Friday, February 28, 2014

A Ski Along the River and an Afternoon Owl

This month has been a bit overloaded for me. I've gotten out a few times but I've mostly watched the snow pile up as I've spent far too much time working. Upon completion of a major work project just before the deadline I grabbed my cross county skis and headed for the river flood plane near our house.

It wasn't an epic adventure or anything, but sliding around quietly I came upon some beautiful views and a few birds.

River ducks and Ward Mountain

Duck take off and landing marks I think.

In the woods an owl flew by and me and landed in a tree. I set my camera to burst mode and watched him for a while.

Max electronic zoom.
Just as I was turning to leave he began to fly and I caught a burst of him in flight:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ice & Snow

Ice sheets colliding on Lake Como

I love watching the changes in nature as weather ricochets from one extreme to the other.  Here are some photos from the last month from bitter cold, clear days to the heavy, wet snow melting on my roof now.

Deep, fresh snow at Lolo Pass

Lake Como

Slush and ice floating down the Bitterroot River

The flicker eating crabapples in our front yard

Ice on Lake Como

Half frozen lake at the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Preserve

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ultra-cheap, Ultralight Short/Kids Tenkara Rods

Two collapsed sub $10 5.5' and 7' rods at top with an 9' foot all-fishing-buy rod and 11' fountain head rod at bottom.
I've been an extremely casual fly fisherman since I was a kid. I've always enjoyed exploring mountain streams and practicing casting more then actually catching fish. In the last few years I've found that Tenkara is a great match for my style, the gear is simple and light enough to carry on a hike where fishing is only an afterthought.

A few casts on an overnight trip in the cascades.
Tenkara USA and Tenkara Bum sell a variety of nice rods, I've had good luck with my cheaper 11' Fountainhead Stonefly and a cheap 9' rod I bought from all fishing buy for brushy creeks.

Working my way up a small stream with minimal gear on a warm day.

My young nephew has started to express an interest in fishing so I decided to see what was out there in terms of cheap and short rods. In turns out that you can find a variety of rods on amazon and ebay using searches like"Como Telescopic Fishing Rod For Travel."

I bough two, a "Retractable 7 Sections Telescopic Blue Fishing Rod 2.1M" (about 7') and a "1.7M Length 6 Sections Fresh Water Telescoping Fishing Pole Rod Yellow Black" (about 5.5'). I bought both from the seller uxcell and they showed up in a single package after a couple of weeks.

Current conditions are not the sort I fish in.
 I haven't had a chance to use these rods yet but I'm initially impressed by them for the price. The shorter one feels a bit dead due to the short length but the 7 foot one seems lively enough to enjoy casting with. I'm looking forward to trying them as an ultralight option for myself in addition to teaching my nephew with them.

Both my rods came ready to fish with firmly attached lillians. 
They lack any sort of handle but are extremely light and compact. One user review on amazon compares the rod to an unfinished blank and suggests fashioning a handle on ones own. The small diamater of the grip region will be nice for my nephews small hands though I may add some cork road bike handle bar grip tape.

I plan to set them up with TenkaraBum Hi-Vis Fluorocarbon and tape some paper clips to the rod as a line holder. I'll start my nephew out with a short, easy to manage line but i'm I'm curious to experiment with using a longer line on them for more reach. I may also pick up a longer (12-15') one for myself at some point as even my 11' Stonefly is a bit short for larger alpine lakes. Building ones own "zoom" mechanism to allow a variable length rod would also be a fun project.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Warmer than hot chocolate

In honor of the nation-wide freeze today, here are some of the warmest things I know:

Bouldering in the sun

The smell of flowers wafting on a hot breeze

Sweating in a raft before jumping in the river

Cuddling in poofy coats

Baking in a tent to avoid mosquitoes

Scouting rocks during the heat of the day

Belaying on a sunny ledge

Stay warm out there!