Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tenting Tonight

We`re tenting tonight on the old camp-ground Give us a song to cheer Our weary hearts, a song of home And friends we love so dear. Many are the hearts that are weary tonight Wishing for the war to cease, Many are the hearts looking for the right To see the dawn of peace. Tenting tonight, tenting tonight Tenting on the old camp-ground. We`ve been tenting tonight on the old camp-ground,Thinking of days gone by of the loved ones at home that gave us thehand, And the tear that said, `Good-by !
We had a wonderful trip to the mountains in southwest Montana this summer with our lifelong friends Gary and Rosie. It had a special meaning to me as I was ready finally to revisit the places where my brothers and later my two sons and I learned to flyfish for rainbow trout. Those days are long gone now for reasons of time and circumstance. One son lives far away in Arizona and the other is with God.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Trapped On Trapper Mountain

The next day, after our following the Boulder Creek trail up the mountain from Sam Billings Campground in search of the hard to reach falls, we opted in favor of something a little less strenuous. The plan was to take the truck up a forest service road above tree line on Trapper Mountain. The Nez Perce road was wonderful though we didn't take the route all the way down into Idaho. A local Ranger had advise me that there were many switchbacks and long views down, which Mrs. T. doesn't much care for...
So returning by the same route down the mountain the following view appeared as we came around a corner. There were two pines blocking the road. And they were clearly beyond our capacity to lift and move off the road. Our cell phones didn't, work here and we hadn't seen a soul all day. We were trapped on Trapper Mountain. Thirty miles from Darby, Montana, the nearest town. Stressing that patience was a virtue we opted to go back to the truck and eat our picnic lunch. Finally, almost two hours later a white van was noted coming down the mountain.
As eight people jumped out of the van, we noted they were young, energetic and all had axes. We were saved! In about a half an hour, the two trees were delimbed. Then another half hour and the trees were cut at the two ends. We all pitched in and lifting one end pivoted them onto the shoulder and then rolled them into the ditch.
And so we left the mountain rescued and inspired by a group of young men and women from all over the country .... Montana Conservation Corps. All volunteers.
Mission Statement - "Montana Conservation Corps is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth and young adults through hands-on conservation service and education. Each season we enroll over 200 young adults from across the country, age 18 and up, in our AmeriCorps program, and more than 100 local teens, ages 15 to 17, in our Youth Service Expedition program. Our members live, learn and serve together, in crews of six to eight members, in some of our country’s wildest places. They complete conservation projects in local communities, national forests, state and national parks, wildlife refuges and federally designated wilderness areas. Participants receive the experience of a lifetime through challenging projects and the rigors of camp life, coupled with education aimed at creating engaged citizens and lifelong environmental stewards. All of these factors create an ideal situation for personal growth that leads to increased confidence, communication and leadership skills, and the ability to work well with people from all walks of life. Our mission to inspire young people through hands-on conservation service to be leaders, stewards of the land, and engaged citizens who improve their communities, is brought to life through our five core program objectives. Our goal is that each participant will leave MCC with the following: An ethic of volunteer service and civic responsibilityStrengthened communication and team-building skillsEnhanced competencies to be leaders and contributing team membersIncreased knowledge of the natural environmentAn enthusiasm for the benefits of hard work and quality results."

Similar organizations exist in many states often as an extension of
AmeriCorps. They also represent the heritage of the CCC. The Civilian Conservation Corps was part of President Franklin Roosevelpts "New Deal" in the 1930's

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Montana Revisited

So now I get to do something fun. Write about my second favorite state. Of course, you know
all about me and Minnesota. Big Sky
Country a.k.a. Montana though pulls me away like no other place. With a dead
computer and some annoying medical issues, it’s the getaway where I, Mrs. T and friends Gary and Rosie went camping and hiking a few weeks back. One
of the Top Ten on my list of favorite Montana places is The Sam Billings
Memorial Campground, up the West Fork Rd., from Darby, Montana. The campground can be found about a
quarter of a mile off the blacktop next to Boulder Creek. That creek feeds the
West Fork of the Bitterroot River. The campground is surrounded by huge Ponderosa Pines. The
only thing comparable, in my experience, would be the Norway Pines at the
headwaters of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park. The small town of Darby sits in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley, south of Missoula and Hamilton, Montana. Its main
attraction to Mrs. T is a world class ice-cream shop! What's so special
about this place that I like so much? Let me count the ways.
1. The short road into the campground is narrow and winding.
This tends to discourage the riff-raff with their huge rigs. Pop-ups and small
campers do just fine.
2. Potable
water is not available, so you have to bring your own. Of course, a bracing dip in the creek will wash the sweat off, if you don't mind its ice cold temperature (just kidding... sort of)
Three-foot diameter Ponderosa pines are scattered in the campground. It's also worth a hike 4.5 miles up Boulder Creek trail to the falls. My first trip to the falls, was with
my brother, fly rods in hand. It wasn't the distance that did me in. It was the several thousand
feet gain in elevation. Also, being totally out of shape didn't help me either, as
the ancient picture reveals...ugh.
just around the bend," my brother kept looking back and yelling. Finally
convinced, as Redd Fox used to say on Sandford and Son, "It's the Big
One," I said collapsing down on the trail, composing myself for the inevitable, hoping
it was quick and relatively painless. Figuring if it was time to go, I decided to enjoy the mountain view. A few
minutes later as my brother return back down the trail to check on me and having taken some deep breaths, I determined the
problem was not a heart attack but oxygen deprivation. And more imporantly, I
could hear the roar of the falls just around the next bend. Two days later inspired by Mrs. T and my sister in law leading the way I was able to reach the fabled falls. 4.
Trout. Cuthroats and cutbows abound in the creek. Not big ones. Pan sized. Mmmm
Mmmmm Good!
And so some twenty years later Mr. & Mrs Troutbirder along with friends Gary & Rosie set off up the very same mountain trail. I'm sorry to say we didn't quite make itto the falls but came very close. A young couple of returning hikers told of two icy streamscrossings, one of which involved balancing on a wet log. Discretion being the better part of valor, we turned back, remembering it's the journey that counts and not the destination.
Sam Billings Memorial Campground -
one of my favorite places in the mountain west.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Catching Up

So, as I was saying, I had to go to the Mayo Clinic for some consults. Then our ten year old Dell Computer died. We then with our friends Gary and Rosie went for a two week vacation in southwest Montana, camping and hiking in the mountains. That was great until two trees fell across a forest service road trapping us on Trapper mountain in the Bitterroot Range. Then we returned to Minnesota just in time to catch a horrible heat wave. Naturally our air conditioner quit working. Thus far June and July could have been a bit better....
A recurrence of my A-Fib problem after a 5 year hiatus led me back to Cardiology. A slightly revised regimen of medication seems to be working. Then it was off to Neurology where I learned that I had something special. On of those 1 in 10,000 people conditions. Lucky me. For those interested in the truly unnusual here in there own words is the Mayo Clinic description for lay people.
"Cervical dystonia, also called spasmodic torticollis, is a
painful condition in which your neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing
your head to twist or turn to one side. Cervical dystonia can also cause your
head to uncontrollably tilt forward or backward.
A rare disorder that can occur at any age, even infancy,
cervical dystonia most often occurs in middle-aged people, women more than men.
Symptoms generally begin gradually and then reach a point where they don't get
substantially worse.
There is no cure for cervical dystonia. The disorder sometimes
resolves without treatment, but sustained remissions are uncommon. Injecting
botulinum toxin into the affected muscles often reduces the signs and symptoms
of cervical dystonia. Surgery may be appropriate in a few cases
The most common type
of twisting associated with cervical dystonia is when your chin is pulled
toward your shoulder. Some people experience a combination of abnormal head
postures. A jerking motion of the head also may occur.
Most people who have
cervical dystonia also experience neck pain that can radiate into the
shoulders. The disorder also can cause headaches. In some people, the pain from
cervical dystonia can be exhausting and disabling.
In most cases of
cervical dystonia, doctors don't know why some people develop the disorder and
others don't. Some cases, however, appear to be linked to:
Head, neck or shoulder injuries."
Fortunately, the condition is more seriously annoying than seriously fatal. Botox may provide relief. What I find really discouraging is that, in my case, the involuntary head movement is to the right. And as a life long liberal I find that very hard to take .......