History Brushing By

I work on a section of river that is well known to fly fishermen, here in the United States as well as in the world. The Green River is a destination that people save their vacation days for, fly from great distances to, and dream wild dreams about. The fishing here can be incredible. Clear waters, relatively easy access, and big fish.

This has not always been so.

154 years ago, Major John Westley Powell passed through this canyon as part of his historic expedition down the Green and Colorado rivers and through the Grand Canyon.

154 years ago, today to be exact.

The day began at Ashley Falls which lies under the waters of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, a few miles upstream of the current dam. And ended at Little Hole just over 7 miles downstream. It’s all written in the journals and history books.

As a very interested party to that great expedition, I am acutely aware that I am were they once were. I can only imagine that much of the river (besides the reservoir) looks the same as it did then. I can walk along the banks.and see almost the same thing they would have seen.

I rode from the dam to Little Hole several times today moving trailers. Each time looking at the waters and wishing I could see the four boats floating by. I could in my head but there was more.

Nothing physical happened. But I felt something, I felt a part of it. I made myself aware of the date, the place, and the circumstances; and history brushed against me, touched me.

I feel like i finally caught up to Major Powell and the 9 brave men that floated by with him.

Starting tomorrow, the ghosts of the past will be floating through the B and C sections of the river. I will also be looking for them again.

Time lost, or not.

Hey kids!

It’s hard to understand how a month slips by, but it has. I’m still in Dutch John but some things have changed.

For one, the weather has greatly improved. We are actually deep into the spring and threatening to go into the summer. The snow pack is somewhere around 50% melted and we still have a lot of run off to deal with, but it’s about to be on the down hill side of things.

I have left my paved and civilized campsite and moved up into the dispersed camp site area. I have a beautiful spot that over looks the lake. It is dirt roads in and no services available. I would not have survived earlier in this season up here, but for now and for the summer; it is ideal.

Things have been unsettled since I’ve been here. Somethings I’ll explain as things develop but currently I am again without my truck. It has decided it no longer wants to drive back and forth on these bumpy, dusty roads. Hopefully we will come to terms and reconcil this little difference of opinions.

The season is just about to get rocking. Labor day weekend is upon us. With two months already spent here, I think the time is going to go quick. I hope I can keep all up to date with a more regular schedule of posts.

One important item to note today is the date itself. It is May 24th. 154 years ago, John Westley Powell began his expedition down this river on which I find myself. He and 9 others (Sumner, W. Powell, Bradley, O. Howland, S. Howland, Dunn, Goodman, Hall, and Hawkins) braved the unknown and floated out of Green River, Wyoming.

154 years ago, three of them recorded the day’s events as the sun went down. Much like I am doing today but electronically. They were sitting on a bank under cottonwood. I am in my trailer, on a hill side, amongst the juniper.

If they had not, the details of their journey would have been lost. Likewise for me.

They had no idea who would take an interest in the future. Neither do I. Maybe I’ll have something of interest for someone 154 years from now. Maybe even sooner.

I just need to write, and let it all fall where it does.

Wyoming Wind

I wonder how big Wyoming would be if it didn’t blow half of itself away every other day?

Another night of rocking and rolling and tucking down deep in the covers.

PS- I know I’m still in Utah, but here on the northern side of the Uinta Mountains, we adhere to Wyoming weather mandates.

Getting to Know the Neighbors

Hey kids!

I actually escaped today! There is no invisible barrier to my escape from this valley. I took the now functioning-fine truck over the mountain and into Vernal Utah.

I got a good look around at what is available in Vernal, which is about 45 miles away. It has pretty much anything and everything I could ever need. I got my groceries restocked a d a few other needs taken care of. It’s a good resource to have relatively close.

Coming back towards Flaming Gorge I saw many, many deer neighbors. And closer to camp, the elk were back. I stopped and tried to have a chat with them, but they were uninterested. I enjoyed them none the less.

Upon reaching camp, I have new camper neighbors. Dale is from Maine and now, Denver and has fished this river for years. Tim and David are also from Colorado. Tim is a past ultra marathon runner who has hiked the entire length of the three sections of this part of the Green River. And David owns an exotic car dealership. They also said that they saw a moose passed by earlier. I would have loved to seen that.

This morning, along with the song birds, turkey calls and chukkar clucks filled the air.

I’m really liking my neighborhood and the neighbors within.

One Week In

Since my time here at Dutch John, things haven’t exactly been smooth. It’s been a little depressing, especially for a dream job. But today…

We finally had multiple shuttles! Yeah- more money.

I got my truck back! A little bit of money out (a lot) but it’s back.

I finally got a green river trout landed. 5 actually. A couple of 15’s, a 16, a 17, and an 18″. All browns and feisty!

Overall, it’s been a good day. Maybe the initiation phase is over.

Who’s the New Neighbor?

As I got ready to settle in for the night, I noticed I had some new neighbors. A herd of elk moved in across the road from me.

I stood in the snow watching them with awe. They grazed. Occasionally glanced over at me, but really didn’t me much attention. The younger ones chased each other around.

I noticed that I had stayed out too long watching them as i started to shiver and get cold.

It was at that moment that it occurred to me that it was I who was the new neighbor. This was their house. I’m the one outside of my element. They were having dinner and playing around.

Sometimes we think a little too highly of ourselves as humans. When actually we’re the outsiders looking in.

A Snowy Start

Hey kids!

Today was my first day on the job. For old man winter it was just another day at the office.

The snow came early this morning and just kept coming. Inch after inch. The small snow, the stuff that really piles up. As the old saying goes: Small snow- deep snow. Big snow- little snow. Or something like that.

After shuttling one trailer, it was time to turn it in. There was not to be any more business.

So I have sat in my trailer, watching the snow pile around me. I worked on some things that needed some attention, checked the internet for fan mail (haha), and generally cabin fevered the day away.

I’m expecting more of the same tomorrow and again on Wednesday.

It’s kind of hard to make a good first impression as a rookie when the seasoned veteran shows off.

A Little Walk in Time

I took a little walk along the river this afternoon/evening. Covered about 2 miles round trip.

The walk brought back memories of days long gone and fishing when I was a much younger man. Those were some fun times.

I started the walk at a place called Little Hole. A place where it was recorded that John Westley Powell and his company stopped 154 years ago.

I believe most people concentrate on the fishing when they walk this path. I also fished, there’s no harm or judgement in that. But I wonder if anyone also thinks of the history that flows through that valley just as much as does the water.

A Leap of Faith

As much as I like to think I’m adventurous, I tend to lean on the side of the known.

I kept a steady job for 30 years. It was safe. Although I might have pushed boundaries within that world, I was almost always sure of my footing. I had a plan and I carried it through. 30 years and I was out.

It took about 2 months before I was getting nervous about finding a job I would enjoy. A friend recommended me for a warehouse job and I took it. Steady as a 40 hour/week could get. I could have safely stayed there forever.

Yesterday I learned the whole meaning of out on a limb. Sure I had been to the Green River before, but to set out unsure of the road conditions (it has been snowing every other day lately), if I could time out the storms correctly, whether the truck could pull the trailer over the long steep grades, whether the trailer was going to hold together, arriving in a town I really didn’t know, not knowing where to meet anyone, not knowing where I was to park my trailer, whether I had prepared correctly for the single digit temperatures coming up this week; it was all a guess.

I survived. I found a spot. I’m going to meet people today. And the trailer and truck are working just fine.

I’m out here. Still not sure if this was the best decision. But here we go.