An accounting of some ventures in the life of grandma and grandpa for the kids, grandkids, friends and those who drop by for a visit.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

From the Flathead Reservation, Montana

To start us off.

What a cutie!

A handsome young man with his loving mother.

The pictures above are some more of J' ideas for a fabric print.

We saw several sculptures on our trip. This is in front of a cafe along highway U.S. 93 in St. Ignatius. We stopped at the General Store next door owned by the same man who died a month ago. The General Store is really cool. It had every type of bead one could possibly imagine in every size imaginable. They stocked about every thing an Indian would need to make the regalia and dresses needed for Pow Wows. J and I both bought some beads. I will use some for tying a certain type of fly. I also bought some sinew. Often J and I will meet people who will tell us their life story out of the nowhere. I don't know why we attract that type of behavior. The woman clerking the General Store is French, born in France, of a Mescalaro Apache father who died when she was young. She was raised in France always curious about her Indian ancestory. Then as a young woman she met a Blackfeet Indian in France whom she married and came to live on the reservation in Browning. Her husband drank way too much, his family of 18 brothers and sisters were constantly at her house drunk and bleeding from a multitude of fights. Her husband was in a serious auto accident and was in a coma for five months. He was paralyzed by the accident. She tried for several years to stay with him and take care of him, but the drunkenness and violence of her in-laws and Browning drove her out. She was concerned for the safety of her daughter. She has since re-married to a non-drinking Flathead Indian and she now lives in St. Ignatius. I thought she had a pretty interesting story so I am sharing it with you.

This the first building built on the mission grounds. The sign on the building said it was constructed in 1854. It is where the first fathers lived. I didn't take pictures inside the church (it was allowed) and probably should have. The art work was done by one of the fathers assigned to the mission. He was an incredible artist. This URL address will lead to a good article about the history of the mission and some good pictures.

This is the Catholic Church built with the help of Indians on the Flathead Reservation. The location is St. Ignatius, MT.


I like the informative signs on the Flathead Reservation because the info is written in the Salish language then translated into English. You might remember an earlier picture I posted here taken on the Couer d' Alene Reservation with both languages used.

Later Gator,
Papa Coyote

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Glacier, West Entrance

It was a dark and dreary day. Well, ok, the sun was shrouded in heavy clouds all day, but it was not all that dreary. Edgar Allan must have had a different mind set. We drove to the West Entrance. The Going to the Sun highway was closed about half way to the summit, so we did not get the spectacular views the park is known for. We drove alongside McDonald Lake and walked the Cedar Trail alongside Avalanche Creek. The pictures are of Avalanche Creek. J is intending to experiment with creating some fabric patterns based on nature. There are a few pictures of bark and rocks that she will work with.

Visiting Glacier in late October probably is not the best choice. No crowds though. I was told that the best time to visit is the week after Labor Day. I think any time in September would probably be good. I will post more pictures in the next post that I took at Marias Pass and at East Glacier.

Papa Coyote

Monday, October 26, 2009

Trip to the National Bison Range

There is a cool story about how a Flathead Indian went on a buffalo hunt on the Plains just as the buffalo were disappearing. He captured six calves and brought them over the mountains to Pablo, Mt. Four of the calves survived. He babied those calves until he had a herd of 700. They were essentially the only buffalo left. Sad that we could go from some 30-60 million buffalo in 1800 to only fifty or so wild buffalo by 1890. Anyway, this Indian offered to sell his herd to the U.S. Gov't but the government refused. A local rancher by the name of Conrad bought some and the rest were shipped to Canada because the Canadian government bought them. Conrad's herd was used to stock the National Bison Range. They keep from 350-500 buffalo on the range. There is a sale every year. Do you need a buffalo?


I have this book in my library and highly recommend it for information about how the buffalo were saved by this one visionary Indian.

This sculpture is located at the parking lot of the hospital in Browning, Montana on the Blackfeet Reservation. I would have liked to have taken many pictures in Browning, but the town has an appearance that us white people would say is trashy and it reflects badly on the people who live there. The Blackfeet deal with huge unemployment rates and they are poor materialistically, but not so poor in ways that white people don't understand. So, when a white takes pictures, it seems as though we are making judgement on these people and I really am not. So I don't want to look as though I am judging. Does this make any sense to you? The really interesting observation is that there is no leash law. Really. Know of any town in the U.S. that does not have a leash law? Dogs run free and there are a lot of dogs. This would be just like a Blackfeet village 150 years ago. I think, possibly, that allowing the dogs to run free is a statement about freedom in general. Indians believe in freedom and practiced such prior to the white's arrival. Real personal freedom that white people are uncomfortable around. We like to have a more orderly society. That need for orderliness is reflected in our yards. Indian yards are not so tidy. They let the grass and weeds grow naturally. Something to be said for such a belief. While I am mowing the yard and raking the leaves, my Indian counterpart is hunting and fishing. Now, I ask, who is the smart one? Hmmm.

Photographing every detail

And finally the buffalo on the range.

A herd of antelope were sighted in my favorite elk hunting spot. Now that is wierd.

There is more than bison on the range.

There are also elk, but we never had the fortune to see them. Might have to walk into the hills nearby for that.

What you see in the lobby of the National Bison Range at Moise, Montana.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fly Fishing the Bow River below Calgary

Click on pictures for a better, more detailed view.
John Wolter pictured above owns the Angler in Boise.

The fly above I learned to tie from John Wolter who owns the Orvis Shop in Boise. The fly is a modifed version of a Zonker.
The fly below is one that was given to me by Curtis Lawrence. I traded the Wolter's Zonker for the Curtis' fly.

Guide Curtis Lawrence prepares to net a fish.

One of the six rainbows that I caught on the 28th of Sept.

Looking down the Bow on a blustery, but pretty day.

This is probably one of those trips that can be described as a trip of a lifetime. I certainly had a good time and learned from a very good, friendly guide, but I have had better days catching fish at a mountain lake. One of those no name lakes. Really. The lake does not have a name.

I contacted to set up a trip. The cost was $495 (Canadian) for a full day guided trip. With transportation and license the trip cost $590 U.S. Probably not worth the cost, but I can't complain about the excellent guide and his professionalism. He put me on the fish in terrible conditions.

When J and I arrived at Canmore I called to tell Doug Massig I was ready to go on the scheduled day of Wednesday and gave them my local phone number. Doug, owner of the guiding company, returned my call Sunday night and told me that cold weather was coming in. I knew that from watching the televised weather reports. Wouldn't you know it, they were having unseasonably warm weather in the mid-80's the week before and catching lots big fish. How many times have we fished the lake or river with little luck and meet a guy who tells us, "Man, you should have been here yesterday!"? I can't count the times. I agreed to go the next day because the guide was available and we might beat some really bad weather later in the week. Hah!!!

As it happened the guide lived within one block of the condo we were staying for the week. He picked me up at 8 and we had an hour plus drive to Calgary where I bought a fishing license and some fly tying materials that are not available in the U.S. 'Nough said on that matter. The guide and I saw eye to eye on any matter of political and social issues so we had a very pleasant conversation through out our 14 one half hours together.

We put into the river just downriver from Calgary and all seemed well. We dressed for the cold, but it never got unbearably cold. A minute later the winds came up. He was told by the lady who runs the shuttle service that the winds were from the SE. I said that where I lived that was not good news. How about here in Alberta? He said, "Not good news." We had not gone but a few hundred feet when the winds became fierce and it was all but impossible to cast a fly let alone the three flies and a bobber (ooops, dang, I keep forgetting---a strike indicator). with all my upper body and arms I could get the flies out about fifteen feet. Forget about form and technique and looking cool while letting the rod do the work. The next morning I was stiff, sore, and tired from the effort.
Curtis, who has guided for 13 years on the Bow, asked me to sit down after a mile on the river. (We would cover 25 miles by the end of the day.) The wind was so strong that he could not control the boat or even make headway with me standing up like a big sail. That was alright with me because standing more than an hour is hard on my back. There are leg braces at the bow and stern of the drift boats and the fisherman is expected to stand while fishing. But not today.

The wind was so strong that if Curtis was not rowing, we were blown up stream and this is not a gentle, lazy river of the type one might find in Georgia. On one wide spot the wind kicked up two foot high waves. There were white caps on the river throughout the day. Curtis said that it was the worst he had ever seen and he even developed a blister and this after rowing 80 trips that year. I really appreciated the guide's expertise because he constantly had me on fish, seven of which I managed to hook and lose because I did not play them well, but I did land six rainbows and one brown trout. They ranged between 19'' to 13". I probably missed several because I just did not get the hook set quick enough. Curtis would yell, "Set the hook." I would, but too late, or I hooked weeds. The wind was churning the water so much that weeds were torn loose from the bottom and were churning through the current. About every third cast (if you can call my efforts such), Curtis would call for a weed check and there almost always were weeds that had to be cleaned off at least one of the hooks. One funny part about the trip was trying to keep "river left" and "river right" straight. Curtis explained to me what I already know from river rafting that when he says cast left he is meaning on the left side of the boat as we face downstream while moving downstream with the current. Simple enough. But, because the wind was so terribley strong, Curtis had to row with the bow upstream so that he could get his back into the oars. So now I am facing up stream (sometimes we were even moving up stream when Curtis took a break from rowing). So he would say cast left and I would. We were moving upstream and I was facing that direction, but, of course, he meant to have me cast to the other side. Finally, we used a lot of pointing.

Curtis thought the wind might be blowing 70 to even up to 90 km/hr. We had no way of knowing for sure, but I don't think this is an exaggeration. The wind was just unbelievable.

I had a very difficult time holding onto the pole (ooops, there I go again, "rod" is the proper term while fly fishing) because the wind was so strong. At one time while I had lost my grip because of the wind, a fish (a big fish, of course) struck hard and completed the wind's efforts of knocking the rod out of my hand. I reached quickly with my left hand and was able to save the rod from going into the river, but not before the fish had made his escape.

Much later in the day we took a bladder draining break. I was just doing up my waders and reaching for my raincoat which I had stuffed into a hollow log when I see Curtis bounding over the small boulders in a dash toward the boat. I started to run also thinking the boat was being blown from the shore. Curtis had a heavy anchor and had set it so the boat was safe, but the wind had lifted the fly rot out of the boat and deposited it into the river. Curtis saved the rod, but in the excitement I forgot the raincoat. It never did rain that day, but the coat was a nice windbreaker. Anyway, Curtis had a client for the next day so he found the raincoat which had been blown out of the hollow log and returned it to me the next evening. I was lucky that he only lived a block away. What were the chances of that?

Curtis and I exchanged a favorite fly that we each. Here is the website of the guide company that I hired and a website of the Canadian Geographic magazine featuring Curtis guiding an author and photographer on a trip on the Bow through the city of Calgary.

Six of the seven fish I caught were caught on a small, brown San Juan River worm. The other was caught on a Bow River Bugger.

Want to tie the Bow River Bugger?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, Drumheller, AB

These are some of the pictures I took while we spent the day in the museum. Double click on a picture to get more detail. They had a very well done special exhibit about Charles Darwin and the importance of his interpretations of his observations. Evolution is very important to paleotolongists. This is the head of a bison that roamed North America over 7,500 years ago. The ancestors of the First Nation (Native Americans) used to hunt these animals that were much bigger than the bisons hunted in the past several thousand years. Using a four foot spear thrown with the aid of an atlatl was quite a challenge. Hunting in well organized groups was the key.
The mammoth stood ten feet tall at the shoulder and some stood as high as thirteen feet. Anthropologist now suggest that First Nation people of the Paleo Era probably rarely hunted these animals, but used the meat of those animals who recently died by accident or old age. Obviously, there was massive risk in hunting these animals and since these people traveled in small bands, the whole group would be endangered by the loss of an important hunter.

These salamanders are survivors from some 165 million years ago. They now live in Mexico. Well, these, of course, live in Alberta, Canada.

If you will click on the picture of the prehistoric turtle, you can see him about to make lunch of a fingerling trout. Fellow fisherman. Haha.
This is a diorama that greets the visitors inside the museum.. The albertosauras is depicted in all its real life glory. The museum is located in the Canadian Badlands where coal has been mined and fantastic fossils are now found, collected, studied and presented to the public.
Calgary, AB sits on the Plains of North America. To get to Drumheller one must cross the Plains. That is pretty flat terrain. It has been several years since J and I have traveled the Plains. Pretty flat. As I once read some plain dweller commenting about the forests and mountains, "There are too many things getting in the way of the view. I feel all hemmed in."

We came home to find that the garden had been well killed by a frost while we were gone. I have harvested the squash and melons. Not a lot, but enough squash for the winter and a few to give away to the kids. We have had rainy and cold weather the past two days.
J has spent the day puttering with sales tax preparation for the State of ID and fighting a cold. I have been working on Indianhead Fly Fisher agendas for the upcoming meetings. We have the Grand Opening of the Weiser Community Pond this month so there is a lot to do concerning the pond which is continuing to fill. Fish and Game will plant 1000 catchable rainbows in the pond this week sometime. Now the wonder is how high will the water rise. We hope that we don't have an oooops in the making. Haha
Papa Coyote loves you all,

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Our Adventure in Canada

You see some of the condos in the village in which we stayed. We had a very nice two bedroom unit with full kitchen on the ground floor. We loved it.

You might recognize Lake Louise.

Here is a view of Canmore, AB where we stayed for six days. It is just to the east of Banff and about 100 km from Calgary.

We entered Canada at Eastport on Highway #95. We had two cars in front of us and took about ten minutes total to enter Canada. Sure different crossing the border north of Seattle in June two years ago. What a mess. Took almost two hours.

What I love about the city center sign at Plummer, ID, located in the Coeur d' Alene Tribe Reservation, is the translation. Personally, I think the Couer d' Alene wording should have come first, but, I suppose, there would have been some violation of the wording of the grant. This is located at the Southeast terminus of the Hiawatha Trail. The trail follows the old Milwaukee Trail, thus the Hiawatha name. I was wondering if the Coeur d' Alenes would recognize the Hiawatha name on their reservation. No, they don't. The trail is referred to as the Trail of the Couer d' Alenes as well as it should. The railroad was laid out on the ancient route established by the Coeur d' Alenes when they crossed the mountains to hunt for one, sometimes two years on the Plains. You know what they were hunting?

It took us fourteen hours of driving to get to Canmore. Same to get from Canmore home. The distance is 688 miles, forty miles more than the drive to San Francisco. Canmore has grown a lot since we visited in 2000. They have been affected by the recession. Many of the condos near us were three-fourths finished, but have been left in the unfinished state. Hopefully, funding can be found before the elements ruin what has been accomplished so far. We had good weather, but, the fishing trip, oh well, that is a whole nother blog. On our way home we hit snow on the Pacific side of the Continental Divide and had rain all the way to New Meadows. We got out just in time.