slipped and fell into chest deep water... my right leg touched the bottom of the stream but my left leg stayed up on the bank, bent weird and way out of my normal flexibility range.

At first my left leg felt relatively ok. It hadn't hurt much and I could still walk on it, so I continued making my way up to Seth. After catching up to him, we started back down the river to eat dinner. I ended up catching a couple nice fish out of the hole I fell in so I felt much better.

After eating dinner and sitting around for a while I stood up. Man did it hurt! My knee had tightened up a lot and it was really painful. That night only proved worse as I struggled to keep my leg from moving while sleeping in the back of the Xterra.

The next morning I was sure I'd sprained my knee. But, we paid for not one, but two days of fishing in Wyoming and I wasn't about to waste my $14 license! So, we drove back down the canyon below Kemerer Reservoir and spent the morning fishing a small stretch of the river.

Seth hooked into a couple huge fish using a streamer... man was I jealous!

I saw the biggest hatch I've ever seen that morning... the air was thick with mayflies. There were so many that at times we couldn't see because they were flying into our faces when the wind blew. Unfortunately the fish weren't rising for them.

This little guy landed on my jacket. The species of mayflies were pretty mixed, but most of them were BWOs and PMDs (at least I think so... my eye isn't fully trained yet).

So that was our first fishing trip to Wyoming. Definitely a little bit of a let-down not being able to wade and such with my dumb knee, but hopefully we'll get back there soon and try it out again.

At least I got to see a lot of firemen...


madinelover said...

I love your pictures. Nice blog.