Friday, December 12, 2008

Day II - Yellowstone Cutthroat – Tales of the Black Spot

MFRW, Grizz and Ralphy were already up when I crawled out of my tent and into the morning twilight. Hard frost covered the morning ground. You could see your breath in the crisp breezy air, it was cold. The smell of backcountry coffee was beautiful, nothing like a Jetboil French press way out here. We watched the sky change colors over the wild landscape while sipping our hot cup of Joe. The light was slowly making its way over to the ledge of the canyon walls; it's only a matter of time before it drops in. The river was singing and Neil young was rocking the hell out of the Ford speakers as we rigged for the day.

The hike felt good. We took the high road and quickly passed where we finished the day before. A few more turns and we could see the "big right hander" way up ahead. It's where the walls come close together, creating a bottle neck. We are almost there… well, that's what we've been saying for a few hours now. No sign of people, no billboards, no T.V, no foot prints, no tire tracks – although MFRW found a huge old wrench, really old… and really heavy. They don't build them like they used too. Other than that, it's an empty playground filled with water, grass and nature.

Along the way we picked up fish. Some of the guys were tossing large oversize foam Chernobyl ant patterns accompanied with droppers. The crazy black spotted Cutthroats ate our offerings with picky, picky attitudes. Fishing was tough for a minute there. By mid day I finally opted for the old stand by streamer: the SDungeon and had some action. Don't get me wrong, everybody got into fish that morning, we just had to really work for it.

Nearing the "big right hander" you can see the river is split in two by an island. The island is 50 feet long and is covered in very tall grass, which is well overhead. From a distance it looks like a huge chi-a-pet in the middle of the river. MFRW and Grizz were above Ralphy and me. They took the left so we took the right. The wind was blowing hard through the passage way, at this point gusts were in the above average range.

After crossing the river to the tail of the island I looked over to see Ralphy'. He was obviously trying to tell me something. I could tell by the way his mouth moving, but no words were heard due to the wind. I yelled back "I can't hear you" just for the fun of it. He must have read my lips because gave me the universal sign for moose by putting his hands out at eye level and spaced apart shoulder with, then adding a slight bobbing motion form side to side. Then he pointed up towards the tip of the island. Great! I crossed back over and met up with him.

From our position we could see two moose right in the middle, blocking our way. A bull with rather large paddles and a cow were standing on at the tip of the island. We could see Grizz and MFRW on the left side of the bank directly across from them. We have somehow managed to accidently surround the moose; they are trapped in the middle. We thought it was best to cross and meet up with guys. That way the moose have an easy escape route and hopefully won't feel exposed.

Meeting up with the guys we realized how close they really are…err…we are, to the moose. Chili, Grizz's trusty side kick, was out in front pacing back and forth between her master and the threat. A few, twenty, feet away the female moose was not all smiles. Her ears were cocked back and you could tell she was not happy. The dog was fearless. Pacing back and forth and barking if she felt the slightest movement towards us. It was awesome to see a mountain dog command authority like that. She tried to persuade the moose to move along but it just wasn't going to happen. We had no choice but to turn around and fish our way back to camp.

Chili was awesome. I have seen her is action before and have witness some amazing river crossings. But this time it was different. No way was she giving up any ground and I'm certain that she would fight to the death if something were to happen…. That's loyalty right there. Almost makes me want to get a dog… almost. Chili is definitely part of the team and she earns her keep every trip. I suppose that why she gets to eat steak, ribs and sometimes even dog food.

We fished streamers on the way back and had a blast. Tomorrow we are heading out. Not sure where were headed, well just figure it on the road… as usual.


mike doughty said...

sweetness! to bad the day was cut short by the meeses. you have to apreciate a dog that is willing to take one for the team.

Hoss said...

Every time I come and read your blog I cant help but be mesmerized by your pictures.

BG said...

Thanks for stopping by guys... the meeses were not happy, not at all. :)

Anonymous said...

God I hate moose