Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pinnacles National Park The Final Post

It's still Saturday afternoon and we're on our way back from the hike. 

A little more scenery.

More flowers

Hills all around

More of the dry river bed

Thought it was Purple Lupin, but not.

Sunset Saturday Night

A little better shot of the sunset

Turkey vultures turning in for the night

Maybe you can see them better

Sunday Morning and the Marine Layer is back

The quail family out of the dampness.
Saturday night the Park Rangers did a presentation on the bats that inhabit the caves. We passed since we have our own colony of bats at the house. 

So here is my take on Pinnacles National Park. Good place to go if you like to hike. Good place to go if you like cave exploring (and are able to hike that far), not a good place to go if you want to do some fishing.

If there had been a sufficient amount of water this past Winter, the wild flowers would have been spectacular. If there had been a sufficient amount of water this past Winter, Chalone Creek would have been full of water and that would have been a sight to see. All in all, it's worth the visit.

Katherine and I will do this again, but I think it will have to be after a wet Winter. It's a 200 mile drive from the house to the park. Not bad in terms of a weekend trip.

So that is trip number one this Summer. The next stop is Pine Flat Lake down by Fresno, California and a little fishing with Daniel Roloff on the Kings River.

Don't wait until then to come back, I've got a whole month of fishing ahead.

Till next time.   

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pinnacles National Park Part 2

Saturday morning we decided to take a short hike. Katherine, Myself, my Son, and my Grandson piled into the truck and headed up to Bear Gulch Day Use area. Got there, the parking lot was full. Drove back to the next parking spot, full. Finally found one spot at Peaks View about half way back to the campground.

Grabbed our backpacks, extra water, and off we went. I can pretty much highlight the trip with the pictures and then finish with a few more tomorrow.

Here we go.

Started here and had to jog to the right to get to the trail.

Bear Gulch Cave is up there somewhere.

Look like California Poppies, but aren't.
Just a yellow flower of some sort.

Chalone Creek, more later.
Almost like Snap Dragons.
There is a creek down there some where. More later.
An oasis among the dry desolate terrain and it's not even summer.

Another hill.
More hills
We hiked about a mile or so in the direction of Bear Gulch and then this Geezer gave out. Ken and Charles continued on and eventually ended up back at camp. Katherine and I walked back, but took a side trip up another path that eventually went to Balconies Cave, but here again, way to far for this Geezer.

BUT, along the way we did find this little creek in the middle of that wash (the fifth picture down) above that actually had a little water in it. Now to answer Bill's comment from yesterday, no place to put in a fly, anywhere. Any of the creeks we found were almost stagnant because of the drought.  

Water under the bridge
From where I was standing, I turned around the the water in the picture below just disappeared into the sand.

Water to the top of this little pond and then gone.
I've got more pictures for tomorrows post so stay tuned.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pinnacles National Park Part 1

This was our first weekend "vacation" trip this summer. We headed out of La Casa Kautz with Pinnacles National Park as the destination. 

Loaded and ready to go.
Pinnacles National Park was originally established as Pinnacles National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 covering only 2500 acres. It has steadily increased over the years until it was designated Pinnacles National Park, signed into law by President Obama on January 10, 2013, and is currently 26,000 acres.

I'm not going to go into the whole history of the park, but if you want to read about it, go here and  I think you'll probably find it quite interesting.

We met my son and his family in town and drove together the four hours to the park. We had side by side spaces reserved.

The park is designed for the hiker, rock climber, and if you're into caves, there are a few of them too. Only problem with a lot of the places to see is that you have to hike to get to them. Some trails are a little over a mile and others are up to eight or nine miles. Since I don't hike so well, we didn't see a lot of the "good" stuff, but here is what we did see.

I took something like 34 pictures so I'm going to split them up over 3 or 4 posts so I don't bore you with the home movies. Once you look through them, if you have any questions, leave them on the comments section and I'll do my best to answer them.

So here we go...........


A lot of quail

Our spot and the RV behind is my son's.

What was behind our spot
The area behind the spot dropped off about 15 feet and there was a very small creek on the bottom. That was everything from Friday except the presentation on the California Condor by the Park Rangers. They have this cool amphitheater where they show slides and give talks about interesting animals that inhabit the park. Friday night it was about the California Condor.

I won't go into a lot, but in 1982 there was only 22 in existence. The California Condor is a butt ugly bird with a 10 foot wingspan. It looks like a HUGE Turkey Vulture. With all the hard work the Park Service has done in protecting the California Condor, today there are more than 400 in the wild.

They continually track the birds and some even have GPS trackers on them that are even equipped with small solar cells to power the GPS. They breed them in captivity and then release them into the wild. They keep track of the eggs that are laid in the wild and protect them from predators. They are vigilant about what they eat because lead was what made them almost extinct. Lead from bullets.

The California Condor, like the Turkey Vulture is a carrion eater. Farmers and ranchers would kill coyotes and other varmints with ammunition having a lead bullet. The bullet would fragment in the dead animal and the Condor would eat the meat and the lead. Most died from lead poisoning.

Pinnacles National Park is one of only three places that breed the Condor. The other two are in Southern California and New Mexico. One hundred years ago the California Condor could be found in most of Washington, Oregon, California, and even a small space in Florida. Today there are 3 small spots on the map. Two in Central California and the other one in New Mexico. It was a definite eye opener.    

Friday night
The fog is the Marine Layer. If you're not familiar with the term, it's the fog that rolls ashore over night. They've made a couple horror movies about it, but no monsters here.

Another direction

Almost a full moon

The fire pit

I thought this was a Condor
During the presentation they showed the difference between the Condor and the Vulture and this is a Turkey Vulture, I think. Pretty hard to see from that distance.

That's it for Friday. Tomorrow I'd get into part two and the hike we took.

Till then....

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Another milestone. 200,000 hits and counting.

Again, thank you one and all for reading what I write.

With that said, I'm out of here. See you next week.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Camera Is All Better Now

Sorry for the lens problem on a couple of the pictures yesterday. Didn't realize it was dirty, but then in the heat of battle, who's looking at the camera lens?

Here's a couple of pictures Yuki took with his I-Phone. One of these days I have to learn to take pictures with my mouth shut.

I'm not really having trouble holding up the fish, I was trying to get sideways shots of all the fish at once. Didn't do too well. 

Yuki said he got 9 pounds of fillets from the four fish. Not too shabby.

And you guys, thanks for all the good words and the WOW's for both of us.  

Did I mention that it was near 80 degrees at the lake. And can you believe, last Monday we had snow. I know better than to wear black jeans in that kind of heat. Must have been a senior moment.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 7, 2014

WOW And I Think You'll Agree

The plan was to meet Yuki at Lake Amador at 0900. I got there at 0850 and hung around check-in until 0910 and then headed over to the area by the spillway. I told the girl at check-in that when Yuki showed up, send him over.

I decided to stop half way because I found a nice little beach area that would be flat enough to find a place to park my butt. 

There was also this nice path already cut in and it wasn't very steep. Being a Geezer I have to take advantage of everything I can.

This is only the top half of the path
 I could have gone over here, but you can see how far down the water is. I took this from the parking lot.
To the left.
About 0930 Yuki started down the hill. He'd been out on the point since 0830 expecting me to come out there because that's where we usually fish. So he came looking for me when I didn't show up. Crossed information I guess.

Yuki's first trip down the hill
The normal plan for Lake Amador is to fish one rod with Power Bait and the other with Kastmasters. The girl at check-in said that the shore fishermen were having some luck with floating night crawlers about five feet off the bottom.  

Being the Power Bait die-hard that I am, I put out one rainbow Power Bait and the other rod I put a crawler with a couple of those white floaty things I got a couple weeks ago at Glory Hole Sports. 

Between the time Yuki went up to get his gear and he made it back down I landed one in the two pound range. I'd not been there 30 minutes yet so I put it on the stringer. The outlook for more was good. I also rigged up the rod that had the Power Bait on it with a crawler and a couple white floaty things just to keep the crawler off the bottom.

Yuki got rigged up using crawlers on both rods and within a half hour he hit the Motherlode. Once he hooked up it felt and looked like the two pounder I caught, but the closer to shore it got, the BIGGER it got. In fact, by the time we got it into the net (it didn't fit all the way in the net, by the way) it was HUGE. On a side note, it was 26" long.    

Yuki's personal best 7 lbs. 15 oz.
Now, is that a WOW or what?

In less than a half hour I got my second hit. It started out just like the two pounder earlier, but the more it fought, the harder it fought. It was several minutes before I even saw the fish and when I did, it was BIG. 

My personal best trout at 7 lbs. 10 oz.
This one beat my personal best trout (I've caught bigger Snook and Amber Jacks) I caught in this same lake several years ago that was 7 pounds even.

How about another WOW?

Then in an anti-climatic finish, Yuki landed another two pounder. That is if a two pounder can be anti-climatic.

We got back up to the trucks and took this picture of Yuki holding the stringer with just short of 20 pounds of trout destine for Yuki's smoker. 

A whole lot of trout
Somewhere in Yuki's I-Phone is a picture of me with the stringer and probably a couple more shots. I'll post them tomorrow. 

There be BIG fish in Lake Amador.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Site You, As A Fly Tyer, Should Know About

I was just over on Joel's site A Year On The Fly and he was talking about the site Hammer Creek Fly Fishing and it sparked a thought.

We have a site that pretty much caters to the Eastern Sierra fly fishing community, but has an AWESOME amount of recipes for and AWESOME amount of flies and if you need the supplies to tie that one particular fly, he can supply the material. I wanted to pass it along while I thought of it.

This is Steven Ojai's Home Page. It has just about every fly you can think of.

Check it out.