• Trout Sunday

    Alright, I have so much to say about Trout, about fishing, about our water sources in this county (America). But, really – for now – Let’s talk Sunday.

    On Sunday, I didn’t wake up early. I headed out around 10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m., I had some new fishing items to try out. I leave this week to go backpacking up in the San Juan Mountains. For that trip, I purchased a new travel rod. I do not have a fly-fishing rod.

    In my family, the must have rod is a light weight St. Croix Rod. On previous backpacking trips, I have used an older version of this travel rod. My first purchase, I went for the ultra light weight, 5’6.

    To be honest, it only took a few trips for me to realize that it’s worth going for a longer rod. So this time, I purchased the medium weight 6’6: https://stcroixrods.com/products/triumph%C2%AE-travel-spinning-rods-2020.

    In my father’s early years, he learned a technique from a co-worker which involves a worm weight above a swivel, line and then a dry fly at the end. My family ties their own flies.

    Recently, my father has been taking some trips up to Mammoth with that same former co-worker. After a few trips, he sent me two new fishing items to try. One being these weights below:

    These weights combine the worm weight to the swivel. Benefits include a time saver, and I like the consistency of the how heavy the weight is. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the combined feature.

    The second item my father sent me are some trouble-hooks, I have not used these yet. In part because I was with my dog, Shasta. I was worried she might get hooked behind me. In other part because I only use flies in the back-country, which I think is actually required by regulation.

    On Sunday, I drove up to Vallecito Lake (not back-country), it’s roughly 30 minute drive from my house. There are various lakes around my home to choose from. I like Vallecito because it’s big, has a variety of fish, has some nice views, and you can always find a spot to fish with no one around. It costs 5.00 dollars to park, or 50.00 annual. However, to purchase the annual, you have to be there on a weekday before 5 p.m. There is a sweet lady that will stay after hours if you call ahead.

    The rod was very easy to set up, exactly the same to the last version that I purchased. There are four pieces that you just fit together. I fished for about an hour or so, and caught a fairly large size rainbow trout. My personal ethic is not to catch more than what I think my partner and I will eat.

    Despite not being one solid rod, the rod held up perfectly with this large trout, no complaints. This is exactly the rod, I was hoping for, and it takes up the same amount of space as the last rod.

    When I have company over, my go to recipe is from Edward Lee’s cookbook – Smoke and Pickles: Banh Mi Trout. However, this Sunday, despite having my partners parents over for a birthday celebration, my plans did not include fishing into the afternoon. I needed to get some chores done, and wanted to get some surfing in my Kayak, and we had left over carnitas – you get the picture. I called it a day after the one trout.

    A few weeks ago, a good girlfriend of mine sent me a handwritten recipe for Smoked Trout Dip. I had it at her house with store bought trout and it was delightful. I decided to try it out with local trout.

    After cleaning the trout and filleting the trout with the skin still on, I marinated the trout for three hours in black tea, orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, salt, star anise, peppercorn and coriander. During this time, I soaked two cedar planks in the sink.

    After the three hours, I smoked the trout on the cedar on low on the BBQ (roughly 15 minutes). Once it starts to flake off with a fork is a good time to remove the fish, it is very important not to overcook trout.

    Once you have delicious smoked trout, you just dice up all the different herbs you have on hand. I used dill, parsley, cilantro and oregano from my garden. You then do one cup sour cream, and 4 oz of cream cheese. I didn’t have sour cream on hand, so I did Mexican Crema.

    This trout is earth shattering! And, it was entirely consumed in a day and a half. It is sure to convert any Salmon lover to a Trout lover, and maybe even prefer it!

    Father-In-Law approved.

  • Five Fun Things

    With everything going on around us, sometimes it is good to be reminded that people are not all bad. There is light out there. Here are Five Fun Things to put a smile on your face:

    • Earlier this week I stumbled upon this review regarding Sardine Toast
    • Kavu’s Hibernator, this link takes you to this fun poncho made by Kavu for sitting by the fire. Sadly, it looks like it’s a bit short to wear to change out of your wetsuit. That’s not why it’s on the list – move through the images until you reach the short video – and watch that to the end. There is no way it doesn’t bring a smile to your face.
    • Maui Film Festival is this month. The virtual film festival allows you to watch movies from your couch. Films are available until July 30, 2022. My personal favorite: Keep It a Secret:
    • Our Community Library is FULL. We built this library with an old TV stand we found in an alley way. I put a row of books. Within a few days, it was empty. To be honest, I was like maybe this won’t work, we don’t have any more books. But, here it is full and so far every day when I come home there are few books taken and additions. Some of the hidden gems have included a 1980s Hobbit and Around he World in 80 days by Jules Verne. One day someone put in a bunch of book marks, and people have been taking those too!
  • Babcock Traverse

    In this day and age with lines of people trying to summit mountains, the La Plata Mountain range has for the most part kept people away. With steep vertical approaches and no cairns, it can be challenging.

    Speaking of the lack of cairns, my partner and I had attempted this Traverse previously. We ended up in the middle of Babcock West and Middle Babcock. The ridge became impassable without more technical gear. So, we did a loop heading down a coulouir instead. Still, a good day, but the Traverse is where you want to be.

    Flash forward to this past weekend we were successful in the Traverse. In full disclosure, my partner and I are comfortable climbing 5.6ish vertical without ropes. We always wear helmets. And, I can confidently say that I would not attempt a summit with someone not wearing a helmet. This area is notorious for “San Juan Choss.”

    Last weekend, we headed up a vertical climb up Babcock East, maybe 5.3-5.4. There is a coulouir to the right that is a lot of scree that would be an easier approach. I, personally, would rather climb verticle than deal with loose scree.

    As aforementioned, the rocks are loose. But, there are different rocks that lead the way. And, there are enough stable rocks to not feel uncomfortable.

    There were also an abundance of wildflowers that day thanks to some recent rain. The most notable were the skypilots. A true high altitude flower that grows vertical and horizontal along the cracks.

    Even in July, there is still snow up in the La Platas. However, it is easy to navigate.

    The ridge is exhilarating. It is narrow and firm. It is exactly what I hope to find in a Traverse.

    After the ridge, we felt the front of the next Summit a tad steep. We headed down a couloir on the west back side and it was easy scrambling to the summit. You can spot the route in the photo below to the left where you can see grass.

    Once on the summit, there is a clear 360 view of this area.

    The next part of the Traverse is steep decline towards a smaller summit with a bridge. The bridge is narrow, but secure. The transition to the summit is very loose and should be treated with caution since there is a cliff.

    Overall, a great trail run/scramble, I would highly recommend this route. It leaves you feeling accomplished, it’s challenging and no crowds! 7.5 mile lollipop run with an elevation gain of 5,146 feet.