Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach. – John Muir
So doubly happy was I to set out with my grandson, Keyton, up this trail for a mid-July backpacking trip into the mountains north of McCall, ID.
This was the first trip with just Keyton and me out together. Keyton lives in American Samoa, so this was serious climate change for him on his summer visit. The two mile hike in to our camp on Upper Hazard Lake is about right for a young backpacker, especially for one coming from thick tropical air to this thin mountain air at an elevation of 7,060′. Janene and I have done a lot of camping with our grandkids, but only one previous backpack trip (Moby Goes to Jennie Lake).
Keyton caught a Brook trout here on about his fourth cast. The fish gods were kind, and I offered my silent thanks.
Day 2 we ventured over the pass to sample another lake. Fishing was “slow”, as in we were just one fish away from being skunked. Keyton considered a swim, but found Hard Creek Lake a bit cooler than the tropical Pacific Ocean he has grown accustomed to.
Last winter had a heavy snowpack, so the mountain soils got plenty of moisture, thus the grass was lush this summer. When sheep dream of heaven I think it looks like this. #Nofilter
This is just the sort of heavily filtered and colorized photo that I so hate seeing everywhere today. Magazines, calendars, blogs, Facebook, Instagram: all are polluted with choices from unnatural color palettes. I prefer natural nature. I prefer honesty and truth over hype. Come on photographers, use #Fakecolors and be upfront about it.
I love this one. Somebody who feels the way I do has a Tumbler blog that makes it easy to expose the liars on Instagram who use the hashtag “#Nofilters” and then post altered photos. This blog inspects the zillions of Instagram photos on the web, sifts out all the ones that lie about #Nofilter, (the “filter fakers”) and makes it easy for anyone to check and see if if a photo on Instagram is actually filtered or not. Sadly, I suppose that it comes as no surprise that this is useful in a country that elected a serial liar to be our President.
Day 3 -Over another pass was this “hidden” gem of a lake. I am trying to teach K the ways of a fisherman, and I have learned the hard lesson many times over that no good can come of revealing secret fishing spots. I know some of you reading this blog are doing so just to find out about such fishing spots. I do the same sort of thing myself. So if you are one of those you will have to follow the clues I have given in order to find the location of this lake.
Here is a clue for you about that “hidden” lake. You don’t need to be a real Sherlock to figure this one out. Part of my education of Keyton is to teach him the language of anglers. We caught one trout from Hard Creek Lake. Translation to Anglerese: “fishing was slow.” Here at Hidden Lake we caught nothing, but did have one fish strike at my fly. Translation: “fishing was real slow.”
There is more to fishing than catching fish. If you want to eat fish, go to the fish market. If you want to experience nature, go fishing. Going fishing with Grandpa should include more than just casting a fly. Experiences like eating all-natural, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan snow cones off of a sharp knife for example. Going days without bathing or changing your underwear might be another. The possibilities are endless.
Triply happy is the man for whom ice cream is in reach back in town, and quadruply happy if there is a grandkid in tow. No fishing trip with a grandpa should be complete without ice cream. For this grandpa, no trip to McCall (elev. 5,013′) is complete without a stop at My Father’s Place for a “Mile-High” milkshake. Even if there are no grandkids along!