I Lucked Out


At the backcountry office at Old Faithful I was seeking a place to camp for the week. As I was waiting for the newly minted worker to gather up my forms a phone rang and the gist of the conversation was that a choice campsite on Slough Creek was available – including reservations with the outfitter. I quickly made the arrangements and am going fishing starting today, right now, out the door; 4th of July and all.

The Webliography on snowmobile wars is in very rough draft form. It may take two or more weeks after I get back; so be it.


The wildfire north of town is laying down and looks to be about controlled.


Fishing On Opening Day


another-bison-jam.jpgI went fishing on Saturday. Went up to the Firehole and fished in Biscuit Basin – just like about 300 other people. It was fun and it was sunny and it was just like a picnic.

There were buffalo and elk and tourists and fishermen and rangers and smog and honking horns and tour buses and all of the good things that make Memorial Day Weekend such a joy in Yellowstone.

I talked to some women who felt that the crowds detracted from their experience, but they went along because their husband’s just wouldn’t miss the chance to be first on the river.

I suppose that’s important. I was about number 200. I caught some fish and I enjoyed the beautiful weather. The temperature was just perfect if you found the right patch of shade.

A nice fisherman in pretty blue waders told me that the Blue Wing Olives and March Browns were hatching and that I needed to use his special fly. I asked him what it was and he said it was a Midge imitation that he invented himself. It was so small that I had trouble getting it on the tippet.

prince.jpgI didn’t catch any fish with it. It didn’t float too well. I did catch a real nice trout on a Prince Nymph that was about 1/2 inch long – size eight or ten; I’m not real good at this yet. I found a neat web page that is written by a local kid that has good information about the Firehole River. It’s called “Firehole River” at Yellowstone National Park.com.

baby-trout.jpgThe baby trout were very hungry and I caught a bunch of them. After a bit, I went to the car to get my camera so I could take a picture. What a jinx that was. But I did get a nice baby trout picture of a fish caught by a fisherman from Utah.

I’m going to wait until the end of the week before I go back. There are just too many cars, and the kid at the fly shop said that we should have a slow week starting about Friday.


griz.jpgThere’s been a lot of talk about the “grizzly bear expert” that was mauled by mom while defending her cub. And gee, he was only three miles from the road and alone and in the Springtime, and in bear country, and he’d been mauled before – a genuine expert at getting mauled!

There’s an article that I wish I’d written: An Open Letter To Jim Cole, Grizzly Expert. (Once He Gets Out Of The Hospital.)

Scam America – Redux


scam-1.jpgAmid the many concerns about fees, snowmobiles, shooting elk, diminishing budgets, reduced staff, low visitation, and a myriad other issues; there is one constant and nearly silent threat that is relentlessly pushing forward into our national parks.

Privatized Commercialization: the insidious and creeping attack on a system that used to be the model for the world. Attention is given to this attack by the press on slow news days. Activists notice only when their pet ox is about to get gored. The blog sphere finds it useful for an occasional note. And the American public is absolutely oblivious.

scam-2.jpgAmericans are a wonderful target for the slick marketing of advertising; and often-times don’t even know when they are being “SOLD” something.

Such is the case with the “NEW,” “EXCITING,” “CONVENIENT,” and “EFFICIENT,” reservation system touted by the Feds. This brings national resources to the monitor – just click. (I wonder who pays the development costs and hosting fees and maintenance bills?)

scam-4.gifAs noted by Scott Silver in Wild Wilderness, This “NEW” system was actually founded two decades ago as a software development company.

YEOWEE, girlfriend, did they develop! Now they are the interagency one-stop shop for campground reservations. They are a “Partner” busy selling things that aren’t even theirs. In fact they are the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ stepchild of the TICKETMASTER CORPORATION.

This is as American as it gets! This is also as insidious as it gets! There are eleven governmental agency ‘partners’ that are listed. Bless their hearts, they don’t have to spend money on a reservations staff now.


scam-5.gifThese guys are good. The site design is similar to the ‘official’ NPS site, (and other dot gov sites,) the vocabulary is reminiscent of nothing so much as scam-6a.gif“agency speak” and “park speak,” and the design symbols shriek “MY GOVERNMENT IS HELPING ME!”

This is a convenient site, it has news, and it even has a nice map with dots to click on. It’s easy to excuse this as just one way my government is helping me – – – right into a fully privatized National Park System.

This is tough stuff. This is hard core. This is reminiscent of the case in Yellowstone.

scam-3.gifFor more than a decade the winter use plan for Yellowstone has focused on “the snowmobile problem” and ignored access for people.

This has allowed the purveyors of tanks and buses and vans to slip into the door with giant fees and diesel engines and the dictation of winter use activities. The unthinking NPS and other AMERICANS have bought it. Good sales. Bad policy.

The National Park Service just loves this kind of ‘partnership.’ They can abrogate their responsibility along with their concern for either the parks or the public.

Magicians and marketeers and entrepreneurs love this slight of hand. Look at the right hand & I’ll do it to you with my left. Soon, there will be a sticky web of deceit that we think is “our government” – but really it’s just a disguised tour business. Will there be ‘overbooking’ like the airlines? Will there be accurate descriptions? Will there be any deceit at all? Of course not, our government agencies are ‘partners.’

This is not new. This is old. The Northern Pacific Railroad did it to begin the infiltration of Yellowstone, and it’s been going on ever since. It happened in the early history of Niagara Falls and continues to the recently added casino. And it will continue to happen. It’s American as apple pie. We just love the convenience. And we’re suckers for slick marketing – just ask Xanterrible.

    Interesting Reading:

Commodification of Nature
Make The Parks Profitable ??
Monopoly Reservation Contract
Outsourcing America The Beautiful


At And Above Treeline

The Beartooths Are Calling

greenough-lake.jpgI just stumbled across a wonderful site that makes me want to hasten spring a bit. The Beartooth Mountains have always held the hiker-fisher in their thrall, (me too.) I was there once and only spent a single night under the cold clear sky. Next year, I shall get there again.

The site: Fishing The Beartooths is astonishing in it’s completeness and is very ambitious. From kids fishing to a reader’s forum, this site, (I think it’s brand new,) bears watching. There are sections on where to fish, GPS information, a gear section and contests.

The site was listed in the Outdoor Section of the Billings Gazette, and is run by Jesse Roberts, the office manager at Big Bear Sporting Goods. This quote from the introduction outlines ithe agenda:

“. . . It won’t be an easy task for the office manager at the Billings Big Bear sporting goods store. The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area encompasses 930,000 acres and has more area above 10,000 feet in elevation than any other in the United States, according to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Narrowing his research is the fact that although the mountain range contains more than 900 lakes, 600 of them are barren of fish. Undaunted, Roberts has already outlined his summer vacation schedule – hiking trips to 52 lakes.”

Energy abounds!

A Walk, Some Fishing, Wine, Web Stuff, Skiers, Snowmobiles


upcabinriv.jpgI spent too much time at the computer on Saturday. Forgot to post anything. So, here’s the latest.

Sunday I went fishing on Cabin Creek. It’s about 15 miles from town and the road is plowed. There were still some fish below the campground and where it goes into the Madison river. After the sun came out and the trees started dripping I walked upstream to where it gets narrow and took some pictures. None of them came out close to the way I saw them – oh well!

I finished the number crunching for heavy particulates and dispersion patterns, then jiggled with the models. I’ve added a sidebar widget for new and updated material – it’s way down on the bottom left. As soon as I figure out to make the text links work in the widget I’ll fix that part too. The pages on culture history are roughed out and when I get some time away from the snowmobile morass I’ll get back to the earth sciences. Right now everything is a bit rough.


aspicywine.jpgI noticed a post in the Winehiker about the nouveau wines – I’ll go to Bozeman next weekend if they don’t make it to our village by then. The wines are usually cheap and good enough for my standard hot spicy wine recipe that I do in the winter – maybe the French had this in mind to make them drinkable.

The recipe is simple enough:

Hot Spiced Wine

1 Bottle of red wine
2 (or 3, or 4) oranges
several teaspoons/tablespoons of sugar
3-4 whole cloves
2-3 sticks of Cinnamon
Brandy (or Madeira – to taste)

Add the wine to a pot and heat gently on the stove. Peel and slice one orange into slices and add them, along with the juice of the second orange. Add several whole sticks of Cinnamon and the cloves. Bring the pot to a boil for a few seconds, (not too long – the first steam is the alcohol,) then turn the heat back down so it is barely simmering, (or less.) Add the sugar, (to taste – I like a lot,) and brandy and serve in thick mugs.


rachelsteer-in-o6-end.jpgThe early ski season is upon us. 300 obnoxious adolescents for “ski camp,” about 120 athletes from Sweden, Germany, Finland, France, and our own U.S. Army, National Guard, and Reserves. oit-biathlon-women-russia-gold.jpgThe Olympic biathlon teams are straggling in and getting fit for stocks at Altius, (as in swifter and stronger.) The Norwegians are doing it alone for now. This year’s schedule is really a mess. And then, the Russians are being secret, and strong again.

There are too many grubby men skiers in this world. They are also; loud, arrogant, entitled, imperious, and unwashed. Maybe they think they can be themselves in this little village and nobody will notice. We do! Hell, they walk 5 abreast in the middle of the street – “Look at me – I ski!”


I’ve got most of the data together for the ‘clean snowmobile’ post. copy-of-snowmobile-zero.jpgLast year there was another zero pollution sled built by Utah State University researchers. Several others are cleaner than a Prius. Why don’t the NPS planners take this changing technology into account? Who knows.

One sled was even provided by the NPS – they have ignored the results! The sleds were so quiet and clean that cross country skiers shouting at each other were at least two orders of magnitude louder. God bless the bureaucrats! More on this soon; time to run.

Blue Sky No Fishing


This was as nice a fall day as winter will allow. Bright sun and 40’s. I set the steaks to marinade in some Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I then went to the Firehole with every intention of fishing.

I decided to visit Fairy Falls instead. It’s a nice walk, about 3 miles round trip and the trail was damp but not mushy. The Brookies were plashing and playing and the snow flies were thick enough to be annoying. The walk was brisk and invigorating. Forgot the damn camera again. It’s just not a part of me yet.

I returned home to clean up after the party and do the dishes – what a mess. People are pigs. Everything went just fine and both the social and political agendas were completed without too much pain. After the dishes I joined the computer for some serious organizing and rearranging.horr_018.jpg

horr_031.jpgThen a quick run around the town, (6 x 6 blocks,) and back to tidy up the house and have dinner. I had to hurry because the local cable company only carried the ROCKY HORROR SHOW at 11:00 instead of 12:00. It’s kind of a childish ritual, but horr_032.jpgI like to see it once each Halloween – so I can use my Bic Lighter and squirt gun. Yes I had a guest – no names by request.


hot-aa.jpgDinner was a purely primitive affair. Fillets, wine and bread. As they say in Texas “BURN ‘EM.” Most folks believe that that means well done. What it really means is to take a room-temperature steak and slap it in a red-hot, ungreased, cast iron skillet.

When it starts to smell like it’s burning; give it another minute and turn it over. The best pan is one with ridges on the bottom, but I seem to have misplaced mine in the move. Flat works fine. The camera was in the kitchen so I’ve got indoor shots instead of out door shots.

hot-oa.JPGA 1-1/2″ steak comes out fork-tender, juicy, and just perfect. The seared charring on the outside is thin and adds a wonderful accent to the meat, and bread and wine.

hot-ob.JPGMost chef’s would scream in horror at waking up the meat so violently – I’m not a chef. Anyway, it’s quick and flavorful, and I like a pink and juicy steak.

hot-od.JPGWhen the steaks are done let them rest a minute or two before cutting. Not much longer or there won’t be any juices to sop up with the bread. People are pigs – I love it. As I mentioned the meat is still very tender and will stand up to 40 – 50 seconds in your microwave if necessary, (horror of horrors!)

hot-oe.JPGThe wine was surprisingly good after 10 years in my mothers wine rack. I opened it when I started my shower. I poured it in a large-mouthed carafe and swirled it a couple of times during cooking. It smelled like a dusty rug when I opened it, and I was sure that it had turned to vinegar or something worse. Well, who says that California red’s won’t stand a little age?

hot-of.JPGThis particular Cabernet Franc was scrumptious. It smelled like wet roses, tasted like very old grapes, and finished like a slow heartburn – but pleasant and lingering. The tannins are both smooth and strong, and yet without any hint of vinegar. The third glass, (with the bread and meat juice,) was as smooth as could be and hinted at both plums and berries, (and – dare I say it – nectarines.) This wine was laid to rest in my mom’s house in 1997. I meant to drink it then, but travel and work kept me away. Mom never turned it, never dusted it, never molested it in any way. It has probably seen both 60 & 75 degrees. Still, it was a welcome surprise. I’m sure it was the last bottle in the world. Francis Coppola, Cabernet Franc, 1990, 9,942 bottles produced, (this was bottle #3649.) If you have some – don’t give it away.


Speaking of wine; there was a nice note in the Wine Hiker Blog. I would never have known it, but, I just discovered a statistics section on my dashboard, and some links in the RSS portion on this blog, (I don’t always look that closely.) So I visited the site and looked very closely. It’s a fully developed web site, and much more than just a blog. It’s a small company that will take you on a custom tour of the California wine country. I visit the site about once a week and never went beyond the blog.

Anyway, I appreciate the link, and the reminder that I have to turn on the comments if I want responses. That’s fine and I will do so – when I remember. Comments ON!


Happy Halloween. Now, is that oxymoronic or what? Anyway – here’s a neat picture or four of fishy Jack O’ Lanterns that I accidentally-on-purpose stumbled onto. (click for full-sized rendition.)
jack-o-fish.jpg fish-pumpkin.jpg

petrafiedfish.jpg piratefish-pumpkin.jpg




The Remington arrived today. If the weather holds off for one more day I can test fire it and get some case preparation underway. I guess that long winters may be a blessing.

Fishing In The Rain (& Snow)


ad-falsno.jpgI took some time off yesterday to visit Yellowstone and get in some fishing before the park closes for the transition to winter visitation. The snow is still light and most disappears in a day, except on the high peaks around the town.

ac-first-fall-snow.jpgFishing is still very good and there are very few people or cars on our side of the park. The usual crowd is clustered around the Barns Holes and in the meadows at Madison Junction. But there is plenty of elbow room on the Gibbon and on Nez Perce Creek. I spent about two hours fishing at the first parking area below the meadow, (I better learn the local names,) and enjoyed the snow and the fish.

belitesno.jpgThe snow was more like a mist, and it was very warm and stuck to the shady spots only. The day started out very nice with blue sky and big fluffy clouds and I felt very righteous as I continued to work and look out the window. It finally got to me & I packed up the computer grabbed my new camera and made fishing preparations. The sky was closing in when I left for the park.

I took dad’s bamboo rod and the old English reel. It’s about an eight weight, (according to the guy at the fly shop,) but it casts very nicely and the line just floats to the water. I spent about an hour without any encouragement and changed flies twice. Finally I put on a “Toad Bunny” – a big green rabbit fur strip with feathers on the side – and scared the fish. They splashed at it and refused it in a most spectacular fashion.

I went to the big bend where the unnamed tributary comes in and crawled up to the edge of the Madison and casted the fly way up stream and let it float and sink into the deep slick by the buffalo trail. I saw the line stop, and then felt the fish. It was a nice Brown Trout about 20″ long and it took some time to land. It was dark when I released the fish. I came home and had some artichokes with butter and mayonnaise. A sinful reward for that fishing adventure. Soon I’ll get a 22″ trout – I know it!

a-nude-hiker-bw.jpg ================

Speaking of big fish: my feed reader brought forth some more chicks in brief attire, courtesy of the fishing blogs. I can only respond with the simple fact that backpacking is much more fun with a good guide.


This morning I ordered the rifles for next year’s season. Hunter class benchrest is undergoing a revolution in cartridges at the moment, and a new contender is making a strong showing at the matches. The 30 BR is doing very well & I almost ordered one. However, conservative that I am, I ordered a well smithed Remington in .308, and a Tikka – also in .308. I’ve added some pages about the cartridge and will update them with the rifle specifications soon. If I get beat too badly by the new cartridge I’ll have to re-barrel the rifles.

Time for dinner and the news.

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