Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vacation Report Day #2

Scott and I woke early Wednesday morning, trying to make a game plan for the day as we walked to the lodge for a delicious breakfast featuring sausage and eggs in a breakfast burrito! The kiddos all slept in, so we were in for a quiet breakfast with another couple from Missouri who were touring Yellowstone Park. It had showered in the night, so the grass was wet and the air smelled damp and musky, like the mountains do, only intensified. We decided we check on possibly horseback riding, but because of the rain, the guide was a little tentative, so we decided on plan B: a trip to the top of Beartooth Pass to maybe find a lake to fish in.
After taking some breakfast back to the lodge for the kids, we readied for the day, loaded the lunch supplies, cameras, coolers, and fishing poles and headed out on the Beartooth Highway. The sun was starting to peak through the clouds, by this time, so the sun would shine through onto the trees, making shadows and then hide behind the clouds again. About 3 miles up the road, we started to see a little snow here and there and we saw a young cow elk, heading down the mountain looking around curiously at the sparse traffic. The longer we were in the car, the more snow we saw, and pretty soon the boys, who were bent on fishing, were starting to get a little antsy, especially when we saw the lakes that looked like this:

We made it to the top of the mountain, just in time to see two skiers, strapping on their skis and heading down the mountain making s patterns all the way down. (The light was bad, so I couldn't get a good picture). Part of the trip down the mountain was spent trying to determine how in the heck those guys were going to get back up to the top where their vehicle was parked.

We headed back down the mountain and turned off onto a road that led to two lakes tucked up on the side of the mountains. We first headed back west, to a lake Scott vaguely remembered going to with his dad when he was a kid, but the gigantic boulders and narrow road between trees eventually got too rugged for our Suburban, and we turned around carefully and headed back to the north and east to a place called Lily Lake, complete with gravel road, restrooms, a boat ramp, and picnic tables. There was only one other vehicle there, and they took off shortly after we arrived so we had the place to ourselves. There is some advantage to going to the mountains when everyone else thinks there's too much snow and cold!! It turned out to be a pretty nice day with temps in the mid-50s, and the sun feels quite a lot warmer at that elevation.

We stayed near the ramp for a while, as everyone got familiar with their new fishing poles. Alli with her Barbie pole, Ben with his Lightning McQueen rod, and Adam with his new Cabelas pole, complete with a slick mini-tackle box. Any guesses on which rod caught the most fish?

Ben proved to have quite a knack for casting, and the rubber tire lure that came with his pole sailed way out 15-20 feet. Adam's reel was a little tricky, but he started to get the hang of it. Haley practiced on whichever rod happened to be idle for the moment.Alli's butterfly got snagged in the trees, so Haley volunteered to carefully balance on the log to retrieve it.

We decided we'd pull up to a camp site and make some sandwiches for lunch and then find a little better place to fish, away from the logs, and branches and tall grass. Maybe it would give Dad a little break from untangling line and attaching fresh lures!

We find a spot about a mile to the north east that had a big rock that was anchored into the water. It was perfect!

Even though there was no wind, beautiful sunshine, a quiet still mountain lake, and beauty all around, Adam was not quite satisfied. There were no fish biting! I explained to him that catching fish was usually the just the side-benefit of all the above mentioned things. When fishing, it was best just to enjoy the day, the people, the surroundings and then if we caught fish, that was just an added bonus. He didn't really seem to agree with that, but we adjusted our expectations, and set about casting and reeling, casting and reeling. Eventually the knot came loose on the wheel-lure on Lightning McQueen, and Ben was pretty upset. I wasn't about to shed my clothes and make a dive for it, so we decided to put a hook on his rod, bait it with a worm, and see what happened. While Scott was untangling Ben's line and getting it ready, I decided to help Adam with his, and after getting everything untangled, I half-heartedly cast the line and got my finger caught in the process. I kind of laughed and tried to reel in the line, when it got snug, and Scott made a comment about catching some kind of a log. I tried again and it came, but it was no log: I had a fish on!! I reeled it in and made everyone else kind of disgusted. After all, they had been casting and reeling, casting and reeling to no avail. I snagged a fish on my first try!
After that, we started to pay a little more attention and then put a bobber on Adam's line so he could tell when he got a bite. After a little practice, everyone was catching fish...even Ben caught one but didn't want to reel it in, so Haley did it for him.
Dad even got to try his hand at a little fly-fishing, while everyone else took a bit of a break. He got several to rise and try his fly. It's a little tough to get much quality time in fishing, when you're busy fixing and baiting hooks, so we really appreciate Daddy sacrificing what he really likes to do so his kids could learn to enjoy fishing too. I think he enjoyed having the opportunity to teach his kids and watch them have some success.

By about 4:30, everyone was ready to head back to the lodge to get cleaned up in time for dinner and get in out of the sun and fresh air. We took a group photo with the camera perched on top of the rock; and I even managed to get down off the rock in time for the picture without breaking my ankle, something we were sure would happened. They don't call me Grace for nothin'!

Then we hiked through all the trees, across the creek hopping on rocks, back to the camp ground and got loaded for the drive back to the Lodge.

At the top of the hill heading out of the lake, there's a beautiful view of Pilot and Index Peaks. We got on the highway and by that time, 2 of the 4 children had fallen asleep, so we decided to drive toward Cooke City and back, to give them a much-needed nap. Then it was time for dinner. Wednesday night, Shelley made spaghetti and meatballs, salad, corn on the cob, and German chocolate cake and coconut-walnut frosting topped with ice cream. Yummmy! We all headed back to the cabin for a game of Monopoly, which Dad won and Adam a close second, and kettle-popped popcorn. What a great day!

P.S. We'll have the answer to the fishing pole question on Day 3's post.


scott said...

Now we're talking. Fish, rocks, logs, snacks, hiking, and mountains. What a great time.

The Farmer's Wife said...

I'm so jealous I can barely type this....! Love your pictures! I think that may be a Christmas card photo, toward the end, of the whole family.

Marisa said...

Looks like a lot of fun, and you caught some fantastic photos! I'm going to guess Adam's pole caught the most fish?

Kathy said...

What a wonderful journal Traci. I almost feel like I was there with you. I began to have flashbacks to my own childhood when you were writing about the snagging and tangling, and attempts to detangle those ever-lovin' fishing lines. I pulled it together however, and continued to read and view what I was sure a most wonderful day. The snow is incredible!