When I woke on Saturday, I decided to head off and my drive began to Rapid City and the Black Hills. I took route 16 up and I didn’t remember any of it and then when I got to Hill City I took a Forest Service road toward Slate Creek Dam, figuring I might fish the creek and I should be able to get a swim in. I got lost on the way in and finally go to the dam. There was a tiny pool left of the entire reservoir and the stream coming in was little more than a trickle. I drove back and went for a swim at the beach at Sheridan lake then drove to the Placerville camp to fish Rapid Creek. It was running just fine (in fact three kayaks passed me) but it had been fished so I had no luck. Still, it was a lovely stretch of water. Now I headed for lunch at Deadwood and I walked through a little of the town and had a broccoli and rice lunch before losing 20 dollars at one of the many casinos. Now it was time to head for the Spearfish Canyon and that was spectacular as ever. I did stop to fish at my usual spot but the wind and the clarity of the water left me with no hits. I saw many trout but they were much too skittish. Even though my knees were hurting, I went for a fairly short bike ride.
It was time to head on and when I got to Spearfish I decided to drive on and eventually stopped in a very expensive Comfort Inn and overate at a Perkins Pancake House. The motel was very nice and I went swimming and chatting with a fellow and his granddaughter. I was a little depressed about not catching any fish, the cost of the motel, and how painful my knees were. I even thought about cutting my trip short. But ice and 3 pain killers calmed be down though I didn’t sleep well.
I got up and did some writing on my Wharton paper and on my Kaatskill Life piece, then headed off for Buffalo. I was not going to fish or bike today, figuring my knees could use a real break, but when I looked at the map I realized that if I didn’t fish the ten sleep today I would have to backtrack quite a bit tomorrow. I decided I would fish just a little at my favorite spot, and I must say I was somewhat nervous crossing the mountains, worrying that someone might be at my spot. When I got to it, there was no one there and I slowly got my gear on and walked over to the first long pool. I got a couple of fish but it was a little slow. The next long pool produced three fish but it wasn’t until I got into the more difficult faster water that the fish really began to hit. I ended up with 15 trout and my knees weren’t too bad. After getting a campsite at the Boulder Campground, I took a quick nap then had an early dinner at the Deer Haven lodge, which is not open after being closed for many years. I drove back and walked along one of the forest roads then went back to Deer Haven for dessert and coffee. It was still light so I drove up toward Ten Sleep Lake and I found a number of interesting possibilities right near the road. I drove back to my spot and practiced for twenty minutes before heading to the campground to watch the featurette about Stand By Me.
I didn’t sleep well even though it was cool and I had the curtains down, but at 7 I awoke and decided to try one of the upper pools. I stopped at a promising section but there were footprints there and I only caught two small trout at the one of the distant pools. I was very disappointed so I drove back to my spot and though my knees hurt I fished about 60 yards and caught 4 trout, with a couple of 12 inch ones. Following that it was breakfast at Deer Haven and then a nap before heading off toward Greybull. I decided to play golf at the Midway course and I played very well, mostly from the white tees and shooting a 46.
I worked and had some pizza in Greybull, then headed off to the Big Horns, this time through the lovely Shell canyon. My memory is awful since I barely remembered anything about the canyon. I was tired and indecisive but I eventually found a place to nap, and waking somewhat refreshed, I drove to Burgess Junction for a very needed cup of coffee. Even with the coffee I couldn’t figure out where to stay and I wasted a half hour trying to figure that out. Finally I decided I would camp at the Elk View Inn, and then I went for a short bike ride and then for a long and meditative walk along 14A. I went to Bear Lodge for dessert and they said I could park for free on the road above the resort so I ended up there. The night was not pleasant because a broken down motor home started their generator after 11 just after the rain began, and I could faintly smell their exhaust. The generator continued intermittently and the rain was tremendous. Even with an OTC sleeping pill I didn’t drop off till after 3.
When I finally awoke around 7 it was time for breakfast and more writing on my paper and my article. I drove toward Lovell and left the Big Horn with fond memories. The idea of kayaking part of the Stillwater returned and after calling Adventure Whitewater, I was able to set up a trip on the upper five miles before the major rapids began. That sounded exactly right and the trip down was a lot of fun with several 2 plus rapids and nothing really scary. I was getting a little cold when White Bird landing came up so the distance was perfect. I really felt good about kayaking and it seemed to change the tenor of the trip noticeably. I did call Dave to try to come to Las Vegas, so I could cut the trip back a little.
The drive through the Beartooth Pass was amazing as usual and after picking up a salad to go, I drove into Yellowstone. There was hundreds of buffalo along the road and some grizzlies way off in spotting scope range, so I drove slowly, noting how muddy the Lamar was. I finally got to Canyon around 9 and there was just enough light for a quick bike ride, then I checked in and had an appetizer and tea over at the lodge.
The room was very nice and it had a shower so I was able to take a nice warm shower and wash my dirty hair.
I decided to write in the morning and then head off toward Lake. I stopped to visit the mud volcanos and then Dragon’s Mouth. Lake was lovely as usual and I was tempted to take a swim. I drove on to Old Faithful and stopped there for coffee and dessert, then decided to fish a section of the Firehole where another fisherman had stopped. I caught a 13 inch brown on about my fifth cast but then, despite fishing a wonderful looking 200 yards, I didn’t get a hit although I saw several fish rising. I then drove towards Canyon, stopping to fish the Gibbon for fifteen minutes with no luck.
The next day found me working again on my writing and then after a salad bar lunch, it was off to tour the park. When I got to the Gibbon, however, I found a spot that just looked too good to pass up so I stopped, worked my way down, and on one of my first casts brought in a 12 inch brook trout. That was it for this spot though I fished it hard and perhaps 200 yards. It still was a lot of fun to fish. After that I drove back to Canyon for coffee and dessert and then, after talking to a clerk in the sports store, went and fished the Virgina Cascades, above the falls out in the meadows. There were a ton of small fish (4 inches and up to 6) and I got 14.
I decided to leave early and try to cover some ground and things went well so I decided, after a bike ride and golf, to head for Coeur D’Alene. When I got there I went downtown and took a fine walk along the floating boardwalk and through the resort. Then I had some sushi and walnut shrimp at Bonsai Bistro, followed by another walk along the boardwalk just as the sun was going down.
In the morning I wrote some and then watched the Open and Tiger did okay but it will tough for him to win. Then it was the drive to Spokane, where I had a terrific meal at P.F. Chang’s (all vegetable). I then rode my bike back to the pool area past Gonzaga. I love that bike trail along the Spokane river.