The Trout Also Rises

"A blog upon my estutcheon" A weblog about fishing, hunting, hiking, cycling, books, beer, and other random musings. Any humor contained in this site is entirely unintentional and has not been tested on animals. e mail aaaaargh at msndotcom

Location: California

A hunter and fisherman, fascinated with books and history.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Cornell and the Ivory Bill

At a historic news conference today, researchers at the Cornell Institute of Ornithology announced the discovery of the ivory billed Woodpecker, thought to be extinct for over sixty years. The team that located the bird included one of my long time fishing and hunting partners, Tim Gallagher.

Tim was one of the original group that ventured into the swamps of southern Arkansas to locate the giant woodpecker in 2004. He has been writing a book on the search for the ivory billed woodpecker, which has consumed countless naturalists and amateur birdwatchers over the last century. His book, The Grail Bird : The Search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, is due out in June. If you can't wait, his earlier book, Parts Unknown, is pretty good too.

Tim was the guy who taught me how to flyfish about twenty-five years ago, so I'll be buying all his books.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Thoughts on Ultralight Backpacking

I'm hoping to do an early season trip in the Domeland Wilderness as kind of a shakedown for some new gear and fish some rarely visited parts of the South Fork of the Kern River.

I went on a bit of a spending spree this spring, acquiring a new sleeping bag, a new pack, a titanium pot, and a new tent, among other things.

The sleeping bag, a Snugpack Softie Merlin, is very cool. The whole thing compresses to about the size of a football and fits into the outside mesh pocket of my new Gregory G pack, leaving the internal storage of 3,000 cubic inches for everything else. The Snugpack series of bags are made in the UK, and were designed for British special forces. They have a proprietary fill from Switzerland, and a pertex exterior. The Merlin, which weighs as much as a kitten, is advertised as good to 32'. We'll see.

Also very cool is the CMG Bonfire tent light, which will replace both my flashlight and the old brass candle lantern. The Campmor website says the Bonfire weighs 4.5 ounces with batteries and provides up to 30 hours on low power. With lithium batteries, the weight should be even less.

The new tent I got is the Eureka Spitfire, which weighs in under three pounds, though with the Tyvek footprint it will be right around three. Another weight saver is the new rod case, which is just a clear plastic mailing tube with plastic caps. The rod is a tight fit, but the weight savings over the old aluminum tube is substantial.

Last year I really got tired of hauling a heavy external frame pack around the Sierras, and hope to get the new rig down to around 20 pounds (without water). In the meantime, I'm trying to talk the Troutwife and some friends into a peakbagging trip to Morris Peak near Walker Pass. The map shows a hike of about 3 miles each way with a 2,000 foot elevation gain to the peak. I've spent a lot of time in the area harrassing gamebirds, and have always wondered how hard it would be to climb some of the peaks.

I have no idea why at the age of 50 I am interested in climbing mountains, but there it is. Bob Burd's website, which I linked to above, has lots of great write ups on peaks throughout the Sierras with great photos and usable high resolution maps. Not too far from Walker Pass is the Indian Wells Brewing Company, which I hope to visit after the climb. They have a pleasant tasting room, and sell beer in half gallon growlers. Anybody know where that term originated?

Trader Joe's Beer Update

I finally tried TJ's Vienna Lager, which turns out to be very good. My favorite, however, remains the Hofbrau Bock. Both are very good, though.

It seems that Onepic, where images in my archives were stored, is no longer around. So the images are gone, alas. I'm going to try Myimagestore for future picture posts; its free.