Tuesday, August 11, 2020

exercise in moderation

is what the cardiologist suggested. Usually in summer I like to do trail runs up to high mountain lakes and streams, fish a bit, then run back. She advised that climbing 2-3000ft up a mountain, with heart rate near max for several hours, does not qualify as moderate. Who knew ?

The last time I did that, figured I had probably another nine years. Turns out to be zero. Indulging myself in strenuous exercise has always been my drug of choice, never realized until now that it was an overindulgence like any other.

Ran a couple of times since the doctor advice, easy 3 miler around the park, which went fine except the bum left knee woke up from its slumbers and started paining again. Back on the bicycle it is, then.

Instead of the trail runs, decided on a backpack in to the high country. Theoretically this was mostly to scout an area for elk hunting. All my elk hunting is theoretical as they are hard to find come hunting season.  Packed in a Fenwick 75-5 with a nice lightweight Battenkill III reel, by way of solace in the moments when not failing to find elk sign. By concentrating and throwing things out, I was able to keep the pack under 30lbs, food water and all, which is a personal record of sorts.

Not quite at the trailhead, did not trust my 2wd on that road, instead parked in this pretty meadow/dispersed camping spot and walked the half mile.

This is me resisting temptation and not fishing the stream yet. I had miles to go and spots to scout. There was more water than expected, always happy to see the streams running well, though it does make crossings slower.

About six miles in after walking in from behind that far ridge. These burn areas are basically feedlots for the elk, growing full of elk chow. The fire was in 2002. Oddly there has been no new tree growth - no new pine or aspen yet.

The heart rate stayed down but the legs quit on me.. after about 8 miles the bum knee was complaining, heel bursitis had flared up, and the muscles didn't want to lift anything anymore, never mind me plus a 30lb backpack.

It's a sign ! at last, a sign !
Not sure what it means though.. 

The trail (on L of picture) was so faint I kept mistaking game trails for the route, winding up puzzled in the middle of deadfall and blowdowns. Since the fire the trees have been falling steadily producing these lush meadows crisscrossed with logs. I've watched elk delicately stepping through the pick-up-sticks but my legs are not long enough for that dance. 

By this time there were more elk hoofprints on the trail than bootprints or horse hoofs. Can you spot the elk in this picture ? 

Me either, but they are somewhere.  None of the spots up this trail panned out. There was a fine little campsite with evidence of someone's hunt success.

Back down to the stream, which has a nice meadow section here. There were rises going on among the weedbeds. It's very unusual to see this kind of weedy meadow section in the high country.

I waited until the trail went down to another crossing, where there were more rises. Oddly these fish were selective to the microcaddis hatch going on. They're supposed to be easy up here.. got a couple little brookies to about 9", fat and healthy, no pictures as they flopped off while I was trying to pose them.  I have some #18 Henryville caddis that usually work well for this, back home in the everything bag. #14 Goddard was the smallest in the bag today which was not good enough.

The plan was 13 miles and 2400ft ascent to camp on a trout lake at about 6pm, with time for a few casts. Camped instead on a fishless lake about 2 miles and 400ft of climbing short of goal. It was still a good camp.  And there was evening,

and there was morning,

Legs felt oddly good to knock off the two miles over to trout in 45min. The fish were rising..

and the views couldn't be beat.

Caught that handsome 13" in the picture on a beetle. Spent some time on a nice 16" that was ranging around fast and rising sporadically, further down the bank. First attempt left the beetle out there for several minutes, then as I moved it he was coming up and sheered off. Several other flies got refusals - he'd race up toward them then turn down with a dismissive flick of the tail. Still I had my entertainment. 

Quit and went looking for elk spots again. One of these looked really good. Not co-incidentally there was a big outfitter camp a mile away.

On the way down there was a tiny brook through a meadow. At the stream crossing there were half a dozen brookies in this little pool. Let them be, wondered about the lower reaches.

Another six miles out and dragging again, took a long slow time. A good walk though. Here the fireweed blooms in the old burn. That's also elk chow.

My  favorite thing to do in the truck is to sit on the tailgate and drink a cold beer, after a hike/canoe/backpack/fish. Did that.

Stopped by a roadside stream for a bit. Brawling little creek, tough going along the banks and the weedy rocks. There were fish everywhere. This 11" brookie,

a 10" rainbow, 

and a number smaller. This was the simple fishing I'd expected after the long walks, but here it was on the road. Oh well at least it was there, somewhere.


BlueOrange said...
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Peter Mason said...

I assume that the elk remained theoretical?
Thought of you the other day when I caught a couple of small scale yellows at Ntsinini.