Thursday, May 5, 2011


For the last couple years Pate has been my rock. There have been some times that I wonder how I could have made it through without my little buddy. We have spent almost every minute together for the past 7 months. So much time in fact that the few instances where we are apart I feel completely lost.

So when at 3am yesterday morning Pate started vomiting uncontrollably I grew a little worried. And when that vomit became bloody I became completely frightened. About 6:30 am I took him to the emergency veterinary hospital and they put him on an iv and started doing some tests. I spent the next two hours in a completely panic stricken state. Lately, a lot of dog friends of ours have had a rough go, from cancer to being hit by cars it hasnt been good. But Pate has always seemed invincible. He hasn't really been sick in a couple years and nothing ever seems to get to him. I couldnt understand what could be wrong.

After a couple of hours the tests all came back negative which may have been the biggest relief of my life. It appears that he just ate something that didnt agree with him but we have been unable to determine what that is. Pate needed to stay overnight for monitoring and fluids, so my worry hadnt completely subsided. This morning I picked him up and he seemed close to his normal self. But at this point I must say Im still a little worried. He is currently sleeping in my car while I am working in the fly shop. The wierd part is that he doesnt want to get out of the car right now...I hoping hes just tired and given how much we've moved in the past year it is just his place of comfort. But until my better half is back to normal I am going to be a little on edge.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


“‘Patagonia!’ He cried. ‘She is a hard mistress. She casts her spell. An enchantress! She folds you in her arms and never lets go.’”
-Bruce Chatwin (In Patagonia) -The book I am currently reading…thanks Anna!

There is dust, dirt, barren ground, minimal creature comforts, and oh my god the wind…but I don’t know what it is that makes me want to go back oh so badly to Patagonia. It was a place that almost immediately took hold of my heart and hasn’t let go. Only a few other things that I can think of have had that effect on me; fly fishing, especially for steelhead here on the Olympic Peninsula, for a time the Florida Keys, my first dog Biscuits, Pate of course, and one I’ll leave out that may be the reason I cling to the aforementioned things.

Trying to put my figure on what I love most about Argentina is like trying to pick one favorite song. It could be a Jimmy Buffett song like the relaxing way of life. Work hard when its required, relax when its not. Siestas are a daily necessity, every shop in town closes for at least 2 hours, the hustle and bustle grinds to a halt and everyone just relaxes. It could be a Bob Marley song, the fun loving generous people who are always smiling, willing to give you the clothes off their back, and always making you feel at home. It could be a John Denver song, Country Roads or Rocky Mountain High. The Argentine Andes being very similar to the Rockies minus the urban sprawl. The untouched beauty surrounds, emerald green lakes and rivers, snow capped peaked, Andean Condors soaring above. And how about the food, simple like a country song. How many days can you have steak in a row?…in Argentina the answer is a lot. And each one will make your mouth water and leave you craving more. The fish are there to, sleek and strong, graceful and elegant…Norah Jones? Always another around the next bend demanding more exploration and one more cast. There’s even some Willie Nelson in there…the Gauchos, Argentine cowboys hardened by the wind and the dust, who remind you that life doesn’t have to be so complicated. And then there is Bob Seiger of course, that miserable wind that will push you to the brink of insanity but somehow makes you feel free and know that you are alive. I suppose my beloved Taylor Swift may be missing but I guess you cant always get what you want.


Monday, January 3, 2011

My place

Apparently I have to turn off the TV to get the urge to write something. Who would’ve thunk it? Or in this case, get away from the tv completely…too bad that meant leaving my warm dry shelter for cuddling up in my car with my soaking wet four legged friend.
A little known fact: The Hoh Rain Forest where I am currently residing is the wettest place in all of North America. No not just this general area of the country…but this very valley only about 20 miles long and less than a half a mile wide. Even wetter than the rain forests of central america…ex: Costa Rica, Belize, etc. So what does that mean? Well for the past 5 days there has been no more than a couple hours of semi-dryness. 2 weeks ago it rained so hard in one night that the river went from 4,000 to 40,000 cfs (cubic feet per second). 200 ft long spruce trees with root wads the size of semi trucks were floating down the river…taking smaller trees and every thing else with them in the process. Quite a sight to behold.

I had to rush into town at 80 mph in a blinding rain to get food & supplies after the park ranger told me he expected the road to wash out and I would be cut off from society. In the end that didn’t happen but the impression was left in my mind.
In the aftermath it became clear that my beloved Hoh River had went through an overly common midlife crisis. Every single run, hole or otherwise known fishing spot of mine was gone forever replaced with a whole new scene. Back to square one on learning this river and its steelhead. I guess that’s part of the game and part of the fun…each day is new and unique.
I wish I could say the past few weeks were very productive, and not that there haven’t been moments, but their just isn’t much to do around Forks, WA besides go fishing. And when I cant do that…well I have Walker Texas Ranger marathons at least.
Im not sure what it is about the road but today it was like as soon as I got in the car and got the music going (Ray Lamontagne), my mind started turning in overdrive. Catching up I guess on the past two months here where I think I may have taken a mind vacation. I’ve always thought of myself as very self reflective, often times to a fault or at least to the sacrifice of my everyday happiness. But it is also something about myself that I wouldn’t change, so realizing I had lost touch with that for a while really bothered me. Im glad to say today I am catching up in a hurry. The meaning of life, my destiny, and my summer plans were all on the menu today to the point of me missing road signs and turns more than once.
Possibly my mind vacation enable me to better take in my surroundings. Over the past two months since I took up residence on the Hoh River I have been encompassed daily by breathtaking beauty. Bald Eagles, along with Pate of course, are my constant river companion. There graceful flight and majestic stature never stops amazing me. Golden Eagles, who dwarf even the Bald’s, often fool me into thinking taradactyls and lost worlds. I’m yet to see a T-Rex. Elk frequent my front yard every few days, sometimes just feet off my front porch. Cougars probably aren’t far off either. Sometimes following a dark riverside trail I have been overcome with that eerie being watched feeling…times like these make me even more thankful for my little buddy with acute senses by my side.
And then there are the days that the rain parts, the skies clear, and Mount Olympus towers in the background. Suspended above rain forest and glacier…a photo could be mistaken for the Himalayas. Other days I drive 15 miles in the opposite direction to the ocean, walk the beach and listen to the waves. And then there’s the steelhead…yup, this place isn’t so bad.

My backyard...the Hoh River Valley

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Road Trip Playlist

My friend BJ's dad passed away over the weekend. He and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. Really makes you think about how short life is and what's important. Say a prayer for them tonight.

My trip odometer since I left Michigan now reads over 9,000 miles in just over two months.
I tend to get on kicks where I listen to the same group of song over and over again for long periods of time. Sooo over the past couple months I have developed the super ultimate cliché road trip play list as follows in no particular order:
Peaceful Easy Feeling -Eagles
Thousand Miles from Nowhere -Dwight Yoakam
Free -Zac Brown Band
Stop that Train -Bob Marley
Keep on Movin “ “
Road and the Radio -Kenny Chesney
Time to Fly -REO Speedwagon
Here I Go Again -Whitesnake
Write it in a Song -Lynard Skynard
Can’t Always Get What You Want -Rolling Stones
Roll if ya fall -Barefoot Truth
Send me on my way -Rusted Root
Country Roads -John Denver
Walking Man -James Taylor
Far Side of the World -Jimmy Buffett
Amarillo by Morning -George Strait
On the Road Again -Willie Nelson
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Cowboys -Willie Nelson
Highwaymen -Highwaymen
Lover Lover -Jerrod Niemann
Good Riddance -Green Day
Blowin in the Wind -Bob Dylan
Over and Over -Pat Green
Threadbare Gypsy Soul -Pat Green
Take it Easy -Eagles, also Travis Tritt cover
Much too young -Garth Brooks
Willin’ -Little Feat
The Ride -David Allan Coe
Runaway -Love and Theft
Where My Devils Go -Sweet Japonic
Take it to the Freeway -Sweet Japonic
Something More -Sugarland
Settlin’ -Sugarland
Heard it in a love song -Marshall Tucker Band
Ride a Tear -Dispatch
Against the Wind -Bob Seiger
There are a lot of other songs that made my super list of road songs although they didn’t make the lyrical cut of talking about life on the road so they have been excluded. And my number one favorite song of the past couple months I feel the need to name as well: Jolene -Ray LaMontagne

Monday, November 29, 2010

life in the woods

a friend of mine...cant remember who...showed me this a couple years ago which i saved and uncovered recently...i like it...

The Men That Don't Fit In

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An ode to my best buddy...

My dog is an interesting one…I think all dogs have quirks, labs more than most…and pate possibly more than most labs.

Over the past month on the road:

Pate buries his food under his bed at chad’s place when we leave him for half a day…in doing so he rubs all the skin off his nose…still bright pink three weeks later.

Since we have hit the road Pate now feels it is necessary to growl at everything that moves and some things that don’t. He is still the friendliest dog in the world but any stranger must get past the growling and barking, hair up on his back, 105 lb dog to see his fun loving side.

The last few nights pate has been going to bed in the tent on my sleeping bag at very early hours. When I tried shutting the tent so he would stay out with me he decided he would try to find a way into the tent by pushing against the door and all other sides effectively testing the perimeter like the veloci raptors in Jurassic Park.

This morning when we woke up to a steady rain, I let him out to go to the bathroom and I got out and started brushing my teeth and getting ready for the day. Pate sees its raining and decides to return to the tent. He then refuses to come back out. I lure him out and then he runs back in. Eventually I win.

He swims into the river chasing every fish he sees jump even if its a hundred yards away.

On the raft the other day near the end we finally saw some sun and he dried himself on the rocks while we fished.
Upon returning to the raft Pate decides that now that he is dry he shouldn’t have to get in the bottom of the raft where there is a little standing water. He proceeds to sit on the outer tube of the raft his ass hanging over the water, on the brink of falling in at any moment through mild whitewater and lots of bumps. Upon arriving safely at the boat ramp…he jumps out of the raft into the water anyway…

So he may be a little crazy…but I am pretty sure I know where he gets it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

On the road again...

Well, it’s the eve of my last day in Idaho fishing the Clearwater. I have been on the road for 36 days, Fishing for approx 23 of the last 25 days. Haven’t showered in 13 days…New Record! I think that will end tomorrow night? And alone for 6 since Chad had to return to Montana. At least I have my puppy, although he crawled into the tent literally 30 seconds after I staked it down tonight. Best buds forever. I must admit I am getting a little lonely and road wary at this point, although I am in good spirits. A little Sweet Japonic on the ipod is reminding me of home as type and cook ramen. Cheese and crackers is adding a high end touch to my dinner. Where is the wine? Anyway, I think the timing is about right to settle down on the coast, rest a couple days and get to business before I run out of money.
Yes it is most definitely time to leave the Clearwater. Someone stole my tent stakes and pate’s water bowl yesterday. Most likely to let me know I had overstayed my welcome at the not so campground campsite I was living at. While I was a little ticked about it, at least they were thoughtful enough to leave the tent. As well as the sleeping bag, pad, and pate’s bed that were in the tent. Or maybe they all were way too repulsive for anyone to want? Did I mention my awesome shower streak? That is kind of a little challenge I have been having with myself to see how long I can make it. Unavailability of any shower makes it a little easier. The campground I am at tonight is formally free, two weeks ago it was packed, tonight I am by my lonesome.
My time here hasn’t been without some difficulty. The previous week a rock rolled out from under right foot causing me to fall backwards down a steep slope. Sliding down rocks, ripping a 5” gash in my new waders, and banging me up a bit. When I finally got back to my feet, the combination of the wader rip, knee pain and lack of fish catching brought me into a bit of a temper frenzy that lasted a while. I calmed down upon thinking of the luck that I did not re-tear my ACL. I am 6 months on the rehab from surgery. My doctor would rip me a new one if he knew I was wading like I have been for months. The Clearwater being especially treacherous. But the knee has held up and feels strong despite some pain, good job doc.
I also cant say I have done outstandingly well fishing wise here on the Clearwater. But the fish I have caught have been very memorable. Three days ago I caught one of my largest steelhead to date. A wild female of 16+ lbs, full of piss and vinegar. And as beautiful as they come (See picture below).

I realize my writing may be a bit scatterbrained, all over the place, and lacking punctuation but I guess my style so far is the way my brain operates (all over the place). I also have no desire to edit/proofread anything, but I do apologize for the lack of organization…thanks for reading anyway J

Last day of fishing tomorrow, headed to the coast on Saturday…

So this walking man walks (James Taylor) or drives but you get the point. I should have better phone service for a few days if anyone wants to catch up....