Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Fam & Plan B... C.... D

So Plan A was to help out a Professor trying to capture Gila Spawning behavior in the Gila Wilderness Area. The one weekend that Lance Armstrong decides to show up to a bike race in the tiny town of Silver City and all rooms are booked, we moved to plan B.

Plan B was to spend the weekend outside with the family hiking the East fork of the Black river, have dinner with our dear friend Chip and Penny, and maybe catch a little fishing on the South Fork of the Little Colorado Sunday morning and head home.

Car packed and family ready to roll, we headed off to the White Mountains. We ate at Charlie Clark's steakhouse and got a couple rooms at the Holiday Inn Express a mile or so down the road in Pinetop. The next morning came early and brisk. Snow capped roofs on the truck told Tara and myself we needed a Plan C. My folks are getting of the age where snow and cold exposure tends to turn moods sour. Can't blame them, not sure how much I love the cold anymore either. So Plan C was hatched, by Google and Weather search next to hour or less drives to water from Pinetop, Sho-Low Area.

Workman Creek & the Solome Wilderness Area was showing a chance of 80F. Silver Creek, near 50F, and East Fork of the Black River was 45F for a high. It took less then the time to order breakfast for my parents to vote on Workman Creek. We decided to go through Globe and share some of Arizona History with Hudson and Addison.

Pulling into Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Site Hudson had to pee for the fifth time. We ran to the bathroom and then started walking through the "Castle". Parents use words their children can relate to in order to infuse enthusiasm. The ruins dating back to 1140 A.D. were once populated by hundres of Salado Indians. The runis themselves were built atop Hohokam pit dwellings dating pre 500 A.D. The entire site is nestled inside homes, a softball field, and government buildings. One of the largest sites in the Southwest, it's hard to not feel a bit sickened by the urban sprawl invading all corners of this historical monument. Agave, Yucca, and Poppies carpet the earthen floor. Lizards, humming birds, and bright red Cardinals can be seen throughout the site. Hudson, called out the first Lizard he saw as, "The Car company Lizard: Gecko." Naming

and claiming he asked if we could get a lizard as a pet, hinting at this one as if it would be okay to take him home with us.

Rounding up after a quick trip through the Open-To-The-Public section we piled up in car again. In reverse, and rolling out of the parking lot, "Dad I have to go potty."

On the road ten minutes later we headed out highway 188. Nice view of Rosy as we followed 88 around the lake. Headed up into the Salome Wilderness area close to 40 miles outside Globe south of Young. Now Young is a special kind of place reserved for those who don't want presence of any government, including ours. Historically speaking it has been the birthing grounds for some of Arizona's bloodiest feuds. Rival families started practicing mass murder back before the turn of the century when the Graham Clan attacked the Tewksbury Clan for harboring safe-haven to sheep. Long story short they killed each other down to the very last family member. Tread lightly and try not to leave trace nor wear your woolen scarf while visiting Young.

Back to the story... We had just crossed over Workman Creek Bridge and were driving the dirt turnoff towards the falls. Turns out four miles up the road, the Forestry Service had closed the road. We had to hike the last mile or so up to the falls. Packing up sixty pounds of camera gear, god knows why, Tara strapped on our baby-backpack and I inserted Addison. Hudson grabbed his rod, and my folks started ahead of us to get an early start.

Hiking up to a 200 foot falls is worth every step. Nothing short of breathtaking, especially for those practicing a non-cardio diet, the water spouting out of cliff and down to Workman Creek is beautiful. Coming close to the edge is easy, no rails to hold you back. Straight down, 200 feet of rock, and a crushing fall for those not sure of foot. It struck me like a swat to the back of the head, how close beauty and tragedy were standing out on the lip trying to place my tripod for a shot in howling winds that swept through the canyon. Not the way I would like to die, in front of the family, but amazing how nature tasted so much more alive while an inch from falling off it. I took Hudson close one time, and then he had to go to the other side of the trail and stay in GMA's arms. No jokes here, he is way to active to get close.

I handed Tara the Camera and climbed out onto the ledge as close to the experience as I could get. She walked down the path a ways to find a shot that would work. I gave her the wrong lens, but this is what we came out with. I will have to go back with the 70-200 and re shoot this. I think early morning light would give this East Facing Waterfall a spectacular misty-rainbow and the reach to get the angler standing perch over the lower section of the creek armed with fly rod.

We wrapped up our falls shooting session and headed to the creek. Although I didn't snap pictures, I swear the first fish I saw, landed, and released was a Cutthroat. It looked pastel like, Lahanton almost. Not possible to be the same strain from the Sierras, but it shook me a bit. Like a sneaky suspicion someone else besides a government organization has been at work here.

I found a pool with a couple dozen willing fish in it, however Hudson got frustrated with getting hung in the low hanging Arizona Maple branches dripping over head. So I took the rod for him and casted to a few fish, hooked and handed over.

Hard for not to get choked up recalling this to you, even in type. I pray that I don't ever loose the memory of the pure joy lit across his face fighting the tug at the other end of that line. He squeeled, calling out how big the fish was before he had even seen its first flash. "Dad it's a huge, this is a big one, wahoooo." Hudson celebrated for nothing other than a tug on the other end of his line. Simple, intoxicating, and perfect from this dad's perspective.

He lost the first one and I think he actually cussed, but his mom didn't catch it so I won't tell. We repeated the previous scenario, this one a little bigger. Hudson cackled loudly again, calling out a five-gillion pounder. Sensing he would get to land this one, Mom moved in. We wanted Hudson to stay dry as long as possible. Being all "Boy", he tends to get messy just by looking at dirt. I don't think he even has to touch it, just be near it, and it ends up in his hair, mouth, eyes, cloths you name it. Something we were trying to avoid in an meager attempt to keep the grandparent's car too dirty.

Despite our best efforts, mom fumbled the fish, and Hudson jumped in after the prize. Luckily only knee deep he helped pull the line out from around a root and lofted the fish for mommy to land.

After a couple more hook ups and spooking what I thought was a true monster for a small creek like this, Dad and mom had vowed to return to this creek. She holds surprises for sure. On this day she held what I know as true-love. The love of my little-man squeeling over fish, spent with those who despite popular pole, don't leave. You break it all down and you will find few things matter, this weekend we did some of those.. Take your kids fishing.

My new motto is this, "Reclaim your youth, take them fishing."


Shoreman said...

Never a truer word spoken. Thanks for the tour.


mike doughty said...

gotta love it when a plan comes together