Friday, December 30, 2011
Monday, May 02, 2011
Well, of course I haven't been blogging. I have finished three of four finals to complete the semester, so I did take a breather this weekend and set out for Tucannon. Since we discovered a flat on Friday afternoon and I had finals to worry about it's been a matter of perseverance to make time for fishing. We also had a musical at school for Kayla and we have video and pics from that as well. She was awesome of course. ;)
Pics in a few...
Pics in a few...
Saturday, April 09, 2011
We were those schmucks from the city that get lost in the mountains trying to take the scenic route and get caught in some freak natural disaster...
Living in Washington a few years before moving to Florida, we spent countless weekends and various days up in the mountains or traveling through them. Seattle is just a short drive in the morning; Tucannon can be the perfect daytrip for a guaranteed trout in the cooler on the way home. My favorite time of the year up here is spring when we get some of the best fishing in the Lower 48. Sure I was a novice back then, not even knowing how to tie a good fishing knot much less how to camp. My idea of a survival kit was a case of soda and beef jerky.
Since then I have spent so many nights under the stars here in Washington, going to such a family-friendly place like Tucannon seems routine on most trips. Not in the Cascades, Tucannon is over to the east of us in the Blue Mountains we see from the Tri-Cities most mornings. When I thought of Washington as I looked out over the endless horizon of the gulf, it was the sound of the Tucannon River at 3:00 am on a cool, crisp April morning that ran through my mind. Don't get me wrong, I still love St. Pete and can't wait to buy my second home there, but there is something magnetic about the smell of tall pines and the crunch of the mountain under my feet. I have never felt so at peace or so at home as when I am standing in the shallows of a flowing stream dividing a canopy of trees.
Last Friday the family and I set out on what was to be the perfect weekend of fun and fishing. I reserved a little suite at one of the crappy mountain hotels in Dayton, the town between home and our favorite little corner of the Blues. We checked in around 6:00 pm and barely through a few things inside our room to ease up space for a more comfortable ride. Too late for fishing, but we were taking the girls up to make a nice fire and roast some marshmallows to make s'mores. It had been a beautiful day with few clouds and temps in the 70s. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, though I had packed warmer clothes... you know, just in case.
It was the first day of spring break up here, so most of the campsites in the valley were already filled. Being so family-friendly, Tucannon gets rather crowded on certain weekends of the year. Aside from the various trails for hiking, horseback riding or ATV madness, the river, the hunting, or fishing on the river for steelhead, there are several small lakes that sit in company with a hatchery. We are talking thousands of trout, catchable on every single cast. It. Is. Awesome.
I drove up about ten miles to a spot up in the lower mountains, but still far enough to avoid the crowds at an area I am very familiar with. There is a nice clearing right off one of the narrow mountain roads that always has plenty of wood and a left over circle of rocks to build a fire. We roasted our first marshmallow by 7:30 pm and sang songs with the girls. Not that I could remember a whole lot, but we managed to have fun trying anyway. Forgetting essentials like flashlights and my warm hooded sweatshirt, when we saw a few flashes of unexpected lightning we decided to call it an evening. Especially when we heard a clap of thunder really close to us as we extinguished the fire. After finally beginning to make our way down the rocky, dirt mountain road the rain began to fall.
“Well, at least we know the fire is out for sure,” I joked to Robin.
She thought I had been a little too meticulous in putting out the fire. As we crept forward Robin commented how the trees seemed so close to the road they appeared to lay across it. I thought that was odd since to my left there was a two-hundred foot drop straight down to the river below. To my right there is a 25 foot incline that goes straight up, then flattens to slowly rise and make up the side of the mountain. There shouldn't be any trees near the road at this point. But there it was. A large, burnt pine had fallen over the only road in or out of this portion of the Umatilla National Forest. A tree several stories tall and weighing countless tons had fallen just moments before we passed by. That was not thunder that we had heard as we loaded the Land Cruiser with kids. It was a big friggin' tree that had just made my hotel suite down the road something of a distant dream. We were trapped.