Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Let Me Take You On A Little Camping Trip Day 3

Well, here we are at day 3 and you're still looking for the bear. It's here, I assure you.

But first, and the crowd sighs "Aw crap", let me tell you how the walk went. The first picture is from the beginning of the trail.

The start
Then to give you a little perspective of how small we really are compared, take a look up.

That is one big tree
So we're walking along one of the "boardwalks" actually right at the beginning and some woman walks by us and whispers "There is a bear up there". I asked "Why are you whispering?" She said because there is a bear up there."

OK, Flatlanders. The bear could care less if you talk loud. Apparently the bear couldn't care if you were even there. So here you are.............

The bear
No accounting for the photographer (Moi).

As we continue on, the next picture is of a tree root. Not deep, but really wide.

Big roots
The next photo is of a Pacific Yew Tree. I've heard in the past that the Yew might have cancer curing abilities. Still to be determined. This spot is the southernmost extent of the Yew's "territory" if you will and the northernmost extent of the Giant Sequoia's "territory".

Pacific Yew Tree
Oh yeh, here is another shot of the bear. I guess the photographer has something to be desired.

When I lived upcountry, a tree like the one below would have kept me in firewood for years.

Walk between
A lot of the trees we came across were hollow like the one below.

Hey look! Another bear picture. I'm getting better.

Bear grubbing?
I would like to note that all the Flatlanders scattered when she (it was a female with cubs, but we couldn't see them) got this close. How close is close? She was about 20 feet away. A little later in the walk we came across a Park Ranger and she was the one who told us about the cubs.

She just kept scratching on the tree looking for bugs to eat. She wasn't very big, maybe 150 lbs.

I know there is lunch in there somewhere. 
I won't bore you with the other hundred or so photo's we took, but want to leave you with one to give you some perspective of just how big these trees are and these three are considered small.

The Three Graces
At the park they are big on naming each of the trees. I guess it gives them a personal attachment to every tree. Probably not a bad thing. The Three Graces are named for the Three Graces of Greek mythology (Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia). I'm not up on Greek mythology, but you can look it up. I'd put the link, but it's about a mile long.

So that was our June trip this year. Not a lot of fishing, but you don't see a bear up close and personal every day. I doubt I'll be out this week since it's supposed to be well over 100 degrees through Saturday. If I do decide to brave the heat, I'll be sure to let you know.

And the answer to the question from the first post was Sequoia. It is the only tree that uses every vowel in the name. Howard was the only one to hazard a guess and since I gave the answer in the post I decided not to send Howard any flies. Complain all you want Howard, it won't do you any good. Signed: The grumpy Geezer.

Stay tuned.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Let Me Take You On A Little Camping Trip Day 2

Just when you thought you'd get a bear story, I go somewhere else, but fear not, I will tell you a bear story.

What would be a camping trip without fishing?

Since Big Tree Creek turned out to be a swamp, I inquired at the visitors center and was told where to go, literally.

There were two options withing the park. I mean, I could have gone to Lake Alpine up the road a way or White Pines Lake back down the road a way or even Spicer Meadow Reservoir, but I've taken you to those places already.

So my options were: The North Fork of the Stanislaus River or Beaver Creek. So off we went. Besides there was Oak Hollow Campground we wanted to check out and see if they had spaces big enough for our trailer and that they weren't 50 feet from the Highway should we ever decide to come back and camp again.

The North fork of the Stanislaus River was in all it's snow melt raging glory. Kind of like the Cosumnes River back on June 5th, but a LOT more water and a LOT faster. Not anything a Geezer should be near. Beaver creek was our other stop.

Now this looks interesting.

Beaver Creek
I had the Park Rangers assurance that there were Rainbow Trout in this creek. Besides the sign by the parking lot said so too. My first fly was an orange stimulator. Only took three casts and the first Rainbow came to hand. Now I rarely say anything bad about my wife and current blog photographer, but she couldn't get the camera opened up fast enough for a shot of this huge 5 inch Rainbow. That was OK, there would be more, I was sure of it.

So while I was tempting and missing another half dozen fish or so, my wife and current blog photographer was catching some of the local butterflies having a drink.

Right in the center of the picture

You can see these a little better


This is a Monarch with wings closed
I didn't have a lot of space to fish at that spot so we drove back about a half mile and walked to another access. This one had more space to fish. Even though it was quite warm, I didn't want to wet wade because I only had one pair of sneakers with me and didn't feel like encasing my legs in my waders.


Got several hits in this area.

Several here too

Down stream
As it turned out, I got a lot of hits and like the Cosumnes, those little buggers were faster than I was. I only brought the one to hand, but had tons of fun trying to catch the rest. As we were driving out, a teenager walked across the parking lot with one about 9" on a stringer. I had all I could do to keep my mouth shut about him killing that little native Rainbow, but it's not my place to get into a pissing contest with some idiot. Enough said.

Once back at camp we decided to take a tour around the North Grove. The first two pictures are what they call "The Big Stump".

In the Spring of 1852 A backwoods hunter named Augustus T Dowd accidentally happened on a tree of monstrous proportions. This started the tours of the "Tree Giants". Like everything else unique, money became the draw. The following year this tree was stripped of it's bark and felled by ambitious speculators. Back in those days they didn't have a saw large enough so they used a long handle pump auger (a drill of sorts) and wedges to fell the tree. It took five men 22 days to drill all the holes, but the tree still took several days before it fell. The stump was planed smooth to serve as a dance floor, a two lane bowling alley, and a bar.  

It was called the "Discovery Tree". The diameter is 25 feet at the base and estimated to have been over 280 feet tall. When the rings were counted (to determine the age of the tree) it was found to be only 1244 years old. Relatively young for such a large tree.

So, what about the bear? You'll just have to come back tomorrow.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Let Me Take You On A Little Camping Trip

We made reservations at Calaveras Big Trees State Park about 6 months ago. For the last couple July's we've gone to Hendy Woods State park where I've shown you pictures of the big coast Redwood Trees. We're going to be there again next month.

But Calaveras Big Trees SP is famous for the giant Sequoia Trees. As the guide book says, there are two types of Redwoods in California, giant Sequoia's the worlds largest living trees and coast Redwoods the worlds tallest living trees.

We made reservations through Reserve America and picked a spot that looked like it would be a little way from the highway (Highway 4) and across from the meadow.

Our spot
Well, it was a "little" way from the highway. Say.....about 50 feet. All day long cars and trucks going back and forth. Oh and did I mention the road construction a quarter mile down the road from where we were camped? Jack hammer vehicles busting up rock on the side of the road, bucket machines loading truck after truck (while the traffic waited in both directions) and of course they ran up and down the highway past our campsite to get rid of their loads.

Now, let me tell you about the meadow across the road. I thought it might be a cool place since Big Tree Creek ran right through the middle of the meadow. I could already see the small trout coming to hand even before we got there.

The "Meadow"
The only place there was any water was at the bridge down the road from our camp site so the minions (small beings that speak an indecipherable language) could play in it. The rest was swamp. They even put a boardwalk across it so you could walk out and see the swamp. Oh boy.

We got to the camp site at 1:00 pm and by 4:00 pm I was ready to pack it up and go home. It was that bad. BUT my wonderful wife talked me into at least staying the night and see what the morning brought. 

Friday morning, after a good nights sleep, brought more construction, cars and trucks, but we did what any sane couple would do, and that was drive to the local wineries and go wine testing. At least we weren't sitting there listening to all the noise. 

This is one of the places we stopped. Please notice the name on the sign. Not the Ironstone name. 


You all know I've been delving into my ancestry, but John and Gail Kautz haven't popped up in my family, yet...........

I've actually known about the Kautz Family Farms for more than 30 years. Even took "Kautz Winery" wine glasses down to my brothers house in Long Beach one Christmas. 

I do hold claim to being the first Kautz to visit the winery that wasn't family. 

So we got back to the camp site later in the afternoon and most of the traffic was gone. Had some Carnitas for dinner and called it a day. 

Saturday found me on Beaver Creek, but you're going to need to return tomorrow to find out how that went. There is a bear story there too. 

Finally, the quiz for today. What is the name of the tree and it is the only tree that uses all the vowels. I'm thinking there might be a fly box with flies in it for the randomly picked winner. 

See you tomorrow.....

Monday, June 5, 2017

Well, That Was Fun

Last Friday when I finished the post, I mentioned I was going up to Cat Creek tomorrow.


Saturday, every body and their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grand parents, and great-grand parents, well maybe not great-grand parents, would be up there.

So I waited until this morning. Remember the last time I tried to get up here was only 3 weeks ago and the snow stopped me. Today, not a snowflake to be found. In fact, it was sunshine, blue skies, and 72 degrees. A beautiful day in the mountains.

On the other hand, there must be snow melting somewhere because the water coming down the river was COLD and fast.

The first picture is the pool below the bridge. If there was a fish in that pool, he was probably being smacked around so much that eating a fly was the last thing on his mind.

The pool below the bridge

The pool below the pool below the bridge.
So here is the situation, too much water running too fast to be safe for a Geezer especially since he was up there alone. I didn't see another person the entire time I was up there.

The upstream side of the bridge

The pool below the pool below the bridge.
I went a little downstream just to see if I could possible fish the pool below the pool, but no sense taking chances.

I drove into the camp grounds and found this little area that was pretty calm, but didn't see any fish nor get any hits. It was kind of nice, I had the whole campground to myself. There wasn't even a campground host there yet.  

At the beginning of the campground 
At the back end of the campground I found this little feeder stream and threw some flies in for a half hour or so, but again nothing. But hey, if you don't try you'll never know.

Nice little pool

Little better shot of the pool
At that point I thought maybe a little wandering might be in order. I got back on the road and kept going past the campground. By the way, I know I keep calling it the Cat Creek Campground, but technically it's called the Middle Fork Cosumnes Campground.

About 2 miles up the road I came across a little, what I thought was another drainage creek. Guess what, it was Cat Creek. Didn't find that out until I got home and looked on Google Maps.

Guess I should explore more because this pool was right under the bridge.

I fish the pool from both sides using a Sloan's Paralyzer and those little Rainbows hit it like there was no tomorrow. But hit it was the best I could do. I was only able to bring one 5 incher to hand out of probably 12 to 15 hits. Fast little buggers they were.

A view from the bridge
Then, and I don't know how they do it, at exactly 11:00 am the bite stopped. Nothing I threw out there got a look. I have no clue how they know. It happens so many times it's kind of eerie.

I'd give the river a couple more weeks and it should be fishable. Maybe when we get back from our mid-June trip in the Freedom Express I'll take another drive up.

Stay tuned.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Now, Back To Fishing

I've been concentrating on finishing the gutter project. Wednesday I put the final piece in place. The entire house is guttered. Me, I'm beat to shit. Up and down the ladder (that is up to the 3rd rung from the top of a 12' ladder and back down again) to measure, cut, measure again, cut, attach, rivet, caulk, and finally paint. For someone who has arthritis, that is a killer.

Yuki and I were supposed to go fishing today, but our wires got crossed, so we'll make it sometime next week.

Got a couple updates.

This picture was on the news this morning. Sonora Pass is Highway 108 out of Sonora (obviously) and over the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Image result for snow pictures sonora pass
Sonora Pass
This was also on the news this morning. this is Ebbitts Pass on Highway 4 out of Angels Camp. Still a bunch of snow up there.

Image result for snow pictures ebbetts pass
Ebbitts Pass
OK, how about a little Ancestry update. You know I've been digging around in my family's past, but I got knocked off my chair, not once but twice this past week. Great-Grandfather Gottlieb Kautz had a son named Christof (born about 1865). Now if you've done any Ancestry research, you know that Christof could be spelled any of 20 different ways. My cousin mentioned a Christoph (born 1785) that she found in an 1814 census. So I went back and researched him. Ya never know.

Right around the time he was born, two brothers and a niece popped up and they were on my DNA profile. If that doesn't knock one off the chair, I don't know what will until the next hit.

Following back about 9 generations, there is a point to this, I came across another hit from my DNA profile. All the same family. Here is where it gets good. Agnes Kautz (dob 1610) was grand-daughter of, you ready for this? Sir Jacob Kautz (1530), daughter of Sir Clas Kautz (1580), Brother of Sir Peter Kautz (1639)(wife was Lady Walpurgi), who's son was Sir Jacob Kautz (1658), who's son was Sir Christian Kautz (1691), who's son was Sir Dieterich Kautz (1727). If that ain't royalty, I don't know what is.

Here is where it gets even better. This part of the family lived in a town called Hanau. They are from the House of Hesse. Do Hessian Soldiers ring a bell? No, England hired 30,000 of them to come to America to fight in the Revolutionary War. I won't go into the part where George Washington kicked their collective German asses at the battle of Trenton, but hey, they were celebrating Christmas the night before and you know how those Germans like their spirits. I can say this because this is about my family. I still have to connect this family line, and two more I'm following to my family, but it's only a matter of time.

So being descended from German Royalty, does that make me a Royal Geezer???

I think I'll run up to Cat Creek tomorrow morning.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Think Trout Fishing Is Done Down Country

Yuki and I took one more shot at Lake Amador this morning. After today the temperature is going to rise rapidly. It's supposed to be 77 degrees today, but by Monday it's supposed to be 90 here and about 96 in Sacramento. After Monday, who knows, but much too warm for trout.

I also wanted to take one more shot at those little Bluegills, but with "3". And take a shot I did. Only problem I ran into was the wind. It was pretty calm when I got there about 9:00, but by 10 is was blowing hard enough that fishing with "3" was no longer an option, BUT I did manage a couple before I put "3" away. Fun.

I went to the truck and got my little Okuma and continued to hammer the Bluegills. I probably caught and released a dozen, but just didn't keep count.

Yuki had a couple lines out and I had one with rainbow Power Bait. And as luck would have it, Yuki went to the "little boys room" and he got the only bite of the day.

Being the nice guy I am, I reeled it in and it was a nice Rainbow going 1 lb. 10 oz.

Only fish of the day.
Now the question is who owns the fish? It was on Yuki's pole, but I landed it. Thoughts?

We also made a new friend. Ozzie (like Ozzie Osborne, his words) from Stockton. We filled him with stories of big catches, how to fish the lake, what to use, and managed to bomb with great flair.

Since my instructions (from the wife) were to bring home two Lightning Trout (which I obviously didn't) and Yuki was headed to the casino to lose more money, we gave the trout to Ozzie.

So I think it's time for my yearly Spring trip to Ice House for ice out. Maybe next week.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 15, 2017

It Was Just A Monday Adventure

General Trout Season opened on Saturday April 29th. As you all know upcountry has been buried in snow up to their wazoo.

Oh, before I go any further, the trip to Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park got cancelled. Not looking for any comments here, but Katherine's ex and the father of her daughter, got killed in a car vs train accident last Monday. We decided it would be better to be here in case her daughter needed her. As it turned out, she was way stronger than we thought and with the exception of lunch on Saturday, she has come through just fine. So please, no condolences needed. I barely knew the guy.

So today I decided to take a drive up to Cat Creek Rd and see if the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River was accessible. As in the past, just getting to the river was a challenge in Spring.

The first problem I ran into was the downed trees across the road. Thankfully someone (probably the Forest Service) was nice enough to go through and cut a passage.  

Big tree, small hole

 Then another.
 And another

As you can see in picture above, the snow started to show up. The drive from the highway to the river is about 8 miles.

More snow.

And some more.

OK, a little more here. 
Hey, nothing I couldn't handle. Right.

This was just around the corner. No going past this one. Be a couple more weeks before this is clear enough to get by.

So I made a Ya'll can turn and headed toward the house. Had to stop in Pine Grove (up the road from Jackson) at the nursery for a couple more vegetable plants.

But before that happened, I made a sharp right on the road to PIPI Valley Campground to see if it was accessible. Sure enough, clear all the way.

The creek was running a little high, but there were a couple of small pools that looked promising. I would like to note at this time, that the last few times I've fished here (this is also the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River) I've only caught one fish after walking the whole river from Day Use parking to the upper end of the campground. A distance of about a mile.

I started with a Sloan's Paralyzer just to the right of that rock in the middle. With "3" I was able to get several good casts, but still lost a couple flies to the trees.  

The I decided to see if I could navigate my way down to the pool under the bridge. Pools under bridges seem to be good on this river.

The following picture is from just under the bridge, down stream. When a dry didn't get any results, I put on a big, fat, nymph kind of bug and with a Tungsten bead and went deep. Worked it back and forth in the pool and even let it drift down stream a ways. Not a nibble.

Just for the record, I took another shot downstream. Thought you might enjoy the clarity of the creek.

On the way out, I stopped for a picture of the Dogwoods in bloom. I miss the ones we had out behind the house up the hill.

Dogwoods in bloom
It was a nice drive. About 50 degrees outside. I didn't take the water temp, but you can trust me on this, it was cold.

Made my stop in Pine Grove, stopped at Lowe's to pick up a new sprinkler timer and called it a day.

May get out to Amador or Camanche later in the week.

Stay tuned.  

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Short Trip Out To The Lake

I suggested we give Lake Amador another try and see if we could catch some more of the Lightning Trout. Our plan was to meet at check-in at 9:00. I got there at 8:00 and Yuki was already there. So much for sneaking in early.

We set up at the same place as last week and it wasn't very long until the first fish came on rainbow Power Bait.

About a pound and a half
I tried to put it back, but it was  a little too worn out.

Swish it around
Try to get some oxygen through the gills

I was unsuccessful so we gave it to some people next to us.

In between that one and the next one, Yuki got a bite on white Power Eggs, but missed it.

Then the second Lightning Trout came, again on rainbow Power Bait. This one a little larger.

Pushing two pounds
They give a much better fight than a normal Rainbow. No jumps (that I've seen) but good runs and a long fight.

While I was waiting for the next bite, I started playing around with a size 16 fly hook and a red worm for some of the little Bluegills swimming around the shallows.

Blue Gill
This one was the first, and the prettiest of the 15 or so I caught.  Fun on the little Okuma, but would have been far more fun on my 3 wt fly rod.

Yuki took off at 10 because of the heat (already 85 at 10 in the morning) and I left at 11.

That's it for this week. No fishing next week as we're off to Mt Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Stay tuned.