Duck Hunting and Photo Editing

The last couple of weekends have seen me and my son-in-law sitting on a couple of stock tanks for ducks. I’ve only shot a few, but have had the chance to shoot his Browning Auto 5 12 gauge, which is a real pleasure to shoot, even with 3″ loads.

Here are some photos from last weekend. The Green Wing Teal was beautiful, and the Widgeon Hen breasted out nicely, despite having been hit pretty hard with the auto 5.

The Remington 1100 and the Browning Auto 5
Green Wing Teal
Peaceful Sunrise on the Pond

And a few photos from today’s hunt. Not many birds, so I decided to have a little fun with my iPhone and play around with a few editing apps. I’ve included the before and after. Of course, the before photo is the more realistic, hence actually more beautiful, but what’s the harm in a little manipulation of the image, right?

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How Times Change

When I was a teenager, my father took my brothers and me hunting. We spent the better part of opening week as a part of a larger hunting party in the pursuit of Whitetails in the Hill Country of Central Texas.

College

Marriage

Career

Children

When my children were old enough, I took them hunting. Family friends who were the organizers of our hill country hunts invited the kids out to harvest does in the open country of North Central Texas. I sat in deer blinds with all of my children, teaching them how to look for wildlife, coached them when to shoot, and helping them field dress their deer. My children harvested as much deer as we could eat or give away.

Career

In-laws

Grandchildren

Yesterday afternoon I was in the panhandle region of Texas, where I sat in a deer blind with my daughter and watched a few deer in the late afternoon and early evening sunset. img_8424-1My daughter took me to that deer blind. And just this morning, my son-in-law took me hunting. My children no longer need me to guide them, and in fact are now guiding me. This morning I harvested my first deer in thirty five years.img_8442How times change.

Texas Dove Opener, 2017

I’m 52 years old and have never, ever, shot a limit of any kind of game bird.  And I’ve hunted a lot, albeit mostly in my youth.  That changed today, after we settled in on the side of a milo field near Wichita Falls, close to where I grew up.

As it turns out, if you take copious amounts of shotgun shells and sit in a field with copious amounts of birds, the law of averages eventually works in your favor.  I shot my limit and even got a few bonus Collared Dove that don’t have a bag limit.

An overall great day;  A day filled with the companionship of brothers, sons, nieces and nephews, in-laws who are more like actual siblings, friends, an amazing meal of grilled Dove with so many sides I can hardly recount.  Tomorrow afternoon will see another hunt, and my daughter will be joining us.  Can’t wait to hunt with all my kids.img_7504

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Road Trip

Childress
Wichita Falls
Lake Arrowhead
Little Wichita River
Grandson

All components of a great road trip. Here are a few highlights . . .

Summer Sunset

After a supper of chicken cooked in a cast iron skillet, fried okra and sautéed squash, tomatoes and onions, I made it out to a local pond to see if I could bring a few bass to hand.  Nothin’ doin’ on the bass, but it was a peaceful, quiet evening.

We had cornbread, too.

 

 

 

Making The Net

If you look at my Instagram profile, you’ll notice I follow an awful lot of fly fishing and woodworking accounts.  I love both pastimes.  So what better project than to build a hardwood landing net for chasing trout with a long stick?  What follows is a string of photos that tells, step by step, my process for building a trout landing net.  This process was completely learned from Instagram and YouTube channels, as well as a couple of blogs.  It is a hybrid of many people’s methods, with a few tweaks of my own. This is my first net, and it is made of Black Walnut and Poplar.  Details are in photo captions.

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Let’s start with the finished product, then go from the beginning.
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A form was needed to bend hardwood laminate strips to the desired shape.
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A handle was cut from Black Walnut, and matched to the hoop form. After the laminate strips soaked in water a few hours, they were bent and clamped around the form and handle, then left to dry.
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These are the dried laminate strips ready for glue-up.
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This is how the glued up net looked after removing it from the form.
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After hand planing and initial sanding, the net began to take shape.
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A groove needed to be cut around the perimeter of the net hoop. A narrow fence was used to allow routing of concave and convex curves.
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A close-up of the slot cutting bit just under the narrow fence.
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A couple of net frames after routing the 3/32″ groove around the hoop.
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3/32″ holes were drilled in the hoop.

 

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After purchasing a net bag, it was stitched here using old fly line; a tough, weather resistant material adding a nice touch by up-cycling the old line.
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The net was finished with Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil, which is a mixture of boiled linseed and other oils and specially formulated for gunstocks.  Three very thinned coats were used as a sealer, then 3 or 4 undiluted coats, buffing between coats.  Final treatment was a paste wax.
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Looking forward to getting this wet.
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The rubber net bag doesn’t scrape the protective slime off fish (as bad as nylon or cotton does) and is easier to remove hooks from.
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Walnut and Poplar lamination.

 

Outing with my Sons

We had a rare treat last weekend; all my kids were home with us.  We love that.  After sleeping in a little, and an afternoon picnic, my sons and I hit a couple of ponds to see if we could hook up with a few bass.

Pond 1:  So weedy we almost immediately left for pond 2.

Pond 2:  Excellent water quality, and the water was way up.  It had even flooded the kayak launch and fishing pier.  Drew and I were skunked, but Zac landed a nice bass on a Junebug colored 10″ powerbait worm.  That’s one effective bait, by the way.

Good fishing . . .

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Spring Sunset 

Last Sunday evening I revisited a pond I used to frequent.  I discovered the pond while waiting for my daughter during her piano lessons.  I’d cast for 45 minutes or so, catch a few bass, and pick her up and go home.  

This is a park pond, and as is usual for small bodies of water, the pond has undergone drastic changes in just a few years.  Silting, weeds, algae have changed this pond to a shallower, dirtier  body of water than it used to be.  The water level is also several feet low, and hopefully some rain will improve conditions.  

I did manage one  half-pound bass around sunset, and was treated to this spectacular sunset.

Losing

A while back I wrote about a private 2 man bass tournament between me and my youngest son.  Since that post, Drew has been . . . Busy.


On a recent trip to a lake in Oklahoma, he landed his personal best largemouth bass, at 10lb, 2oz!  And this was less than 24 hours since his previous personal best at 6 lbs.


Not long after that I fished with a brother-on-law, and certainly caught a few, but nothing approaching Drew’s trophys.



So here is the current standing.  We fish through October 31, 2017.  I have some fishing to do.

PK Tailrace, Brazos River

As sometimes happens in our family, we all descended upon Wichita Falls, where many of my clan still live, for a wedding shower.  Since it was a ladies only shower, wouldn’t you know it, a fishing trip broke out.  We actually talked about it in loose terms for a month, firmed it up 5 days before, and seriously planned for about 16 hours.

I’ve wanted to fish the tailrace below Possum Kingdom for a few years.  My aim has been to hit the white bass run with fly rod in hand.  We were a little early for the Sandies this year, and I plan on returning when I can.

The tailrace is accessible from Tx Hwy 16.  This stretch of river is part of the John Graves Scenic Riverway.  Mr. Graves was a beloved Texas Author, who, after learning of plans for more dams on the Brazos, went for one last canoe trip to say goodbye to the beautiful Brazos.  There is still a lot of beauty on the Brazos, though.  S.C. Gwynne wrote a great peice for Texas Monthly about Mr. Grave’s book, and you can read it here.img_0408_fotorjohn-graves-hwy

I fully expected the trip to be about White Bass and Stripers with a few trout mixed in.  As the day wore on it was clear that trout were the main attraction, and the only tippet I had was some 6 lb mono that I use for warm water species, and a handful of dry flies.   The heavy tippet was just too much for the trout, which were rising all around me most of the day.  Everything else in my box was in the streamer family.  No-one in our party caught any fish, but enjoyed a great day on the river, a 5 star shore lunch of ham sandwiches, Funions and oranges, and the fellowship of family.  I couldn’t ask for more.

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bridge

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Panhandle Road Trip

After a few very busy weeks at work I was able to hop in my pickup and make a visit to Childress, Texas. Childress is at the lower right corner of the Texas Panhandle, only a few minutes from Oklahoma. More importantly, Childress is where my daughter, son-in-law and my grandson live. Here are a few photos from this trip.

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Cemetery Near Harold, Texas
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Sunset on Highway 287
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The Prairie Dog Fork of the Red River just North of Childress, Texas

Urban Angling

A Friday afternoon, after work, and unseasonably mild.  Unseasonably implies a normal and expected weather condition, so it’s a little hard to say that when you live in Texas.  Though, in January we still expect it to be generally colder than warmer.  At the end of a text thread between Julie and me, she wrote “Why don’t you go fishing?”  That’s all it took.  When my wife suggests it, I will go fishing.  

I haven’t dug my conventional tackle box out since moving, so a quick stop at Academy for a bag of senkos, hooks, worm weights and a spinnerbait provisioned me for a few hours of fun.  

The first pond I visited gave up two bass, each about a pound and a half.  Both were on the three dollar spinnerbait.
 After a brief reacquaintance with this favorite pond I decided to hit up another, this one closer to home. Nothing in the fish department at pond 2, but a spectacular sunset soothed that disappointment.


Bass Tournament

Well, I just entered my first bass tournament.  Ever heard of the Bass Master Classic?  This is not that one.  This is one between me and my youngest son.  Here are the rules . . .

1. Largemouth Bass only.
2.  Cumulative weight of best 5 fish.
3.  Artificial lures only
4. Weighed on lb/oz digital scale and photographed showing fish and scale.
5. Ends October 31, 2017, end of day.
6. Loser buys winner $50 academy gift card.

Not having a digital fishing scale, I naturally started looking them up on Amazon.  The first one that interested me only records pounds and tenths of pounds, so that was eliminated.  I did have some rather entertaining reading, though, while browsing the questions section:

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We’ve asked Julie to be in charge of some kind of virtual weigh-in and awards ceremony when we’re all together for Thanksgiving.  Meanwhile I guess I need to turn my attention to patches, hats, tackle and corporate sponsors.  And fishing.

2016 Reading List

Here are some of the books I read in 2016.  Note: I often read books meant for younger audiences.  They’re some of the best stories, and it is very rewarding to start and finish a book quickly, especially after a long read by another author or in another genre.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

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This was an easy read.  It stirs the imagination and makes the reader  wonder what it would be like to have to survive in the wild.

All Fishermen are Liars by John Gierach

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Mr. Gierach writes fly fishing essays.  I usually have a couple of his books on my reading list.  He has a way of writing that is sometimes practical, sometimes poetic, sometimes instructive.  He is always interesting.

The Longest Silence by Thomas Mcguane

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Part autobiography, and part fishing essays.  I loved this book.  Mr. Mcguane is a very thoughtful writer.

Hard Scrabble: Observations on a Latch of Land by John Graves

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Maybe my favorite book of 2016.  Mr. Graves was a beloved Texas author.  He passed away a few years ago.  This book chronicles his home ranch in Somerville county, Texas.  It seems nothing escaped his notice, and he had such a love of and connection to the land he worked, and the people who worked it with him.  There are a few chapters which are not really connected with the rest of the story.  One of them is simply called, “An Irrelevance”.  It was my favorite chapter of the book.  Highly recommended.

Endurance – Shakleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

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A great book of hardship and leadership.  I kept looking for a reason not to like Sir Earnest Shackleton, but never found one.  He was a man who rose to the occasion, kept his men alive and persevered to the end.  It’s a very inspiring story.

The Call Of The Wild by Jack London

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This is one I have never read.  Mr. London lets us experience the world through the eyes of Buck, half dog and half wolf.  We travel with Buck as he transforms from a domestic pet, back to a wolf.  A journey back to a time before leashes, sleds and angry men.

The Earth is Enough by Harry Middleton

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I re-read this book in 2016.  It has very strong new age leanings, but this story of a young boys being raised by his uncles is a great read.  Looking past a world view I don’t really agree with, it’s wonderful to see two old men who love and respect the land, the wildlife and the trout of the family farm, and how they pass that love on to their nephew.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau 

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This has been on my list for a long time, and I’ve had many false starts.  I have to say, it was not what I was expecting.  Mr. Thoreau didn’t seem to hold his neighbors in very high regard.    Here’s my basic review and outline of his narrative:

  1. Most men are petty and waste their lives.
  2. I built a cabin in the woods
  3. The Lake is very beautiful.
  4. I’m surrounded by idiots.
  5. Don’t be petty and waste your life.

There were passages of sheer depth and beauty, but they were hard for me to appreciate sometimes because of the very high opinion Mr. Thoreau seemed to have of himself.

The 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell

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I read this one for work.  The main take away for me:  You can’t be an effective leader just because of a title or position you have been granted.  Real leadership must be earned from the people you are leading.

Dead Man’s Walk by Larry McMurtry

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This is the first (chronologically) of the Lonesome Dove series.  Gus and Call as young men.  Their characters are starting to form into the men we see later in Lonesome Dove. This is great Texas adventure.

The 5 dysfunctions of a team by David Lancioni

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Takeaway from this leadership parable:  A team doesn’t have to agree on everything, but should support each other when a consensus is reached.

Comanche Moon by Larry McMurtry

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The second book in the Lonesome Dove series.  Gus and Call are getting older.  Newt, a key Character in Lonesome Dove, is born.  Gus and Call’s characters and personalities are further developed in this book.

Lone Star Legacy:  The Texas Rangers Then and Now by Melanie Chrismer

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An interesting read about a Texas agency devoted to the public safely of it’s citizens.  “One Riot, One Ranger”.  I found this through an internet search, and discovered it is written for kids.  It was still very informative.

Hound Dog Man by Fred Gipson

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A hunting adventure in 19th century Texas, when a young boy gets his first hound dog.  Written by Fred Gipson, in 1947.  It was his first novel.  Of course, he went on to write the calssic, Old Yeller.

Inadverdent Conservationist

Yesterday morning I broke a twenty nine year streak of not hunting quail.  It’s not that I haven’t done any kind of hunting through those years, and I’ve certainly had my share of fishing opportunities.  It’s just that life has had me on a different track than the one of my youth.  It was certainly time to get back into the field.

After an early morning stop at the bakery with my son-in-law, we donned the blaze orange and headed for a wildlife management area near the Texas panhandle.  We were after Bob White Quail on a twenty eight thousand acre property, with more and better birds, according to the experts, than has been seen in over twenty five years.

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Matador Wildlife Management Area
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Matador Wildlife Management Area


Being dogless, we drove the dirt roads in hopes of finding a few coveys, flush them and go after the core of the covey, or pick up singles.  Being late in the season, the birds have already been pressured and we didn’t see any from the road.  The terrain was much more rugged than what I hunted as a teenager, so we had to spend a little time looking for areas we could get out and walk.   We made a few pushes through some likely areas, and did hear a few birds calling, but didn’t see a single bird.  All day.  Bottom line: We were great conservationists, even if inadvertent conservationists.

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The South Pease River, Matador Wildlife Management Area

THE UPSIDE

It was the first time I have quail hunted in a long time, and if the birds were scarce, the stunning beauty and ruggedness of the land we hunted was not at all lost on me. We were walking in and around Mesquite trees, Scrub Oak, Yucca, Prickly Pear, Juniper, Cedar, Buffalo Grass, and Broomweed.  We traversed canyons, meadows, hills, bluffs, and rocks. Lots of rocks.  Add to that a beautiful blue Texas sky and a mild wind, and you have the makings of a great day of hunting.  A great day – even if you end up being more of a conservationist than you intended. I’m already formulating a strategy for next year that will include more early season hunting.  Believe me when I say, no birds were harmed in the making of this post.

Returning

This evening I have been preparing for a quail hunt.  As I am organizing my shotgun shells, and removing the plug from my autoloader, I am reminded of just how long it has been since I last hunted quail.

If you told me when I was a teenager that I would have so long a gap in my bird hunting, I would have laughed.  You see, I hunted a fair bit with my father.  Dad had a few bird dogs; Pointers, mostly.  He had an English Setter, once, but she was just a pup and he had no patience with her, so he ended up selling Bell, the offspring of a four time national field trial champion.  But Sandy, a pointer, was his pride and joy.  I remember Dad hunting with an attorney one day, and refusing a very generous offer for her.  Dad politely declined, and the lawyer put his checkbook away. 

I helped dad with his dogs.  In fact, my first real job was working in Dad’s best friend’s kennels.  I had probably sixteen gun dogs in my care, and spent two or three days a week in the field with them, in addition to hunting most weekends.  We had no land of our own to hunt, but Dad always had something in the works with his friends.  I remember him plowing fields for one man, in exchange for the rights to hunt and fish that property.  Other times Dad would help someone paint a house for hunting rights. Even as a youngster, I understood we were sometimes hunting because of the kindness and generosity of others, and sometimes through the hard work of my father, who genuinely loved to walk behind his dogs and watch them work.

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The only photo I have of Dad with Sandy

If I had known the last time I hunted quail that it would be so many years before I bird hunted again, I would have paid more attention.  I would have captured a few more photos, and would have savored the meal of those birds a little more.  But I didn’t know.  That last trip was to have been a reunion of two families.  Dad, my brothers and I were to meet up with his best friend and his sons for a weekend of camping and wing shooting in Olney, Texas. 

Dad never made it to the hunt.   Two months before we were to get together, I got a call at school.  Details were sketchy, but Dad had suffered what was most likely a severe heart attack, and I needed to get home.  My sister and I left our little school in West Texas and made the four hour drive, not fully knowing what to expect.  Our apprehension was confirmed when we pulled into the long driveway, lined on both sides with cars.  Dad never recovered from his latest heart attack.

After the funeral and some time with our family, my brothers and I pulled out Dad’s guns.  We passed around two Remington shotguns, an 1100 and an 870, and a Springfield .30-06.   In our parent’s bedroom my brothers and I had the following exchange:  Mike said, “I’ve always liked his 870.  If no one minds I’d like to keep it”. Scott was next with, “I would sure like to have his Springfield”.  I finished, adding,  “I was kind of hoping to have his 1100”.  I can’t swear to the order, or the exact wording of that conversation, but I do remember standing there, looking tentatively at each other until we were sure each of us were equally satisfied with our choice. Hearing no objections, we shook hands and took our guns.  To this day not one of us has expressed regret or asked to alter the arrangement.  I’ve always been grateful to my brothers for that – the harmony and oneness of mind that we experienced that day.  I still have Dad’s 1100.  It’s a 12 gauge and is a pleasure to shoot.

We decided to go ahead with the hunt.  Instead of enjoying time with our father, we dedicated the trip to his memory.  A healing time together doing what Dad loved, and what each of us loved.  More than the actual hunting, I remember sitting around the fire and talking.  We talked about bird hunting.  We talked about our lives, our plans, our careers.  And we talked about Dad.  

That was the last time I hunted quail. It’s been a long time since I have held the check cord for a gun dog.  I haven’t yelled “birds in here”, or blown a whistle since that last hunt.  I haven’t extended my arm to receive a bird, gently mouthed, into my open hand for twenty nine years.

Tomorrow morning I am hunting quail.

Merry Christmas

Today has had me at church, tending to our Christmas Eve production.  A long day, to be sure, but a meaningful day as we bear witness that Christ came into the world; not only to die for us, but to live for us and through us. 

18 worship services, across four worship venues, including our satellite campus.  Are these our regulars attending these services?  Some are, and many are not.  What an opportunity to introduce so many people to Jesus.  

Technical Production of Christmas Eve Services
Sanctuary Tech Booth

Silent night.  One of my dad’s favorites.  It always made him cry, and he was a man who didn’t cry much in front of others.  It makes me cry, too.

Candles.  Illuminating the sanctuary, representing the light of Jesus, who came into the world, and is taken by us into the world.
Children.  Restless and wide-eyed, holding their candles like mom and dad.

Leaves. Walking between services,  I was really moved when  I saw these leaves on the sidewalk.  They’ll be blackened by in a day or so.  Ugly.  But now, in the evening light, I think they’re beautiful.  It’s a reminder to me of how Christ came into the world.  Humbly.  Cold.  Wet.  In a cattle trough.  Only a few knew it then, but among those very harsh conditions, it was a holy night.  I hope you know it.  And I wish you a very merry Christmas.

The Hunter’s Way

He never minded the cold, as long as he could dress for it. But dressing for it was tricky on the rolling Texas plains. Mornings were windy and frigid, and afternoons, though still windy, were sometimes a little warm. He wanted only one coat that would suffice all day, and he never liked to carry much when after quail: A jacket that wouldn’t impede the mount or restrict the swing of his French over/ under double – a gun he had purchased some 30 years earlier that he could not afford and that his wife had never let him forget. A hunting vest over the jacket, wool gloves with the finger cut off at the knuckle of the right hand index finger.  He wore a wool hunting cap of plaid design with flaps that always started fastened tight around his ears and ended up tied over the top of his head at day’s end. One luxury he permitted himself, even though he begrudged the weight, was a thermos of black coffee and two ham sandwiches, wrapped in wax paper; the green Stanley thermos lying sideways in the bottom of his hunting vest.

He preferred light equipment to move unrestricted and he tended to move fast, which helped him keep warm. Since he was not following dogs as he did in his younger days, the pace always seemed quicker to him. But without the use of dogs, a covey flush was always startling. Watching a pointing dog and anticipating the flush was one thing. Having a covey explode under his feet as he stepped over it was another thing altogether. It always contributed to a mild nervousness that had the effect of keeping him moving.

Grey days were often the best hunting, for reasons he could not explain. Sunny days were more pleasant, and if birds were scarce he was known to take a nap after lunch if he could find a comfortable spot out of the wind and in the sun.

He sometimes hunted with a friend, but didn’t mind hunting alone. Conversation with a friend or re-living the memories of childhood hunts suited him equally.

He could hunt all day, usually on public lands since hunting private property had become a rich man’s sport. Starting time varied, but quitting time never did. He hunted until dusk, cleaned his birds by headlights, poured the last of his coffee (only warm now), and turned the old truck toward home.

Healing Water

My wife and I planned some vacation time in Lake City, Colorado in the summer of 2016.  We were to stay with family, and although we didn’t realize it at the time, my brother and sister in law, Scott and Debbie, had booked time the same week at a Lake City cabin.  After learning about this, Scott and I decided to revisit some water we had fished together some twenty years earlier.  A reunion trip, of sorts.

So the plan was to fish.  We’d start at 7:15 with breakfast at the cabin, which my sister in law so kindly offered to prepare.  After breakfast, Scott and I would head to Big Blue Creek in the Uncomparghre Wilderness of Colorado in search of brook trout.

But the thing with plans, is . . they change.  And sometimes suddenly.

About 8:30 the evening before we were to fish together, the cabin Scott and Debbie were staying in suddenly exploded.  A propane leak that had been slowly and steadily accumulating under the cabin ignited, presumably by a pilot light on an appliance. After a tremendous jolt and flurry of insulation and lumber, and furniture, Debbie was picking though debris, trying to avoid the patches of fire, and calling for Scott who was in the shower, and knocked to the ground.  They eventually found each other and stood in the front yard, watching the cabin shudder and smoke.  Debbie in her pajamas, and Scott wearing a Texas flag dishtowel, until some kind neighbors showed up with something more suitable for him.

Lying on our bed, my wife and I heard the explosion from across the river.  Of course, we didn’t know what it was.  It sounded like a POP, not an explosion.  And it certainly didn’t sound like anything you hear on television or in movies.  Julie and I simply dismissed it as a curiosity until I received a phone call three hours later from Scott.  “Brian, try not to alarm everyone, but we are at the medical clinic getting looked at.  We’re okay, but the cabin we are staying in exploded tonight.  We need you to come get us, and we need a place to stay”.

Try to tell everyone in the house that you’re leaving to pick up family who was in an explosion without raising alarm.

It cannot be done.

After getting the okay to leave the emergency clinic, we made our way back to the cabin, where firefighters were picking through debris, and making sure all the flames were extinguished.  Fortunately, since the roof of the cabin was blown up, then dropped back down, it effectively snuffed out the fire.

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The next day we milled around, gathering what we could salvage, which was not much.  A few hours on site, and a few hours at the laundry mat, trying to wash the smoke out of a few articles of clothing, and a 110 mile round trip to Wal-Mart, to secure some personal items, clothes and replacement prescriptions.

Scott and Debbie at first wanted to go straight back home to Texas, but soon realized they were in no shape to drive, and might be needed for an investigation of the explosion.  So we piddled around Lake City, taking care of what we could.

The next morning brought a fresh perspective, and a willingness to stay in Colorado for a little while longer.  At breakfast, Debbie and Julie decided they’d shop around town a little, and Scott and I made plans for an abbreviated trip to Big Blue Creek.  I couldn’t believe it.  Only a day and a half after that awful explosion, from which their lives were spared, we were driving up to the national forest trailhead at Big Blue Campground.

The prospect of some easy wading and lots of brookies lifted our spirits, and were were soon joking and laughing on our way up the mountain.  In the middle of all the laughing and joking (neither one of us likes bugs crawling on us, and we’ll leave it at that) Scott did confide in me that the explosion was playing over and over in his head, like a tape loop.

The advice given us at Dan’s Fly Shop was to hike a mile from the trailhead then start fishing upstream.  With the day slipping away and a strong desire to be in the water, we hiked about 15 minutes across the side of the mountain, then took a well used trail down to the valley floor.

Approaching the water filled us with a sense of things being right again, if even for a few hours.  The past thirty six hours had been anything but right.  The girls were in town engaging in some retail therapy, and we were where trout live, and soaking it in.

xyxs8122We stopped, took a selfie, rigged up and slipped into the healing waters of Big Blue Creek.

Post Script:

An examination of the cabin site clearly reveals how fortunate Scott and Debbie are to be alive today.  They both wish to thank our ever present God for the safety and protection from what could easily have been a life ending experience.