July 17, 2017
I’ve been to Yellowstone six times. All in the last five years. When I think about what it is that attracts us, it’s obvious. When Leslie and I talk about going out West, Yellowstone is just assumed part of the trip. But Yellowstone is bigger than the National Park. It always includes everything around it, Jackson Hole, The Tetons, The Rivers, Bridger/Teton And Targhee National Forests, etc. Luckily, there is already a term for what I am trying to say: The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
So technically we were in Yellowstone NP only four days, we’ve been in the Ecosystem for three weeks. This last week, we have been on the backside of the Tetons, in Idaho.
If you are interested here is a good NPS link. Read it quick, while it still mentions things like Climate Change, Air and Water Quality and Protecting Wildlife.
2017 Ecosystem Photos
June 27, 2017
This is the third year in a row we have been to the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. If anyone were to ask why, I would probably say “well it’s between Colorado and Wyoming”. Truth is, it’s a beautiful area and surprisingly quiet for camping. Flaming Gorge Reservoir Is formed by the impoundment of the Green River by its dam in northern Utah. It forms the largest reservoir in Wyoming, over 90 miles in length. We did drive all the way around it a few years ago (http://wp.me/p3ZAp1-bQ).
And then there is the Green River that comes shooting out of the Dam. This stretch of the Green, coming from the reservoir, happens to have a gazillion trout.
Everywhere we have been so far has been unfishable due to large winter snowpack and extended Spring runoff. This Green is running full bore at 9,000 CFS. No wading in this water. Yet it is crystal clear. The only way to fish is with an experienced guide who can handle the pushy water and knows the river. This section of the Green River is arguably the most prolific trout stream in the United States. Utah Dept. of Natural Resources estimates put the number of fish as high as 20,000 per mile for the first several miles below the dam. The water is so clear the fish seem to be everywhere.
I am glad to report, the Green lived up to its reputation. With my experienced guide, Spencer, I had my best day fishing (measured by fish) ever.
June 16, 2017
Colorado is beautiful. Snow capped mountains, etc. I am personally obsessed with rivers. This has nothing to do with fishing. Due to the peak snowfalls, all of the West is having major runoff. This means very high water levels and no fly fishing.
In Colorado and Wyoming you are at the source of most of the water in the lower 48. I get fascinated by how just traveling a few miles, we are at a different river, flowing in different direction. It’s that Continental Divide thing.
Today we are camping in one of our best Boondocking (free) spots, overlooking Twin Lakes. This is near the headwaters of the Arkansas River. The Arkansas flows about 1500 miles before becoming part of the Missouri, then the Mississippi, and eventually flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.
A few days ago we drove near the source of the Gunnison. The Gunnison is a tributary of the Colorado which almost flows to the Pacific via the Gulf of California. It should be noted that it “almost” gets there after being Sucked Dry by Lake Powell and Lake Mead for hydroelectric power and the agriculture needs of California.
Four days ago we camped on the bank of the Rio Grande near its headwaters. The Rio Grande flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, it forms part of the Mexico–United States border. You know, where that big wall is gonna go.😳
Enough education for today. If I remember, class will continue with Wyoming in a few weeks.
June 1, 2017
After 3 hard days of driving from Nashville we needed to stay put. We are in Taos, NM. I don’t think we can call this camping. We are staying for 10 nights at an RV Park in town. This stay is a repeat from last year. But I really like this area and am forcing Leslie and Rex to like it also.
This is different for us. We are used to moving every 3 or 4 days and being in the thick of nature. Now it is road trips to the surrounding sights and easy food foraging.
Yesterday, we visited Ted Turner on his Vemejo Park Ranch (well maybe we only drove across a small part of the over 500,000 acres and never saw Ted or another vehicle). I only hope he can protect it from the fate I fear for our beautiful Federal lands out West. We saw elk, pronghorn, dear, bison and a large black bear.
May 17, 2017
We spent 3 very pleasant days at Cade’s Cove in Smokey Mountain National Park. It was perfect timing before summer families and flying insects invade. We drove up to Gatlinburg to peek at the fudge shops and see how the town was coming back from the devastating fire last November. It appears from the casual observer that Gatlinburg is doing well and is ready for the crowds to return.
We moved down to Tellico Plains and camped at Indian Boundary off the Cherohala Parkway. This served two goals: revisit the Tellico River from paddling days and attempt to Fly Fish in Eastern Rivers. The Tellico was running well and we watched some good paddlers on Baby Falls.
I got to fly fish on both the Tellico River and Citico Creek. Each with no success. This was disappointing as both are heavily stocked with Rainbow Trout and fished very successfully by many locals. On my debriefings it was explained to me that flies and things were much harder and that most fish were caught with corn.
We are currently staying at our friend Sue’s cabin home near Murphy, NC.
May 5, 2017
Excited to be back in the Airstream. During our first three weeks we have decided to stay East. We will be poking around in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina.
Our first stop is the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (BSF). This is exciting for me. This is the beautiful area I used to come with my friends from TSRA, white water paddling. Fond memories of swimming and being rescued in many a rapid here on the Cumberland Plateau (pronounced plataw if you are from around here). Unfortunately we are off to a very rainy start with more on the way. When I was paddling we loved the weekday rains that created the weekend high water. Not so much now. But what better way to get acclimated to our 100 SF home.
I know, you are saying this is his first post in 6 months, and already he is talking about the weather. Yep. It is our guiding force out here on the road.
Probably right before a swim and rescue.😊