Yellow things, white things, green things, purple things, they are everywhere in camp and Chuck and Gretchen actually know their names and many even have a purpose. Who knew? As we wake and gather in the open kitchen the day presents bright colors and open vistas, mixed with people in need of morning coffee.
We launch from camp about 11:30, Joe left two hours ago in his canoe. But first we need a group picture. One of the things the pictures show is that Chuck now requires everyone to wear a PFD on the river, Its a part of his permit conditions. While it makes total sense and I don’t object at all, it is a constricting pain in the pooper.
Its egg patterns and beads today, depending on your preference. We are again immediately connected to tight lines as we start the days float. Oh, another damned Dollie! Please throw me in that briar patch!
The river is starting to drop a bit but it is still high and swift. The great news is that it hasn’t gone off color. The visibility in the water is very good, its clear.
Lunch meet up with everyone doesn’t happen. Joe is no where to be found and Chuck and Eric seem out of sync on when and where we are to meet, so we fish instead., Another briar patch I love to be in.
At the old beaver lodge camp the braids and backwaters are gone. We go for a channel that will take us into what used to be backwater, just as I hook into a LARGE rainbow. Three ariel displays and we hit the side channel and he goes down the main channel, its not always about landing the fish. We have camped at this spot many times but today it is wet small island with no camping spots. There are some fish holding along the cliff face on the down river side of the area so Steve and I fish for them.
After we have been on the water fishing for about five minutes I catch movement out of my peripheral vision. I turn to see a large Great Horned Owl swooping down off the cliff face and head down river. The size was amazing and the quietness even more so.
On down the river we go. Today seems to be my rainbow day. Three nice size bows all on Polar Shrimp. Looking to find Joe and Chuck we blow past lots of good water but stop at a photo stop from our last trip when Steve hooks into a nice Silver. Funny how even here fish hold in the same places year after year.
Steve fishes the head of the bar and the back water, Eric climbs up on the high bank and watches and picks blueberries.
We continue downriver and as we approach Slate Creek we are looking for fish and landmarks. The Silver Hole that was on the cover of “Ashes in my Whisky” is blown out with no fish holding and we find Joe across from our old Slate Ck. campsite.
We have found Joe but Chuck is still up river so we go down to where Eric thinks we are supposed to camp, Chuck calls it Midway Camp. It is just down river from this photo on river left. A small back water at the head of a gravel bar. Chuck joins us as we pull into the backwater.
While we have to tromp through the willows to the site , it is close by the river compared to many sites we have had. Again we find open, flat and protected, a Chuck Camp.
Lots of peanuts and a new bottle of whisky to sample, and cigars of course, finish off the afternoon after camp is set.
Another difference this year with Chuck is the bear fence and where he places it. It is almost always set up early as we set camp, away from the kitchen and away from the tents. The logic is that if the bear comes into the kitchen and there is no food that he may make noise but there isn’t any real harm. If he is after food, the attraction is to the food in the impound which is protected. It feels safe to have that system in place. And, another thing to do in setting up camp.
Dinner is bratwurst, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes with spicy mustard.
Another theme of this trip is “Early to Bed” and tonight is no exception. Everything is wrapped up and people are headed for their tents around 8:00 pm. The sun won’t set for another couple of hours but with the cloudy skies it doesn’t deter anyone from seeking shut-eye.