Grandkids

Rhyan and Atlas at the Cold Creek Pond.

About nine months ago I posted a story about taking my grandson Atlas to fish the Cold Creek pond. My son and his family will be relocating out of state, and Atlas and his sister Rhyan were asking to go fishing with “Pops” again before they move. This was to be Rhyan’s first fishing adventure.

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The First Fish

FisherDad (aka “Pops”) with his eldest grandson at the Cold Creek pond. My seven-year old grandson caught his “First Fish” on this day. Coincidentally, I caught my first trout on a dry fly in 1977 from the Cold Creek headwaters that are now partially diverted to create this pond. My first “dry fly” trout, hooked on a ratty-looking dry fly that I tied on my vise, was caught on a 7 weight, 81/2 foot rod… which is a whole other ridiculous story.

The process of transferring your hobby or interest to another can be a tricky endeavor. It becomes more challenging when the other person is a family member. Some parents hope their children follow in their footsteps. Sometimes those footsteps involve career choices. Other times it could be hobbies and recreational interests. The closeness of family often results in members opting to participate in the hobby of another simply to experience the togetherness rather than any real interest in the activity. I don’t view that as a bad thing, choosing to participate just so you can be with your loved one. I sometimes hear stories of parents and children sharing deep affection for hobbies, and even career interests. My experience indicates those shared interests are rarer than most might think. Nonetheless, I believe family members that compromise on these joint activities tend to develop tighter bonds.

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The Purpose of Mending Your Line

The Fish Taco parked in the reflection of Cold Creek’s 9,967 foot Willow Peak, with snow still stuck to its northeast face on this wonderful May 11th of 2023.

I wish everyone had a hobby or passion they could turn to for its healing powers. Something that allows them to disengage from the thorns and thickets of their earthly life and to catch a glimpse of the joy promised by God. Yes, I recognize that many do not believe in the God of the Bible, but many of those non-Christians acknowledge some spiritual connection to nature, the universe, or humanity in general. Knowing that they turn towards their spiritual beliefs gives me hope. One of my recurring prayers is that many of those who are “spiritual” will someday come to know and understand it was the God of all who placed that sense of spirituality within them. Unfortunately, even Christians like me can grow to idolize our hobbies to the extent that we worship the creation rather than the Creator who designed them for our pleasure. With that idolatry caution out of the way, today I wish to concentrate on the healing and meditative powers of fly fishing, a simple and obscure hobby.

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Spiritual Awareness

A feral Cold Creek horse finds some winter grass with the Spring Mountain’s Wheeler Peak in the background. Not to be confused with Nevada’s second tallest peak in the Great Basin National Park, this Wheeler Peak is just 9,200 feet in elevation. The camera angle is looking due west from the Cold Creek pond.

It is wonderful how a few hours of fishing can provide a special place and time to contemplate things that are important. Today at Cold Creek was one of those moments.

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A Good First Step…

Looking towards the western edge of the small pond at Cold Creek. The obvious pass in the mountains left of center is Wheeler Pass, a four-wheel-drive jeep trail that eventually takes you into Pahrump, NV. Note my Fish Taco hiding behind the willow tree. I was able to hobble along the impoundment dam to where I wanted to cast from, a place that would accommodate my new Walkstool in case my right leg and foot grew tired from standing. I was able to accomplish all this without the aid of a foot brace or cane.

I think of myself as an optimist with a healthy dose of realism. Those who know me might disagree, but being a faith filled Christian makes it difficult to be pessimistic. The Lord is sovereign over everything, and he is good and loving. My belief in, and my love for, the Lord Jesus moves me to conduct my life in a manner that shows my thankfulness for all the conditions of my life. It is that thankful contentedness which allows me to reflect the light of Christ to others. Some might think the greatest inspiration comes from those whose achievements are of the highest honor. Maybe so, but we should receive some inspiration from those who suffer with honor, dignity, and a glowing appreciation for all that the Lord has done for them, from His simple provision of a sunny day at a local pond to His atoning death on the cross for our sins.

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A Boo Rod

My Sweetgrass fly rod – serial no. 2450, 7′ 9″, 4/5 weight – accompanied by my Hardy L.R.H. Lightweight reel spooled with a #5 sink-tip line. I am old enough to pre-date graphite rods, and I admit that I have longed to own a quality bamboo fly rod since the age of 21. I can finally check that off my list.

Most every serious trout angler has heard or read about the history of bamboo fly rods. Split cane rods replaced wooden poles or bamboo poles for fishing in the early 1800s. Apparently there is some confusion about where split cane rods were invented (France, England, China, or USA), but as for America it is said that Samuel Phillipe of Easton, Pennsylvania, was the first American to experiment with making multisided rods with strips of bamboo glued together. No doubt the industrial age advanced the craft of rod making in the late 1800s.

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Spring Mountains Getaway

Looking south from Cold Creek Road toward the northern edge of the Spring Mountains Range. On the far left is Mummy Mountain at about 11,500 feet in elevation. The next peak(s) is actually the Sisters Peaks (South at 10,000 feet and North at 9,800 feet). The Sisters block out the view of Mount Charleston which tops out at 11,918 feet about 4 miles behind them in this camera lens line of sight. The next peak is Macks Peak at about 9,800 feet, followed by McFarland Peak to its right at about 10,700 feet. The next subtle peak, preceding the snow-covered burned slopes to the right of the photo, is Bonanza Peak at about 10,400 feet. Finally, the highest peak on the snow-covered ridge is Willow Peak (just under 10,000 feet). Each of these peaks are at different distances from the camera, explaining why their outline along the horizon does not match perfectly with their true elevations.

As a way of saying “Goodbye” to our southern Nevada winter, this morning I took a leisurely drive to the less traveled portion of the Spring Mountains west of the Las Vegas Valley, a trip that also moderated my adjustment to a valley temperature of just under 80 degrees. The Spring Mountains Range is about 60 miles long, and most of it angles off in a northwest direction from Las Vegas. Its most obvious view from the city is that of the prominent red rock bluffs on the west edge of the valley. Of course I took along a fly rod and a few flies just in case I decided to fish the pond at Cold Creek (I doubt you are holding your breath on that one).

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Cold Creek, My Old Friend

On the road to the high-desert Cold Creek pond, looking north past the pond towards the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (Fish and Wildlife Service) that overlaps with the Nevada Test and Training Range (Dept. of Defense) and the Nevada National Security Site (Dept. of Energy). Per Google Earth, the pond measures 308 feet by 122 feet at its widest points, which calculates to 0.86 of an acre, but the pond resembles a chicken fillet, not a rectangle. My best guess is the pond surface area is closer to two-thirds of an acre, and about a third of that is shallow and not suitable trout habitat. It is a tiny body of water.

My early exploration of the Cold Creek area began when I was in college, around 1977, with my hiking buddy Kevin McGoohan. At that time there was no community development, no town of Cold Creek. It was as pristine as could be in the late 1970s. It is where I caught my first trout on a fly rod, so it has held extreme sentimental value to me these past 44 years (read my Cold Creek, Clark Co., NV post to learn more about my early exploration of Cold Creek).

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Cold Creek in December

The northwest edge of the 10,000-foot Spring Mountains provides a contrast to the high desert flora that is unique to the western states.

I seem to have this unfulfilled fantasy of fishing in the snow. There’s something magical about how snow blankets the trees, shrubs, and rocks, hiding their intimate details from our vision. I especially enjoy how it can muffle sound, especially during a calm snowfall. In late November 2013 I tried to fish the pond during an early season snowfall, but instead I became a participating witness to a coyote who was hunting a jackrabbit, a rabbit that seemed to use my truck as a defensive barrier. Of course, my fantasy conveniently ignores the effects cold snow has on my comfort, particularly toes and fingers… but that’s part of the effort-reward transaction that usually comes with any great outdoor adventure.

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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.

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