May Long

I tried to think of something crazy to title this. After thinking about it for awhile I realized that if I put any other title on it, it would undermine the importance of this weekend. 

I’m not a seasoned veteran of May Long like some of the folks I camp, fish and hang out with are. They always spoke of it as a mythical beast of a weekend, spent in the woods or on the mountains. Doing things you can only do in the wilderness like camp, fish, burn wood, raise hell and generally step outside the general confines of everyday life.

 

This year was my second May Long and I had Dave Waddell as Co-Pilot. We worked out a shorter route to the campsite and left at reasonable hour. There was a head wind, which cut into fuel economy a bit, but we still managed to make good time.

 

The thing I was most excited to do was go fishing. Last year I was the only one to catch a fish and made sure everyone knew about it. The rest of the crew was convinced there are no fish actually living in the river.

 

Location wise we were smack dab in the middle of Hinton and Robb. A great little camp ground called the McLeod River provincial recreation area. Now I’ve been telling everyone, and anyone, who will listen and even the ones who don’t my opinion on provincial rec areas. This is how it goes. The campsites are well kept. It is cheap to camp. There are not the crowds you see at National or Provincial parks. There is no ban on liquor. Lastly since they are usually operated by logging companies there is wood provided for free.

 

Fishing wise the McLeod River reads like all the tributaries in the region. Main species Include: Rainbow Trout, Bull Trout, Brook Trout, Arctic Grayling, and Mountain Whitefish. Lower reaches of the river also have Pike and Walleye. There is also a Bait ban.

 

 We set out to the spot we fished last year and since they are making another camp ground near that area, there was a locked gate. We decide to drive the Jeep across the bridge and see if there was a way to drive down to Gregg Creek which meets the McLeod River a short walk upstream. I was riding shotgun and looking out at the river, I also managed to spot a sizeable Black Bear down in the ditch. We decided to head back and Bear proof the camp a bit more just incase.

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When we resumed fishing Mike and I put on our waders. Chris and Logan decided to fish from shore because it was a bit cool. This was my first forte wading into a stream so I was a bit cautious. Mike jumped in feet first and waded just across from where the Gregg creek enters. I moved a small ways down and after no success I decided to head up stream.  

 

I didn’t see it happen. I didn’t hear it happen. I took a chance look over my shoulder and Mike was on the other side. I headed back and Mike had started taking off his waders and pants. I asked Logan what happened and he told me that Mike had lost his footing and been taken by the current. Luckily for Mike he kept calm and made it out alive. Things could have gotten really bad, really fast. I walked upstream, on the opposite shore from Mike to where it was a bit flatter; I met him halfway and walked back with him. I’m glad we’ll be able to fish another day. Discouraged by a fishless day we headed back to camp. We are now all fully convinced there in no fish in the McLeod River.

 

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In a later conversation, someone asked us what we caught. Dave replied that the only thing worth pulling out of the river was Mike.

Wild Edmonton!

When people talk about wildlife in parks its usually somewhere in the mountains like, Jasper or Banff.
 
But Edmonton is pretty wild too, in addition to the drivers and the nightlife on Whyte Ave of course.
 
Today at work was our annual sponsorship of a luncheon, and on the way down Connors Road, just a few cars in front of me, a Whitetail Deer pranced across the road and up into the bushes near the Mill Creek Ravine Park.
 
I thought that was pretty cool and Julie, who I work with, had never seen a deer in the city before. The real inspiration for this article came when I was listening to the CBC this afternoon. The host were reading a traffic report and mentioned that someone was helping a Duck and her ducklings cross the Groat Road Bridge and it was tying up traffic.
 
Simply hilarious,
 
Enjoy your day
 
-Tom

The paddle is really coming along

So the other night a spoke shave magically appeared in my back porch so I went to work at shaping the handle.

For those who are wondering what a spoke shave is it’s a scaled down version of a drawknife but the same basic idea. It also worked like a charm. I got a lot done on the shaft as well as shaped the handle. After this I’m going to move onto the blade of the paddle. Not to sure what I’m going to use for that so if you have any recommendations they would be very much appreciated. My dad did bring a plane in from the garage for me to look at, so I might try that. However, I think I may run into the same problem I did with the belt sander – not moving enough material.

Time will tell I suppose, in the mean time check out some of the pictures I had taken of the whole process. Note the amount of shavings below me!

Cheers

-Tom

PS – A special thanks goes out to John Born for the lending me his spoke shave.

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Another Ride, Another Crash

So thanks to Victor I seem to be cursed.

Headed out for another ride on Sunday at about 2:30 in the afternoon. Talk about a great day the sun was shining and the sky was blue. Braden and victor picked me out and we set out. We decided to hit a trail Braden had found the other day right off 110 street and Saskatchewan drive. It was downhill towards the river and close to the last place I fell off. Once we got there we dropped into the first section and I really liked how it started, good amount of roots, not to steep and open enough that if you crashed you’d probably be ok.

We came to a paved section, turned right and then went back into the bush and after a short downhill there was a remarkable fun looking downhill. Braden was in the lead and was really cooking it so I put the hammer down to keep up with him. The trail dropped off a bit and reminded me of very long but shallow steps formed by roots. On the second little section my foot briefly came off the left peddle and I thought I was in trouble. Things got progressively worse from there. The trailed was separated with from the down slope on the right with some logs and not to far from where my foot came off there were 2 logs side by side, narrowing the trail a bit.

I don’t really remember how I fell off. Did I hit the log or misjudged a root? Either way I flew off, did a half twist, and watched my bike come back and hit me. Super fun right? It gets better. So now I’m lying across the trail like road kill both Braden and victor were there, I can barley breathe and the glorious day has disappeared. The sky was grey now and it started to rain and then that turned in to sleet. Moments later a Clap of thunder was heard accompanied by a lighting strike. I picked myself up and we headed for the cover of a foot bridge. After a short conversation we picked our route and went home.

The Aftermath.

I felt like crap when I fell. On the way home I realized I was more injured than I first thought. I was sure that my ribs were either bruised or cracked. Before bed I decided I better go to the doctor the next morning. When I finally got into the exam room the next day I was already sick of this new hurt. After a quick examination and being asked countless times if I was wearing a helmet the doc figured I had bruised ribs that may be cracked. He said I could go for an x-ray if I wanted but he recommended that I wait to see if my condition improved or diminished and then make that call…

So here I am, 4 days later and still hurting, I’ve been having people tell me I’m going to be hurting for awhile but ill get used to the pain.

Until then, no heavy lifting, no athletic activities, pretty much just got to take it easy.

Oh

And putting on socks is super fun.

 

My maiden voyage in the float tube

Logan and I headed out to Muir Lake yesterday morning for a spot of fly fishing. It was awesome!

I woke with the sun and went over to Logan’s where we proceeded to hit the road. The lake we were going to is not to far from Edmonton, only about 30-40 minutes and is a trophy lake. Logan had mentioned to me earlier in the week that he heard about a guy who pulled out a 19 inch and a 21 inch Rainbow trout earlier this week, so I was excited to say the least.

The rest of my excitement came from the fact that I had a brand new batch of equipment to try out. This was the first trip where I got to use my new fly rod and reel, the waders I picked up a few weeks back and my float tube as well. It was a bit chilly but we bundled up and it was all good. The lake is aerated so the trout don’t taste muddy which is a plus if you manage to reel one in that meets the minimum length required. That happens to be 20 inches. The Lake is also under a bait ban so if you go make sure you have a good variety on flies in your box.

Once we navigated the very muddy bottom we got out to a good distance and started casting. I can’t tell you how good it felt to wet a line again. It was also very cool because I was on my own little island of float tube which after awhile felt pretty natural. We both started with Woolly Buggers, mine was a purple and black one I tied the night before, Logan was rocking a Green Olive Woolly with a Chronomid trailer. I wasn’t having much luck but Logan managed to pull in a nice 16 inch rainbow on his green Woolly. After another half hour or so he switched patterns and I switched to a #10 Diawl Bach. First cast out I had a fish take something on the surface about seven feet beyond my fly and after a few unsuccessful attempts to catch it, I drifted over to a different location and kept at it. The frustrating part was that this happened again about 40 minutes after that, but in a different part of the lake.

We had been out for almost 3 hours and my ass was getting real cold. Logan had mentioned his feet were getting cold as well. A more immediate problem was I had to pee. Now the boys were telling me that it is somewhat of an art form to pee from your float tube. I was convinced of it was but knew I could not do it. My waders were right up to my armpits, and sitting in my tube I have water around my waist, so I kicked over to the shore. It was getting shallow and I was stirring up the silt from the bottom, took everything off and got stuck when I stood up. My stinking flippers had started sinking into the silt and then I went down. All this time Logan is killing himself laughing, I’m sitting in the lake my whole sleeve is wet and now my float tube is floating away from me. The worst part was I still had to piss like a racehorse and I was not going to do it in my new but now very muddy waders.

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After I got all sorted out and Logan fetched my float tube I got all organized and practiced some casting off shore. I decided that to get back in and then back out was not worth the effort since we were shooting to leave in about half hour.

All in all I’m pumped to go again, there’s a rumor of a Float tube trip for a weekend so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. The next big one is May Long Weekend, the season opener for many things outdoor, and we’re headed to fish the McLeod River!

Stay Tuned…