Happy Place

Hey Kids,

Sitting in the dark, with the wind to my back, and the kayak bobbing up and down in the waves one has time to think.bullfrog sunset

The water was too rough to head out so I tied the boat to the string of large tractor tires that form a wind break around the marina and took advantage of the artificial reef it also created.

Between the fish that fell victim to the jigs I threw out, I watched the full moon rise. It reflection and the lights of the marina flickered across the rippled surface of the water.

My thoughts focused on the beauty of it all. The smell of the lake, the warmth of the air, the coolness of the water, and the pull of the fish. There’s a simplicity to it. There’s a complexity to it. There’s a feeling of being part of it.

That is my happy place.

 

Post 3-162

A Stately Lake

Hey Kids,

Never ask a local about the Great Salt Lake, because most have never been there. It’s bigger than the state of Delaware, and yet hidden in plain sight.IMG_1175

Unlike the places described by Yogi Berra as “so crowded, nobody goes there any more”, the huge lake occupying a large part of the northwest corner of the state of Utah is an unpopular and unknown destination among Utahans. Most will tell you that it stinks and that there are too many flies. And if you press for directions anyway, even more will have no idea where to access the lake. Surprising to again even more, the lake hosts two of the top 5 visited state parks; the Marina and Antelope Island- visited, just not by locals. We went to the marina today.

The small marina is home to a small community of sailboats who set out onto this Inland Sea and find open waters and little traffic. The occasional motor boat is alone in its class, and kayakers, like we were today, have the lake’s shores and shallows to ourselves.IMG_1163

The slight breeze seemed to sufficiently fill the sails of the three sailboats we watched disappear into the horizon and yet it gave us little to no resistance in our paddling efforts. We stopped only when we found a sandbar emerged from the waters where we could beach our kayaks and get out to let out toes sink into the cool sand and warm water. It was as if we had found our own tidal atoll in the Florida Keys.

Part of me hopes that people learn of and enjoy this little big lake, in view and within 30 minutes from literally millions of people. The other part loves having this little salt water heaven to myself.

And in the lake’s defense, most can’t point out Delaware on a map either.

 

Post 3-148

Wind Sick

Hey Kids,

The week drew to a close. The boat was cleaned, the appliances switched off, and the doors locked. It was sad to say good bye to our home and friend born of our adventures. It had served us well, ran beautifully, and had kept us safe.

The bow bobbing in the slip seemed to wave to us good bye.

And then the next adventure began.

High winds accompanied an incoming storm. One that nearly tore the kayaks from our rooftop and tilted the car so far off of its suspension with its gusts, our loss of traction alarm sounded. We had to turn the truck into the wind and wait out the high winds until the front passed.

I have never been so sick of wind as I am right now.

 

Post 3-141

This Was The Day

Hey Kids,

Another beautiful day.

We took the kayaks a mile upriver and checked out Iceberg Canyon. The girls traveled much faster than I did, so I fish and picked up some smallmouth bass in and around the rocks in the mouth of the canyon while they continued up further.

We returned, ate some lunch and as the day began to stretch towards it conclusion, I paddled back out into the bay on water so calm it seemed like looking into a mirror. I found the school once again and caught stripers until it got so dark I couldn’t see anymore.

This was the day at Powell for which I had been waiting.

 

Post 3-139

Posted Retroactively

Blog Cancelled

Hey Kids,

I know that the rule of thumb is to do it every day.

The true professional, or the person most wanting to succeed, must put in the time, put in the practice, or punch the clock as it were; every day whether you feel like or not. I’ve adopted this approach to writing and especially in writing this blog.

Every day I put effort into this blog to bring something thoughtful, humorous, or to share my own ideas, values, or personal achievements. But today I’m not going to do my blog. I’m sorry but I can’t. You see after traveling the two-thirds length of Utah and arriving for our maiden voyage on our houseboat, I did something really stupid.

We arrived at the lake, unpacked all of our equipment and loaded the boat docked in the slip, I returned to our vehicle to release the kayaks from their roost on the roof. Although the same wind that blew against us the entire road trip continued to howl, I removed the ties from one of the kayaks and turned to tend to the strap I had just removed.FHD1839

The kayak, carried in the wind, much like it would on the water, landed straight onto the top of my head and nearly knocked me down to the ground.

The blood flowed. My wife and her daughter came to save me from bleeding to death and we got the other kayaks unloaded and transported to the boat.

Since then, my head gash, my neck, and my pride are going to keep me from writing my blog tonight and sharing what could otherwise be seen as a rather stupid and embarrassing event.

Please accept my apology and continue to think I’m as cool as I try to portray within the posts of this blog and to believe that I never do the same things as stupid people do.

 

Post 3-134

Flip Flopper

Hey Kids,

I used to always consider myself a cold weather person. The times I’ve been knee deep in a cold river, flicking ice from the rod line guides, and brushing snow off of my hat has happened more than once. In fact, I always considered the start of fishing season to be Labor Day, the unofficial last weekend of summer and the beginning of the fall and winter seasons. It ended on Memorial day in May.

I’ve noticed that others also wear that Cold Weather Outdoors Person medal with equal pride. If the mercury drops below freezing, a silver star is deserved. Below zero and a gold star is in order. And only a few people will be out there to earn it.

strawberry

I wonder why no one else is here??

Cold weather always means less people. And the colder it gets, the less people there would be and that’s always a good thing. Just last December, I fished in and around the ice sheets on a high elevation lake. Why? Because open water is kayak-able water. I spent the day alone on the water and couldn’t have been happier. Cold, but happy.

Even riding the bike, I’ve declared with pride that there is no “too cold”. I’ve proved it, at least down to 8°F. My saying has been, “So long as there’s no ice, I’m riding.” And I still stand by that.

However this summer, having already experienced the warm weather to our south, I think I might be more prone to embrace the warm weather this year. The motor runs better. The tires grip better. The kayak glides better. The fish bite and fight better.The sun feels better. Shorts and t-shirt fit better. And the flips flop better. 

Yes I’m a warm weather guy this season. The red rock desert will see more of me. And I just might stay like this for a while.

At least until Labor Day.

 

Post 3-117

Make the Lake Great Again

Hey Kids,

One of the pictures I currently have as a random cover header photo on this blog is on the Spiral Jetty on the Great Salt Lake. It is a land art project located on the northern shoreline. Refresh the page a few times and it’ll pop up.IMG_20150322_185821_183

Few, in comparison to the population surrounding the lake, have ever seen it. Few still are the number of Utah natives that even venture out to this inland sea.

The Great Salt Lake is salty, with shallow, muddy shorelines. The mud under the wind and sun dried crust is smelly. When the wind blows and stirs the lakes waves, the smell can overtake the entire valley downwind. People call it the lake stench.

The waters hold no fish; brine shrimp are the lake’s only aquatic residents. Flies buzz along the shoreline and larger flies bite people visiting the dry, half-burnt, half-inaccessible Antelope Island. The place and its rumored bug problem are avoided by most.

But the same Island holds one of the pure strains of Bison. Mountain sheep and elk roam the Island’s highlands. Sandy beaches on its west shore allows the few visitors a glimpse of being on an ocean, fully equipped with sun sets to take your breath away.

Deer and Antelope roam free. Watch carefully and you’ll see one of the coyotes too.

The Great Salt Lake marshes and distant islands gives migratory birds refuge and thousands of pelicans a place to nest. Sea gulls freely roam the skies and salty breezes and if one closed their eyes and listened, you could be on almost any pacific beach you could imagine.

Kayaks glide high and smooth on ofttimes glassy waters. Sail boats set out and roam far enough away to disappear into the horizon.

The Great Salt Lake is magical. A world of its own. In the lights of the large metropolis, yet separated enough to be called wilderness. It is the last remains of a once greater lake, Lake Bonneville. A true endangered species.

The lake currently sits at its historical low, surpassing the low level set back in the early sixties. A prolonged drought and continued diverted water have the lake gasping for life. Some fear it might dry up completely and become nothing but a memory and a dust bowl.

I hope we’re smart enough to know we don’t want that. I hope were smart enough to know the lake needs its share of water. I hope we’re smart enough to figure it out before it’s too late.

The loss would be unmeasurable, the health risks would be uncalculatable, and the sin would be unpardonable.

 

Post 3-038

Whew!

Hey kids,

I know it’s been like six days since I last posted, but what a six days it has been.

I last wrote on Wednesday, after which I worked my over night job.Walmart-Logo-880x645

Thursday, I made dinner for the kids and Annette.mac and cheese

Friday I went to a little diner with Annette where we sipped sweet tea and discussed and caught up on each other’s lives and jobs. sweet teaEnded up getting a little less than two hours sleep before the Friday over night.Walmart-Logo-880x645

Saturday, got home in the AM, took a quick half hour nap and went to a play.Big-river The play was adapted from Mark Twain’s Huck Finn so I couldn’t miss it. ice creamHad some Ice cream afterwards and then got my sugar crash and two hours sleep before the overnight gig. Walmart-Logo-880x645

Sunday meant Uinta mountain kayaks and a little bit of fishing. lake

Overnight, with three hours sleep.Walmart-Logo-880x645

Monday, at last, it was a holiday and I got some sleep before feeding the tribe and attending a Johnny Cash tribute concert.johnny cash

I apologize that I didn’t slip a blog post or two in between.

Life sometimes comes at you fast; you just have to live it and enjoy.

 

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