Monday, June 26, 2017

A Spur Of The Moment Trip

I got this wild hair at 7:00 am this morning that I wanted to see if I could get up to Upper Blue Lake and maybe catch some of those holdovers. With all the snow we had this winter, there was no telling how far I could get. I was so focused, I didn't even stop for coffee at Cooks Station. Must have been something wrong with me.

First stop was Silver Lake. As usual Silver Lake being inherently windy, was windy.

Silver Lake
Up and up I went. I didn't see any snow until I got to 8000 ft and then it was only spotty. Up past Caples Lake and over Carson Pass down to the Hope Valley turnoff (also know as Blue Lakes Rd). I noticed in passing that Caples Lake campground was still closed. As I drove by Hope Valley Campground where we'll be in August as usual, it was also closed. Then a sign that said the road was closed 7 miles ahead. So I did the only logical thing and that was to keep going.

At 7 miles the gate was OPEN, yeh!!! At 20 miles the gate was CLOSED, Boo. So I did a Ya'll can turn and headed back. Thought I take a look at the West Fork of the Carson across from the campground and see if anything was cooking. As you can see below, a lot of water.


I stopped at the turnoff from Highway 88 and chatted with a very nice Highway Patrolman and avid fisherman. He was chomping at the bit to get his son up to Upper Blue Lake to fish, but even with his pull, no go. He mentioned couple things. Always best to talk to the locals.

One, the East Fork of the Carson was completely blown out from all the runoff coming from the snow melt on Ebbitts Pass (Highway 4 above where we were last week). This is the end of June and Ebbits Pass is still not open so you know there is a LOT of snow still up there.

Two, Fish and game isn't planning on planting, even for the holiday weekend, because of the high runoff. He thought maybe Caples because they just opened the launch ramp and that's the only place they will plant.

I headed back and like the glutton for punishment I am, stopped at Red Lake.One guy fishing there, but no bites. I decided to throw a couple lures. Started with a silver Kastmaster, followed with a Gold one, then the pink one, and finally a black/gold Panther Martin. That was the one. Four casts out and I hooked up with a Cutt about 11 inches. Remember I mentioned bonehead, well I left both my camera and my phone in the truck, so no picture of the biggest fish I've caught in Red Lake in about 4 years. That was it for the day.

I pulled off the road and took the shot below of Red Mountain (across from Red Lake), just a different angle.

Red Mountain
And since I had a gold Kastmaster on (the only lure I've caught anything on in Caples in the last 4 years), I decided to pull off at the dead tree and throw a few. Yup, all I did was throw and retrieve.

Toward the end of Caples. Still some snow up there.


And toward the spillway.

Well, that was it for the day. 

Having a little HTML trouble. 

Stay tuned.

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.