turning your orbit around

or... the utter enormity of the task


i am a well-fed motherf%#er

jenn's dad and grandma are visiting. so far, we've made a trip to avon (vail) colorado for a shopping trip to the home depot. we've gutted the downstairs bathroom, taken out cabinets, sink, drywall. we've resized and reframed the door. we're rewiring and redoing the plumbing all with the goal of getting our stackable washer/dryer into this space. additionally, my dad and i are installing a screen door for our front door.

surprisingly, it's going pretty swimmingly, and my father-in-law really knows his shit.

my grandmother-in-law cooked the most amazing grandmother meal tonight, and i was transported momentarily to my grandmothers' kitchens: pot roast with carrots and potatoes, homemade crumbled noodles, homemade gravy, crescent rolls, green beans with ham and bacon grease (blech), and freshly sliced homegrown tomatoes.



colorado mountain thunderstorm

the sky turns the color
of a bruise
as "new slang" by the shins plays
underneath the wind coming in
through a cracked window

cottonwood seeds tumult
on wind currents below these windows
and the trees are bowed
and tired

the rain starts across the valley
over emerald mountain
in three minutes it's here
falling straight down
the wind is a memory
and the cottonwood puffs
have been pummeled into the wet
shiny grass

the water drips
from the curved metal roof
onto the concrete below
and becomes
a splattered chorus
a litany of watery invocations

i am finning in the river
i am safe in my slime
the water is my air
and i am far below
the malevolence above

i am in the current
then out of the current
and each drop hitting the surface
above me
for a moment is a connection
to that other earth
the one i dream of before the cars
and the concrete

a ragtag group of blackbirds makes its way
above and across town
i see them

i see them


greenback or cutbow?

i caught a beautiful 12 inch fish last night that i was almost positive was a colorado greenback cutthroat (click here for a cool article about this remarkable species brought back from the brink of extinction). what made it even cooler is that i caught it in town. it's mostly a high country fish, but they stock them in the yampa occasionally. they don't do terribly well in warmer water, which was why i was super happy to see it.

but, upon further review of pictures this morning, i think it might have been a cutbow. yep, you guessed it - greenback cutthroat and rainbow trout intermingle, get their groove on, and what results are hybrid cutbows. the slashed red throat is still there, but the coloration on the body is more like a rainbow.

either way, it still means that greenback cutthroat are surviving in the yampa. very cool.

in other news, christine and craigers are here all the way from chambana. damn glad to have 'em. they got in late last night, and we stayed up even later talking about the quality of hbo programming, the ridiculous proliferation of reality shows and craig's addiction to them, and really just life in general.

have a wonderful weekend.


"eventually, all things lead into one...

and a river runs through it."
-norman maclean

ahhh, rivers. creeks. brooks. streams. they babble and gurgle and riffle and roar at us.

it is rumored that da vinci said: "when you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come."

and so it is with this life. the river is death and life all at once; every inch of it is the end of one journey and the beginning of another; every water molecule is on its millionth reincarnation.

this was certainly the case for my friend rob. five years ago yesterday he experienced a cataclysmic personal event that would bring one era of his life to a close, and open what has finally become a new and glorious one. in the firehole river of yellowstone national park, rob was baptized and reborn. he has recovered from an event that makes my soul shake just thinking about it, and i love him for that.

and now, i try to approximate the same, but on a smaller scale. every evening on the water, the sound of the rapids and the reflection of the sun allow me to slowly forget the day before and become that rhythmic, pulsing version of myself. you say to yourself: it's just fishing, right? but it is becoming so much more.

yesterday around 5, the second hardest downpour of the summer ripped through town. the entire process took about 45 minutes, and as i loaded up the dogs to come fishing with me the sun had already returned. by the time i was on the water the air was still cool and the trees were dripping, and the sun was burning bright.

the rain turned the color of the water to chocolate. after 200 casts without a fish, just before sunset i hooked into a beautiful 14 inch rainbow.

i am learning patience and persistence.


overexposed 12 inch brown. Posted by Picasa

new super secret pool

i have found a new super secret pool, right in town. actually, it's not all that super secret (it's right behind mambo italiano), but no one ever seems to fish it. i caught a nice 12 inch brown (shown above) out of there yesterday, hooked into another bigger one briefly before losing it, and saw what was probably an 18 or 20 inch rainbow roll over on a fly after that. i'll be heading back frequently this week.

i just can't believe how great the fishing is right through the heart of steamboat springs!

this fish was really satisfying to catch. it'd been awhile since i'd caught anything bigger than 8 inches, and i caught him on the third fly i tried last night. i started with a wooly bugger, which imitates - among many things - leeches or very small fish. i let it sink at the top of the riffle, then stripped across and downstream through the pool. no luck. at this point, the fish started to rise, so i tied on a regular old elk hair caddis dry fly, and fished it on top for awhile. no luck.

and here's where i did some actual thinking about how the trout were feeding. when a trout feeds on dry flies on top of the water, they usually just sip them. it's a pretty relaxed move for the fish, and the surface of the water is barely broken sometimes. but the fish last night were bursting through the water, and even jumping. this often happens when trout are feeding on caddis emergers that are making their way up from the rocks on the river bottom to the surface. the trout get excited, dart at the insect just before it breaks the surface, and as a result the trout themselves wind up airborne.

so i knew i had to tie on a soft hackle caddis, which imitates the caddis fly in this stage of its journey. it's a "wet fly" that rides the current just below the surface. i tied one on, and sure enough, on my fifth cast i caught a fish.

occasionally, i almost feel like i know what i'm doing out there.


russell's jam

here's another one of our instrumental originals by russell, called headhunter.

he is pretty dang good, isn't he?

hope you enjoy it, and thanks for visiting!


slang flashcards: installment no. 1

when i left pikes peak community college, the folks there gave me some going away gifts. they were a nice bunch of people - i thought it was remarkable they gave me a going-away bash at all considering i was only there 11 months. anyway, one of those gifts was a set of slang flashcards. for all you folks out there not hip to the latest in slangology, i now present some selections from this set.

hella: to a high degree, exceedingly, very
synonyms - mad, way, stone, wicked
"your lumbar fascia feels hella tight."

crunk: 1 providing entertainment, amusement, excitement or enjoyment 2 crazy, insane
synonyms - wack, postal
"i can assure you that the tupperware party will be mad crunk."

jack: to steal, swipe
synonyms - bite, pilfer, purloin, shark, palm, boost, finger, filch
"what do you say we jack these office supplies and go back to my crib?"

po-po: police, police officers, law enforcement
synonyms - poeleece, fuzz, one-time, five-oh, pigs, boyz in blue
"in sum, my client was falsely accused by the po-po of jacking the family pet."

i wish you could see the dick and jane style illustrations that go along with these. truly awesome.


dave's helping someone at the desk...

so this is sadie (and marley too). we have to hurry before he gets back.

our human brought us to work this afternoon because he's taking us with him to russell's house right after work for practice. he and russell play braun's patio tomorrow at 5.

marley is licking her butt.

"am not!"

"are too!"

anyway, russell has a dog named hunter. he's kind of dumb, but sweet, and he never tries to hump us. we like to leave presents for russell in his yard. we make the presents ourselves.

our human has never brought us to work before during open hours, and we're not really supposed to be here. but we keep woofing at every library patron who comes to the desk, because you never know when some crazy human might attack.

dave says he's taking us fishing on sunday, either up to the elk's headwaters, or down to sarvice creek. i don't really care where we go, just as long as we get outside. his sorry ass hasn't taken us for a hike in over a month. i mean, my paws were in bad shape after our last one, so they took awhile to heal, but then he caught this fishing habit and now we only get walked around the neighborhood and on the ski area. friggin' bum!

okay, here he comes. hi to all those people out there who we forget about until we see your face when you come visit!

"what people?"

"marley, shut it."

"no, you shut it."

"no, you shut it."

"quick, here he comes!"


"i am not against golf...

since I cannot but suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering trout."
-Paul O'Neil

As this new obsession takes an ever increasing hold on me, i have realized that this blog will probably be dedicated to more stories about fishing. now, a few of my loyal readers will probably appreciate this - dad, paul, dennis, maybe timmy - but to the rest of you i wholeheartedly apologize in advance.

catching fish is absolutely electric. 50 fruitless casts, and then suddenly i'm connected to a wild animal on the other end. i fished for 45 minutes at lunch today. at lunch, people. what is wrong with me??

i ate a couple of new york style slices real quickly from paisano's (probably the most authentic new york style in steamboat), which happens to be across from the fifth street bridge. i ate my pizza outside and walked across the street to get a better look at the water. right below the bridge, on the ski area side of town, was a pretty decent looking hole. i went back to the car, suited up, changed my bwo from yesterday to a hare's ear caddis nymph. i put on a strike indicator (elitist, flyfish speak for a tiny, stick-on foam "bobber"), and went down stream so that i could work my way up.

no luck downstream. i finally made it up to the spot i thought looked pretty good in the first place, and brought in a 12 and a 10 inch brown. had a fair size one on - probably 15 inches - but i didn't set the hook well enough and he slipped it after i got him about halfway in.

this sunday may require a trip to the elk's headwaters, about 45 minutes north of town. that is, if i have time. this weekend is the arts council's big beaux arts and wine festival annual weekend, and i'll be helping jenn.

peace out, peeps.


folks, i may soon be in need of a 12-step program...

for flyfishing.

now, i've fished infrequently off and on for years, usually with my dad, and i've always enjoyed it tremendously. but something is different this summer. it's slowly built to a head the past 3 weeks, and now i'm reading everything i can get my hands on, learning about aquatic insects, practicing special knots, and always thinking about the next place i'll go. hell, i'm even dreaming about fishing.

on friday last week i caught a 7 inch rainbow, a 9 inch brown, and hooked into a very, very big rainbow that i promptly lost when i tried to muscle him out of the current.

this morning i woke up at 6:30 to go fishing. that's the earliest i've ever been up for fishing. ev-er.

i went to my favorite spot in town which was occupied by a couple guys who were decent with a rod but obviously didn't know how to read water because they were standing right on top of where the fish were, and casting in the wrong spot. so, i went downstream where the water runs deep and slow and there are some huge-mongous fish. unfortunately they're pretty smart, and i don't really know how to fish that kind of water very well yet. no luck down there. on my way out, i tied some tippet to my leader and put on a very small blue wing olive parachute. i then cast into a little pool above where the two tourons were, and on my third cast caught a tiny little rainbow.

though it was a tiny fish, it was satisfying because i had seen mayfly spinners on the water, and knew what i needed to use to imitate them.

this morning, i managed to outsmart a fish. sweet.