August 3, 2018

Cave Lake State Park, outside the City of Ely, White Pine County, Nevada

A hawk (I believe a red-tailed hawk) perches on rabbitbrush to survey his domain. This picture was taken
near Cave Creek, the southeastern inlet of Cave Lake that gives Cave Lake State Park its name. 

My daughter was promised a camping trip before she returned for her school's fall semester. As the Dog Days of summer began to sap everyone's energy, I was reminded that "back to school" was but two weeks away. I quickly began planning a short, overnight camping trip.

Since it was to be her first camping trip I wanted to keep it simple, but interesting. A short-as-possible drive would be best, especially if she awoke in the middle of the night frightened and crying to go home immediately. You never know for sure about a child's first time, and in the back on my mind I was recalling the "Skunk Camp" event with my two middle sons back in 2000 (you'll find those details in the 2003 post about Cave Lake).

The weather forecast was reflective of the southwest "monsoon season" when the hot land masses create upward thermal air flow which then produce low-pressure areas that in turn suck in moisture from the south. This mostly results in southwest humidity triple the normal levels, but in the higher mountains of the southwest it brings thunderstorms.

My preferred destination was Pine Valley, UT, but camp sites were already reserved. Other nearby destinations in southern Utah and Nevada also forecast thundershowers, but Cave Lake State Park was going to have scattered thundershowers in the early evening with 35-40 percent probability. Thus, although the drive would be at least one hour longer, Cave Lake was selected.



The southwest view, from Cave Lake State Park campsite number 25, displaying Ward Mountain
in the Egan Range far across the Steptoe Valley. 

Upon arrival at campsite #25 we set up the tent and unloaded the truck. My daughter wanted to see the lake and watch if I could catch a fish. She remembered that there were two types of trout in the lake: rainbows and browns. Before heading to the lake I asked her again, "Do you prefer sleeping in the tent or the truck shell?" Se said she wanted to sleep in the shell so that's where I left the sleeping bags.

Down at the inlet we flushed a red-tailed hawk from the aspen grove but its flight was short and it alighted on a rabbitbrush near the trail we were walking on. We were able to get remarkably close so we were able to take a few pictures.



Cave Lake State Park campsite #25 in the middle of the 132-mile-long Schell Creek Range.
The northern section of this mountain range is breathtaking. 

When we arrived at the shoreline I had targeted, after two casts the winds came, skies darkened, and it began to sprinkle with a smattering of large droplets. We hustled back to the Fish Taco and drove up to our campsite. Since the sleeping bags were in the shell, that's where we took shelter. That's when the volume increased, trapping us in the shell. That was about 6:00 PM. It didn't stop until 9:05 PM which was a blessing since she had to use the restroom since 8:30 PM. 

The dilemma then became whether to walk through the mud to the tent wherein the porta-potty awaited (what to do about the muddy boots entering the tent, do we leave sleeping bags in the shell or just wholesale move into the tent, etc.???), or do I drive her down to the full service toilets and park right outside the bathroom door? One of the creature comforts of this Nevada state park is that it has a bathroom facility with four separate flushing toilets with hot/cold sinks plus two full service showers. Because of her urgency I opted to drive the truck down to the bathrooms with her nestled in the shell. Once relieved we drove back up to the camp to sleep. But she still had a hard time sleeping. I know that because I had a hard time sleeping. A shortcoming of the Fish Taco is the 41 x 60 inch bed dimension. I'm short, but even I had to sleep with my knees bent all night which created all types of new pressure points and joint pains. That was a lesson that wont be repeated.


One of the gravel beaches on Comins Reservoir in Steptoe Valley. My daughter said she wanted to see
me "catch a fish," and this was the most likely spot to accomplish that from shore. In the distance are
the northern peaks of the Schell Creek Range that approach 12,000 feet. 

We awoke to a clear sky and a rising sun. After a light breakfast we broke camp, packed up the truck, and headed to Comins Reservoir down in Steptoe Valley to try a few minutes of fishing. Fortunately we arrived as a car filled with children was leaving the very beach I had in mind. I brought my 9-foot 5-weight fly rod, some rubber boots, and one small box of flies that were tied by my good friend Bill Bergan. I wanted my daughter to experience fishing first hand. Although I have actually started her practicing fly casting in our backyard, she wasn't ready for fly fishing. But I reasoned that if I hooked something from shore I could get the fish on the reel and hand it over to her to reel in herself (you fisherman know of the electrifying experience of a decent fish head shaking underwater or the leaping of a rainbow trout). Anyway, I just couldn't resist a few casts (could you have resisted?).

On about my fifth cast I hooked an eleven-inch rainbow. My daughter expressed her excitement with an "Oh my gosh. oh my gosh, he's got a fish!" The cast after that I caught a small black bass. A few minutes later I hooked what I suspect was a decent sized rainbow, but as I started collecting the slack line on the reel so I could hand her the rod & reel the hook came out (I use barbless hooks because I release all fish I catch, so this is a common result). I hooked and landed two more trout and two more bass. The thirteen-inch trout fought nicely, and I tried to hand her the rod after I got that fish on the reel but she didn't want it; she was too busy filming a video of my fishing exploits with the iPad as she has aspirations of being a vlogger... like her mom and dad will let that happen anytime soon. Although she didn't experience the thrill of reeling in a fish, she very much enjoyed it vicariously through me. Of course I was pleased to have hooked seven fish over the 40 minutes, achieving hook-up about every six minutes or so. The seed is planted.


A fine rainbow trout of about 13 inches. Even I was surprised that a late morning in August gave up three
trout and three black bass (i.e., largemouth bass), and one LDR that fought like a 14-inch rainbow before it
spit the hook as I frantically reeled the slack line in to let my daughter "real in" her inaugural fish.
Six fish landed in about 40 minutes was a nice closing to our first-ever camping trip. 

All seven fish (including the one LDR) were hooked by this fine fly tied by my friend and supreme pescador,
Bill Bergan. 

As mentioned, one beneficial aspect of Cave Lake is its proximity to one of Nevada's larger rural cities and the amenities it offers. In the case of Ely, there are two museums that will peak the interest of children and adults.

The White Pine Public Museum, started in August 1959, is much larger than the small storefront on Ely's main road would imply. My daughter particularly enjoyed the doll artifacts, the Cherry Creek train depot, and the one-room school house from Baker, NV. A family could easily spend most of the day exploring this wonderful museum.

Back in August of 2006 I had fished Cave Lake and Comins Reservoir with my son Brian. We visited the Nevada Northern Railway Museum gift shop on that trip, but we failed to explore the rail yard to appreciate what it offered. If you or someone you love has an itch for trains, you need to check out the link embedded above. This is a significant opportunity to immerse yourself into the world of trains, both steam and diesel. Here's a quote from that website:
We have heard the question many times. People come to the ticket desk and ask "Where's the museum?" The truth is, this is a very large museum. It's the original Nevada Northern Railway, complete with its original depot, engine house, freight house, and administrative building, all built in the 1910's. It's the original Nevada Northern mainline track. We still own all 147 miles of it. It's several of the original Nevada Northern Railway locomotives, still in operation today. Come, explore history with us!
Travelling down E. 11th Street to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, which is more than a museum but
rather a working train depot that is also a National Historic Landmark. This is a "must see" for train aficionados. 

For about $800 you can be an engineer and actually drive a steam or diesel locomotive on a 14-mile trip.
For a few hundred more you can work in the rail yard as part of the crew. It's called 
Railroad Reality Week. 

A view of the Engine House and Restoration buildings in the photo's center, and
other buildings on the periphery. 

So, my daughter was reluctant to leave Ely, trying all sorts of ploys to stall our departure. One that I succumbed to was a playground visit. I knew where a public playground was in the residential area on the way out to Highway 6, so there we went. When we got out of the truck I noticed a preponderance of slow flying yellow-black bugs. At first I thought they were small bees, but in fact they turned out to be beetles, and they were all over the playground equipment, picnic tables, and awnings. They didn't bite, but they were a nuisance, especially the three that hitched a ride in the truck cab all the way to Alamo.


Up close and personal with one of the thousands of 7mm beetles that were all over an Ely, NV playground,
three of which hitched a ride to Alamo, NV in the cab of the Fish Taco. 

But of course, more than the camping, fishing or museum visits, spending time alone with my daughter was the best part of all. I endured the KidsBop music channel on SiriusXM and the l-o-n-g game of "Name your three Favorites" because it made her happy. But there were also meaningful talks about God, the significance of Jesus' death on the cross, and why a little nine-year-old girl doesn't have to worry that she'll not get to heaven because she "can't be good" all the time. I was most pleased to see the relief on her face as she realized we all try to be good because it's pleasing to Him and good for us and our friends, but when we fail there is always His grace to forgive us.  We don't need to be good to get to heaven, but because of Jesus we want to be good.  With that I leave you to meditate on these verses, because even adults wonder at times how they can get to heaven with so much sin on their hands:
Ephesians 2:4-5    But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.
Romans 3:22-24    Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19    But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
John 3:16    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
My daughter's iPad contribution to the blog post:






June 1, 2018

Wayne Kirch WMA Overnighter in the Fish Taco

The 5:16 AM sunrise over the Egan Range begins to warm Dacey Reservoir.
You know when a strong impulse causes you to do something you've wanted for a while, and so you wedge it into your schedule? Then the truth is discovered that allowing the urgency of desire to squeeze an event into your calendar before all conditions are at least reasonable often produces undesired outcomes. I frequently observe that our childish nature seeks immediate indulgence which in turn causes poor planning and unhappy results. If you maintain a healthy dose of reality you can cope with that; if you're too optimistic you may come away disappointed. I won't say that this trip to Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (Kirch) was disappointing, because it wasn't. But it did contain a couple preventable mishaps. 


The Fish Taco being unpacked in the early morning light in preparation for the 6:00 AM launch on Dacey.
The small cottonwood stand on the horizon to the left of the truck marks the Dave Deacon Campground. 

The primary purpose of this adventure was to measure the Fish Taco's performance on its first out-of-town trip, and to camp overnight sleeping in the Leer truck bed shell. I always intended to use the shell on my Dodge Dakota as a sleeping quarter, but I never worked that into my fishing trips. Both the Tacoma and the Dakota have short five-foot beds, and although cramped I envisioned sleeping diagonally could work reasonably well. I had given up pitching camping tents on overnight solo trips, preferring to stay in cheap motels instead. Unfortunately, the motels are not usually conveniently located next to the water I'm fishing. Sleeping in the truck shell eliminates unnecessary travel time as well as saves a few dollars. 

But I also wanted to fish Dacey Reservoir this spring before the heat and weed beds took over. Fishing was my secondary purpose, and so I was watching the Kirch area weather. High winds had been the dominant weather pattern for about a month. The forecast for Kirch was five to ten MPH winds on Friday and Saturday, so that became my target window. However, my wife had a medical appointment on Friday at 2:30 PM that she didn't want our young daughter to attend, and I had a noon appointment on Saturday which was also our designated day to babysit our grandson. I reasoned that if I left for Kirch at 6:00 PM Thursday I could sleep overnight in the shell and get myself on the water by 6:00 AM Friday. It would be a fine first run for the Fish Taco. I'd test out the sleeping arrangements in the shell and get at least five hours of fishing time on Dacey Reservoir before the return trip home. It all seemed reasonable to me, and it was.


I can never grow weary of the sage and mountain vistas of Nevada. This one looks south over the 
Adams-McGill Reservoir towards 7,050-foot Gap Mountain on the left. 

The trip was not without a few misfortunes along the way. Planning and packing for an overnight trip, an admittedly simple trip, is different than a day trip. I'm not usually a list maker, but that might have been a useful thing to do. I was more focused on the overnight aspect and less on my fishing accoutrement. In my rush to get on the road I left behind my favorite Galvin reel case. After arriving at the Dave Deacon Campground I ate a light meal and shuttered myself into the Leer shell. I decided to attach a new 4X leader on my reel before going to sleep... which was when I discovered I forgot the Galvin reels. In desperation I searched through my Fishpond bag. In there I found my old Hardy HRH lightweight reel sporting a click-pawl drag system loaded with 5-weight line, and my Orvis Access Mid-Arbor reel with a 4-weight line that used a disc drag system. I opted to use the four-weight Orvis with my eight-foot, five-weight rod reasoning that its drag system would be more useful than the heavier line weight on trout that often approach 20 inches (I brought two fly rods, one nine feet and one eight feet, both being five weights). I felt stupid for having left behind my Galvin case, but I had a backup solution that would be very workable. 


This was my preferred quarry, the rainbow trout. This specimen
was a healthy 16 inches. 
I arose before sunrise to the tweeting of camp birds and what I think was the hooting of an owl. About four years ago I saw what I believe was a Great Horned Owl in the cottonwoods shading the Deacon Campground at twilight, so that's what my brain locked on when I heard the hooting. Shaking off the sleep and stretching old muscles and joints, I extracted myself from the Leer shell. 

As planned I arrived at Dacey Reservoir just as the sun was peeking over the Egan Mountains, and I launched the Water Master Grizzly at about 6:00 PM. Passing by the bulrush that sheltered the launch area from the winds I quickly noticed the wind was stronger than I had hoped. I needed to use the oars to get out on the reservoir, and while casting the fin-kicking was a constant battle.  

I did catch three largemouth bass of smaller size, and one handsome rainbow that was a plump sixteen inches. I had one other hook-up that I think was a trout based on the way it fought, but that hook pulled out before I could know for sure.  

Over the next few moments the wind seemed to pick up strength. It was coming from the north, the usual direction for the White River Valley that holds the Kirch waters. White caps were becoming visible, and I was letting myself get frustrated with the circumstances. If I had the whole day ahead of me I'd have gotten off the water to wait and see if the wind would subside, but since I had to be on the road home by 11:00 AM that plan was met with impulsive resistance. Then there was the mismatched line (4) and rod (5) weights that when combined with the wind conspired to continually tie my leader into knots. After an hour of fishing I decided to pull the plug early. Landing four fish in about one hour was a reasonable expectation at Dacey, and I knew there were larger trout to catch. But I reminded myself the primary purpose was to test the truck and camping shell; the fishing was secondary.  

The waves on southern end of the reservoir were getting taller, and my rowing direction back to the launch site was parallel to the waves such that the Grizzly was getting rocked side-by-side. In my stinking thinking I was still balancing the idea of leaving the water early against the desire to make those "last casts" on the way out.  But the rowing was relentless to avoid being pushed against the dam riprap stones, and so I never made those final casts.

From the rustic boat launch, through the gap in the bulrush, the wind-whipped water surface is revealing
impending difficulty.
First hand evidence the wind from the north was producing mini-whitecaps that shortened the fishing
and pulled my fly rod to its depths while I was rowing back to the launch area.
As usual for me, I had reeled in the line and laid the rod against me in the Grizzly. The watercraft does have tie-downs to secure your rods, but they aren't all that convenient, especially when thoughts of "one last cast" are playing in your mind. I was rigorously rowing hard forward; that is, I was facing where I was headed as the wind pushed from my right side. The reel was next to my right leg with most of the rod tip extending out the back of the Grizzly. This arrangement was nothing new; it was familiar to me. After a few moments of rowing with splashing waves striking the Water Master’s right side, I looked down and my rod and reel were gone... I believe what happened was a twelve-inch wave grabbed the rod and pulled it over while I was preoccupied with my rowing. The rod meant more to me than the reel only because I built it by hand (most all my rods are custom built by FisherDad). It cost me about $250 in parts and about four days of labor to build. The Orvis reel cost under $200, and the full-sink line about another $60. So, there's about $500 of rod and reel "sleeping with the fishes" in Dacey Reservoir.  

I’ve always found hope in Jeremiah 29:11 since although my plans might be feeble in the eyes of the Lord, knowing that He has plans for me is eternally comforting. My problem, and I suppose most Christians’ problem, is that we still want control. We want to tell God where we are best utilized in His kingdom. Maybe we’re afraid His plans might be overwhelming so we prefer our own, falsely believing that we can pretend our plans are better for us than those of the God of all. Perhaps we don’t truly believe that He can use our weaknesses for His gain; we don’t believe the Holy Spirit can empower us beyond our limited imagination. Maybe we just want what we want, like an unruly child. I do know that except for Jesus, every person in the Bible resisted God’s plans starting with Adam and Eve through Moses all the way up to the disciples of Christ. Knowing I’m in good company doesn't make me feel better; I don’t like being accountable for my mistakes… who would?  

So, why is it when I plan something as insignificant as an overnight trip I still screw it up? Not to trivialize the Bible by comparing its guidance to planning a fishing trip, what does it say about planning? Well, it says a lot in addition to Jeremiah 29:11. Proverbs 16:4 says that no matter what the Lord works everything to its proper end. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us not to lean on our own understanding, but to trust and submit to Him. James 1:5 says that God will provide wisdom generously to all who asks of Him. But perhaps Proverbs 21:5 (NLT) says it best: 

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” 

While “prosperity” and “poverty” have financial definitions, they clearly have spiritual meaning in the context of heaven and hell. And of course, losing $500 worth of equipment every time I go fishing could eventually lead to financial poverty as well (smile).


The Taco achieved 22.1 MPG (computer calculated efficiency) over the
370-mile round trip, including about 14 miles in four-wheel, high-range
inside the Kirch Wildlife Management Area. This beat the best
mileage I ever achieved in the Dodge Dakota 4x4 by 3.5 MPG (also
computer calculated).
The Taco did the 370-mile round-trip on a single tank of gas, with 50 miles
to spare. I'm going to enjoy my adventures in this truck.
So, as to my primary purpose, I can say the Tacoma was a pleasure to drive, especially compared to the Dakota. I had it on cruise control most of the trip, and it did downshift as expected on the longer, steeper hill climbs slightly more than the Dakota. While the 3.5L Tacoma has more horsepower than the 4.7L Dakota, the Dakota has more torque. But the Tacoma is a much smoother ride, and I was really pleased to see it achieved 22.1 MPG fuel efficiency compared to the Dakota's usual 18 to 19 MPG. When I reached the dirt roads of Kirch I put the transmission into four-wheel high range just for the heck of it. What I noticed was a much more balanced suspension and less drifting on the corners as compared to the Dakota. The Tacoma feels like the right truck for me.

Getting comfy in my Leer shell for a night's sleep. 
My body does fit in the 5-foot bed if I lay corner to corner.
As for the camping, I was a lot more comfortable in the shell than I imagined. I did have to lay diagonally in the bed, but the combination of the bed liner, foam pad, and decent sleeping bag made for a reasonably good sleep. I was warm at first, but awoke to a cold face around 3:00 AM due to the overnight low of 41 degrees. I simply tucked my head a little deeper into the bag and went back to sleep. My little MSR propane stove can handle my needs on solo trips quite well, and the 12V sockets in the Leer shell are very useful for electric float tube inflation and recharging phones, cameras, and other devices.  

I can see me using this arrangement for overnight trips, but also more extended trips into northern Nevada. I have a childhood connection to the northeastern Nevada Jarbidge Mountains from a bow hunting adventure with my brother Neal in the early 1970s. The Jarbidge River, which feeds into the Snake River – Columbia River drainage, still holds native bull trout. And the Mary’s River has a population of Lahontan cutthroat trout. Although not large fish by some reservoir standards, catching and releasing these threatened trout species in wild settings would be a “bucket list” item for me. 

All in all, this was a successful adventure in the Fish Taco. Looking forward to more in the future. Although I'm not really happy about the rod and reel... all lessons learned are good. I'll certainly not forget how I lost one of my favorite fly rods, but in the bigger scheme of things it was fortuitous I left behind my Galvin reels as they would be costly to replace at today's prices. See, forever a silver lining in the dark clouds of life, or as Romans 8:28 says: 


"And we know that God causes everything to work together
for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

Just the Lord, me, and my Fish Taco. 
(The overnight low was 41 degrees, thus the early morning jacket was useful
until the 
sun rose over the mountains.) 

Like many of you, I can't resist the gratuitous livestock pictures when traveling rural areas... I just don't see much of it in the urban and suburban neighborhoods of my metropolitan area.


Three cows and a yearling munching on the sweet grass next to the bulrush while sporting
fancy bovine earrings.

Cow number 448.

May 4, 2018

Cold Creek Getaway in Fish Taco

The Tacoma with its new Lear 100R shell, including head liner, drop out cab-side window, and a three outlet,
12V power block near the rear lift window.   
Okay, I admit that I'm having a man-crush on my Tacoma.  I feel like a little boy who got the Christmas present he had been harassing his parents for since Halloween. I could easily succumb to the temptation to run away to distant places every weekend.  Maybe that's what happens to a truck owner after driving Dodge Dakotas for 18 years.

But, I can't give in to those childish impulses, at least not completely.  There remain certain relational responsibilities to Jesus, my wife, my daughter, and my employer (even if it is a part-time arrangement). And besides, the infatuation with road trip adventures would eventually wane and I'd emerge from the delusional fog one day to discover my wife and daughter have left me due to my abandonment of them.


I find the shell very convenient, and not only when transporting gear to my destinations, but also using
it with a lowered tailgate really facilitates staging equipment as well as post-angling tear down.
 
Of course it's more complicated than that.  I love my wife deeply, but I've learned over these past 38 years it takes a consistent effort to stay actively present in her life and my children's lives.  If you don't pay attention, you can easily take your spouse for granted.  That can lead to miscommunication, or no communication, which results in drifting apart.  It can be a marriage death march.

Being a Christian, I am so thankful for the Word, the Scriptures.  Those who are unfamiliar with the Bible may not realize the depth of wisdom it contains regarding relationships, especially the marriage commitment.  It teaches that in marriage, "two become one" (Mark 10:5-9).  The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus on the issue of divorce.  While He explained to them that divorce decrees were allowed under Moses’ leadership as a concession for “hardened hearts,” the truth is that marriage creates a new unity, a "we" if you will.  This is not to mean that the two parties cease to remain individuals, but that they are to become a sacred unit. 

Angling action was a little slow, but it's to be expected in this little pond the farther away from the late-winter
stocking and with the arrival of the mid-spring heat. This trout was hooked deep in the pond, and it
fought well despite it's somewhat lean condition.
Note the brown nymph located in the corner of this rainbow's mouth. He was in reasonable shape compared
to the other two I landed, but his pale coloring denotes to me insufficient aquatic insects in the pond. 
So how is it possible to remain "we" for half a century or longer?  Isn't it a reasonable expectation that couples drift apart over time?  Isn’t divorce a reasonable option for couples with irreconcilable differences?  For a Christian based perspective on this worldly viewpoint, read this article by Steven Kalas, a locally noted Nevada author, therapist and Episcopal priest, “Don’t kid yourself: divorce is forever.”

It’s helpful to first recognize that we are all sinners by virtue of our selfish, prideful focus on our personal happiness based on the world’s standards, not God’s (Romans 3:12-18).  The cure for that deadly self-centered attraction is to pursue and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and to allow Him to change our perception of values, to reject the world’s carnal values in favor of His. Apostle Paul says this will renew our minds. (Romans 12:2).  This spiritual relationship is further described in Ephesians 5:15-20 and other similar verses.


A couple of wild mares and a colt feeding along the pond ditch.  The older
mare actually walked over to my truck with the shell window and tailgate
wide open.  She stuck her nose into the shell looking for food, but I was
worried she would take off with my real case in her mouth.
These feral horses are pretty tame, but still unpredictably dangerous.  They always come right down to
the pond to drink, and they don't respond to hooting, hollering, and whistling because I tried that
when the older one stuck her nose into my camper shell.
Waterfowl are common around the pond, especially during seasonal migrations.  This pair of male mallard
ducks was odd; a couple of bachelors, or...
When we allow ourselves to be in the presence of the Holt Spirit, scripture takes on new relevance and truth in our lives.  When I am centered on my relationship with Jesus. I am able to re-align with my family relationships, especially with my wife. For example, Ephesians 5:21-33 describes how I am to love my wife.  When I find myself straying from my commitment to be “radically present” in my marital and familial relationships I remind myself what the Lord’s, not the world’s, version of love is supposed to look like by reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, likely the most often read verses at weddings of all sorts.

For an expanded version of marriage fidelity and its various infidelity entrapments, read this short article also by Steven Kalas, “True fidelity isn’t only about sex.”

It is a handsome truck... but I'm prejudiced.
Added my fishing stickers, the Canyon Ridge "God First" sticker, and my
American flag magnet. I believe I'm good to go now.

All that said, I admit that my three-hour trip to Cold Creek as the sun peeked over Frenchman Mountain was very satisfying, but certainly can never replace the importance and satisfaction of my marriage fidelity and all that relates to it.

April 21, 2018

Fish Taco on the loose in Cold Creek

My new Toyota Tacoma SR5 4x4 (a.k.a., the Fish Taco) visiting the Cold Creek Pond for the first time.
Those of you familiar with my blog might recall I affectionately referred to my 2007 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab 4x4 as the "Trout Truck." Although it was my daily driver, its underlying purpose was to get me in and out of the destinations where the trout angling was better than average and where inclement weather, which is often good for fishing, can make passage difficult. I had gotten stuck a few times in my previous 4x2 Dakota, but the 4.7L V8 4x4 never got stuck which was a great comfort to me and certainly increased my angling time. 

As the Trout Truck approached 10 years old I began to contemplate its replacement. Dodge stopped making the Dakota after the 2011 production, and Toyota's Tacoma increased its market share of the mid-sized 4x4 trucks. Recently GM introduced a new mid-size 4x4 (Chevrolet Colorado and GM Canyon) to better compete with the Tacoma. About 17 months ago my son Brian purchased a 2017 Tacoma TRD Off Road. His Tacoma started my juices flowing again until I finally made the decision to swap my 2007 Dakota for a 2018 Tacoma SR5 4x4. I'm so pleased with it I honestly don't know why I waited so long. 

The SR5 has some really nice safety features that are new for 2018, but it does not have the versatility of the TRD Off Road's electric locking differentials and its state-of-the-art Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control. But I couldn't justify an extra $2000 for features that I might use once or twice in the truck's lifetime. The SR5's basic 4x4 with rear end limited slip differential and traction control should be enough to avoid getting stuck. It is already clear to me the new Toyota Safety Sense features like Lane Departure Alert, Pre-Collision Alert, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control will get plenty of use while traveling Nevada's two-lane highways enroute to the dirt roads that lead to the best angling locations. I will install a Lear bed cap much like I had on the 2007 Dakota; I found the cap to be highly practical for my fishing trips, especially transporting my angling watercraft. 

An added bonus of purchasing the Tacoma is its slang name "Taco." Die hard Tacoma owners often refer to their trucks as "Tacos," which gave me the idea to christen the new angling truck the "Fish Taco" (I highly doubt I'm the first to use this moniker).

The Fish Taco's maiden off-road voyage was an early morning run to the Cold Creek Pond. Frankly, passenger cars can make it down to the pond if they have reasonable clearance, but this trip provided the excuse to put the truck in four-wheel drive for the first time as well as to cast a fly line for 45 minutes. 
The first trout of the day. 
I arrived at the pond about 7:15 AM and was very pleased to be completely alone. I was also surprised to catch two small stocked rainbow trout within the first 15 minutes. It was then I noticed a passenger car carefully finding its way to the pond. A man and small child exited the car with fishing rods in hand. When they got within conversation distance we exchanged pleasantries. The father, Tim, was taking his four year old son Aiden fishing. They had fished Cold Creek a few weeks before and did very well. Tim mentioned fishing Eagle Valley Reservoir, and asked if I had as well. I told him I was a long time southern Nevadan who fished throughout most all of the state. I told him I wrote a fishing blog. He mentioned discovering Cold Creek through a blog, and then after hesitating a few seconds he said it might have been my blog. He asked me what my blog's name was and I replied "FisherDad." He recognized the name, and then politely said he thought the blogger in the website photos looked older than I did in person. That made me smile. 
The second trout of the day.
Tim asked how long I had been writing the blog since some of the posts were dated over 30 years ago. I told him the story of my son Nick creating the FisherDad blog as a Father’s Day gift 11 years ago. Because I had older adventures I wanted to post I decided to backdate them to their original time frames. I mentioned Nick was a web designer at the time, and that he now works at Square in San Francisco as a Front-End Engineer. Tim laughed and said that coincidentally he was a Systems Analyst for Optum Health in Las Vegas. 

I discovered that Tim is married and a father of three: Aiden and his two younger sisters. He explained that Aiden had a congenital eye disease that impairs his vision which will eventually lead to blindness. He spoke of some frustration with the Clark County School District's inability to provide his son services until he loses more of his vision, and it reminded me of friends with autistic children who also seem to fall in cracks. Despite Aiden's disability, Tim was very upbeat and happy to be spending time with his son. The visit was reminiscent of the time I met Amelia Smith fishing the pond with her father John.
The final rainbow trout of the day, maybe over 10 inches, but definitely the strongest of the three.
I was fortunate to land one more trout, slightly larger than the first two, and decided to leave the pond to Tim and Aiden. I was content with three trout in 45 minutes, and after all it was all about the Fish Taco's maiden off-road angling adventure anyway

(Tim, if I’ve misspelled names or misrepresented any facts please post a correction in the Comments.)
The ubiquitous feral horses that haunt the Cold Creek area. We're instructed not to feed them,
but visitors obviously disobey that command.  When I stopped to snap a photo this mare and colt
started toward the Fish Taco, likely looking for a carrot or apple.
A close-up photo of my Fish Taco.