Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mowing in the Heat

Take a close look at this picture. Yes, that is Mike mowing. I wasn't feeling 100%, so he volunteered to help. Look again. No, that is not just a backpack. It is a Camlebak water backpack. He's working so hard in this Texas heat that he thinks he needs a hydration device! He has been wanting one of these for some time now and finally found one at a good price. We found it while browsing Sportsman's Warehouse the other day. It just makes me laugh seeing my manly-man using it while mowing the lawn! It's funny how much he exagerates and goes "over the top" sometimes.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Best Fishing Day of My Life

I come from a family of anglers. I, on the other hand have not historically been very good at hooking, let alone bringing in fish. That is why I’m dedicating this blog entry to the best fishing day of my life.
As you saw in the previous post, we went camping and fishing on the Gila River last weekend. It was a beautiful day and nearing evening when we walked the quarter mile or so to the river from our campsite. My mom and dad had their lines in before I even got to the water’s edge. They are so familiar with fishing they know exactly what they want to use as bait or lure and where to start casting right off.

Mike set up our poles for bottom fishing with a slider weight and hook for the night crawlers we packed in. Usually I make him impale the worm with the hook, but I guess after the trip in on horseback I was feeling rough and tough, so I baited my own. For those of you who have not experienced this- it’s not pleasant. The worm (still wiggling around) squirts out a liquid sometimes, and keeps squirming in attempts to escape. It totally grosses me out. Anyway, after my worm was on, I looked around for a place to cast.

The particular area where we stopped was pretty shallow, except for a few pooling areas. I decided that I would cast in one of the deeper areas upstream from where I stood. I threw out my line beyond the hole and slowly reeled it in as it floated back towards me. No luck on the first two tries, but on number three, I snagged a log…Or so I thought. The log (actually a fish) began to take my line upstream and fight. I was so excited that I had a fish on that I actually began to yell with excitement and jump up and down like a little kid. The battle to bring in my catch continued while my dad and Mike gave me instructions such as “tighten that drag” and “give him some line” as well as “don’t let him get under that bank with your line!” The fish surfaced a couple of times. (whether by his own efforts or mine I don’t know). This is when things got really exciting, because I saw just how BIG he was! We could also see that it was in fact a catfish, and for all intents and purposes, a lifetime record for me. Of course, as I mentioned before, it wouldn’t have taken much to surpass my other fish in size.

I reeled the lunker (as I was calling him) up to the bank where my dad got into the water and pulled him out. We estimate that my catfish was between 13-15 lbs. We took a lot of pictures and then I let him go back into the river.

After recovering from the adrenaline rush of my big catfish, I baited another hook and continued to fish in the same fashion and area. I brought in two more nice- sized catfish without more than 4 or 5 attempts/worms. I simply could not believe I was catching them! My dad had gone downstream after the first catch, so he missed seeing the others, but when he came back and saw the pictures, he was impressed with my domination of cats in his absence.

My mom, realizing that she really, really wanted a fish like what had been dragged out so far, decided to traipse across the river to the area where I was. She sacrificed the only dry shoes she brought on the trip to make it to the “sweet spot”. There were a few bites and one fish actually broke her line, but alas, not catfish. She did catch a mud sucker, though, so it wasn’t completely in vain.

The last fish we caught in that spot was another cat. I hooked it and let Cam reel it in. He was very excited, although not as excited as you’d expect for a 5 year old. He’s a seasoned fisherman by this time and casts his own line and reels his own fish in. He acted like it was just another day at the urban lake catching bluegills.

My dad returned from downstream with a nice rainbow trout. It had swallowed the hook, so he had to keep it. We kept Cam’s fish also and cooked them over the campfire at dinner time.

Other than these two, we released all the fish.

If we’re lucky, he (or she) will produce generations of fish just like my big one. If that’s the case, whoever catches them will have a good reason to take pictures, and even tell their friends about it!

Gila River Trip

We are back from the Land of Enchantment and our camping trip in the Gila Wilderness. It was a great time that was too short in everyone's opinion.We took our time packing in horseback and found a great meadow to set up camp. The river and fishing was only a short walk. There were minimal problems on the way in even though Cam was on his own horse and Mike was carrying Mara on his lap or in his arms when she was restless.

Our trip on horseback started at the top of a mountain in the Gila Wilderness. It was 1 ½ miles to the Gila River almost straight down on a Forest Service Trail. Once at the river, we continued for another 1-2 miles to find a good spot to camp. My Dad led the group with a string of 4 pack mules. Since we were only staying one night, they weren't loaded very heavy, making it less stressful. (Good thinking, Dad!). Mike was next in line ridding Kate, followed by me on Chapo leading Cam on Tiny. Mom brought up the rear on Pat.After setting up camp, we went fishing.

I caught a few big catfish, my mom caught a mud sucker, and Dad caught a rainbow trout. It was a great time. There's a whole blog entry on my fishing experience coming up.Dinner was delicious fajitas made by mom followed by roasted marshmallows for desert. Does it get any better than this? We all slept ok, even Mara- not counting the 3 or so times she woke up crying in the middle of the night.

In the morning, we ate breakfast and headed back to the river in hopes of a repeat success. No such luck, though. Cam and I team-caught a sucker and that was it. I think there were a few others on that got away for Dad and Mom. Mike didn't fish much because he was busy watching after Mara and re-rigging Cam and my fishing poles. Cam played in the water a little bit and Mara played in the sand under a shade tree with Mike and Mom.

That afternoon, we broke camp and packed up the mules for the ride out. We made it almost all the way out without incident. Mara actually slept almost the whole time! About ¼ mile from the truck, Cam’s cinch on his saddle broke. We did some switching around and he ended up on Kate with Mike walking the last little bit with Mara on his shoulders. Before you feel bad for Mike you should know that he was jumping at the opportunity to walk. I think he was done with the whole ridding-while-carrying-a-toddler thing. All in all, it was a pretty easy ride. Nobody got hurt, and that’s what matters.

Back at the truck we unpacked the mules, loaded them up and headed home. Mike’s truck hauled the 13,500 or so pound load out without much trouble at all. His brakes heated up on the way in, but were ok going out.

We consider ourselves very blessed to have had the opportunity to go on this adventure. Thanks Mom and Dad for taking us and providing the four-legged transportation and all the food and equipment. Hopefully we can do this again next summer!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Going Home

We are leaving in the morining for a week long trip to my parent's house in Mimbres, NM. While we are there, we will be attending a college graduation and going on an overnight horse-back fishing/camping trip. I'll post the details and pictures when I get back. See ya!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Cooling Off

Today was pretty hot, so we broke out the ol' cheap water toy...the sprinkler. I had to take a few pics of the kids as usual. We uncoiled our hose, strung it out into the center of the front lawn, attached the oscillating sprinkler, and bingo bango had ourselves a little water park.
Cam thought he was so cool running over the arch of spraying droplets. He then discovered he could block the flow of some of the holes with his hands and make the other ones spray farther.

Those that went the furthest hit me, so that came to an end pretty fast. Mara was all about drinking (or licking) it up. For the most part, she just got it in the face.

I know you might be thinking a swimming pool would provide more refreshment, but seriously, I didn't want to make an ordeal out of playing in the water today. We have a community pool- two, actually, but to go to one involves hauling a bunch of stuff down there and then driving back home with two fussy, wet kids. Oh, and don't let me forget to mention, there's more action shots for the camera with an interactive toy such as a sprinkler. So there you have a quick rundown of our afternoon aqua therapy.