Port Alberni British Columbia Salmon Festival

Went again this year for the 43rd Annual Port Alberni Salmon Festival with friends in British Columbia.  This is my 3rd year fishing in this large Labor Day weekend fishing Derby.  I took Hunter on his first major fishing trip and we had a blast.  Our hosts put together an amazing trip and provided top notch service on their fishing boats!  This is a trip of a lifetime and we had a wonderful time, fished with some excellent fishermen, and made some new friends.  We stayed at an amazing resort in Bamfield called Mills Landing, which I highly recommend!  They had very nice fish processing facilities and super friendly and knowledgeable hosts!

Hunter and I caught our bag limit of fish and was able to bring a good amount home for the freezer.  We had salmon for dinner the first night home and it is amazing!  Love the pink/orange look whenever we open the deep freezer!

The weather was great overall; one day was partly sunny and the swells were overall small; some days non-existent.  I’m prone to motion sickness (I can’t read my phone in the car) and at one point I caught up with a bit of nausea; Hunter had sea legs all the way home; but overall we did well in that department too!

We fished mostly with anchovies hooked up to a plastic head which allowed us to position the bait such that it “rolled” in the water.  The roll is important and needs to be nice and sexy for the big fish to have interest.  Then up the line was a plastic flasher/dodger which rotated in the water flashing sunlight in about 4 foot (or larger) circles in the water.  The line was clipped to a 10 pound downrigger attached to the side of the boat; and we fished anywhere from 65 to 25 feet under the surface.

First, the fish.  We caught anywhere from 5 to 10.5 pound Coho salmon, and small to 20 lb Chinook this year.  We caught numerous black bass fish that we didn’t know were on the line for a while; and since those were DOA we fed them to the eagles which was a lot of fun to see.

Click image for larger size.

Hunter and his big fish of the trip; this took a while for him to land...but worth it!  20 lb Chinook (Spring).

Dave's first Coho of the trip

Hunter's first fish, a 10 lb Coho

Steve and one of his fish.  He organized one hell of a fun trip! Thanks!

 

John taking care of tackle on his fishing boat!

John taking care of tackle on his fishing boat!

Fisherman during the Port Alberni Salmon Festival

Fisherman during the Port Alberni Salmon Festival

tn_Bamfield2014-1664

Beach and cave on Fleming Island.

Beach and cave on Fleming Island.

Secret beach on Fleming Island.

Secret beach on Fleming Island.

Common view as we were fishing.

Common view as we were fishing.

Overcast day looking through a straight near Fleming Island.

Overcast day looking through a straight near Fleming Island.

You'd think they get a little bit of a breeze?

You’d think they get a little bit of a breeze?

Cool cottage!

Cool cottage!

Nice sunset from Red's Reef.

Nice sunset from Red’s Reef.

Another wonderful sunset in BC

Another wonderful sunset in BC

Great sunset over the Broken Islands.

Great sunset over the Broken Islands.

We had some sunny skies one afternoon, and some convection!

Over the Broken Islands

Over the Broken Islands

Eagles are part of the fun while the fishing is slow!

Eagles are part of the fun while the fishing is slow!

tn_Bamfield2014-1672 tn_Bamfield2014-1676

Zeroed in on the prize.

Zeroed in on the prize.

tn_Bamfield2014-1678-3 tn_Bamfield2014-1679 tn_Bamfield2014-1680 tn_Bamfield2014-1681 tn_Bamfield2014-1682 tn_Bamfield2014-1683 tn_Bamfield2014-1689 tn_Bamfield2014-1695

Eagles where everywhere, just look in the trees for a white dot.

Eagles where everywhere, just look in the trees for a white dot.

This eagle was perched above the main dock in Bamfield.

This eagle was perched above the main dock in Bamfield.

Landmark island from Kirby fishing area.

Landmark island from Kirby fishing area.

tn_Bamfield2014-1714 tn_Bamfield2014-1715

Interesting "rainbow" feature from the airplane over Washington state.

Interesting “rainbow” feature from the airplane over Washington state.

Heart lake?

Love Lake?

 

Trip to Fulford Cave, Eagle County Colorado

For the 4th of July weekend we ended with a trip to Colorado’s popular Fulford Cave, which would be Hunter’s first “wild” caving experience. He’s been to commercial caves such as Glenwood Caverns (formerly Fairy Cave) and also to Cave of the Winds and Carlsbad Caverns when he was younger.  I wanted to see if Hunter would be interested and/or ready for other caving trips and this is an awesome cave with no technical experience required.

Fulford Campground was $8 per site, first come first serve.

Fulford Campground was $8 per site, first come first serve.

Being it was 4th of July weekend, we set out on Sunday morning planning to find a spot to stay on Sunday night (Fulford Cave Campground was option #1 with the backup being a sweet spot we found near the ghost town of Fulford).  We got up there and the Fulford Cave Campground was nearly empty as we had hoped.  We picked the best camp site available which had been significantly upgraded since the last time we stayed in that site, probably over 20 years ago.  They added a fence which I’m sure has saved a life or two from someone backing up a little too far and falling down the near cliff…

Fulford Campground campsite #4, the best one in my opinion.

Fulford Campground campsite #4, one of the best in my opinion.

The sun was beating down on us but luckily the convective clouds were on their way, which the eventual shade was more than welcome!  We ate dinner and then started to pack up for our trip to the cave.  The trailhead is at the campground and the hike is a good uphill venture.  Along the way you go through an old aspen forest that is very lush full of flowers and plants (and of course mosquitos).  The trail (Forest Trail #1875) is about 3/4 mile and you rise 500 feet in elevation to the cave entrance.  Note that if you follow the trail past the entrance less than 5 minutes you will come upon the upper cave entrances, with no access into the cave, but a beautiful view and a grand cave entrance!

The higher you climbed on the trail the more columbines.

The higher you climbed on the trail the more columbines.

These are abundant throughout the aspen forest on the hike to the cave.

These are abundant throughout the aspen forest on the hike to the cave.

Dandelion reminded me of the pictures I took of the 4th of July fireworks earlier in the weekend.

Dandelion reminded me of the pictures I took of the 4th of July fireworks earlier in the weekend.

One thing I remembered about the trail to the cave is the lush forest.

One thing I remembered about the trail to the cave is the lush forest.

You enter the cave through a culvert with ladder affixed and that has seen many better days.  Many rungs were missing and many were broken with sharp metal edges so it was a bit dicey.  The culvert is uncomfortable to begin with so the broken parts make it a bit more adventuresome which is par for the course I guess!  Once you get into the cave there is a rope (and a broken rope, sure would have sucked being that person) which you will need to use to get to the bottom of the entrance area as it is VERY slick with icy mud.

Fulford Cave Entrance

Erin, Hunter and I made it up the steep hike and are ready for the coolness coming out of the cave entrance!

Hunter coming out of the culvert entrance.  The ladder in the culvert has many rungs missing and many  more broken.

Hunter coming out of the culvert entrance. The ladder in the culvert has many rungs missing and many more broken so be careful!

In the middle level of the cave there are some cool features–some huge ice stalagmites, flowstone and a bat guano room.  We decided to skip the bat guano room and was going to hit the higher flowstone areas on the way out if we still had enough energy.

Ice crystal Stalagmite

This is the big stalagmite ice crystal I remember from previous trips. The texture was beautiful!  I remember a couple of times when this wasn’t there, so it does melt!

Fulford Ice Crystal

Big ice crystal near the entrance, about 5-6 feet long and 1 foot in diameter

We ventured to the end of the middle level of the cave and found the 3-level pit where you can go up or down.  As you approach this pit you hear the reverb and echoes of a underground stream which is awesome!  Just because it sounded so cool, we chose to see the underground stream which we could hear echoes of it cascading in the depths of the cave.  The 3-level pit leaves you at the bottom of the stream passage.  The hike is pretty quick to the waterfall.  This trip was the lowest I’ve seen the stream; usually there is a lot more flow (perhaps that was just the time of the year I’ve been before?).  Given that we were just commencing our journey into the cave, we didn’t climb the waterfall as we would have gotten too wet for the remainder of our trek in the very cold cave!  I have climbed the waterfall several times before and you end up in a small passable tunnel where eventually the water comes out of the wall.

End of the stream

In the lower level, the underground stream comes out of a wall, down a cascading waterfall, and then disappears into another wall. From what I’ve heard/read, using dye, no one has ever found where this exits the mountain!

Leaving the stream passage behind, we climbed to the top of the 3-level pit into the upper level’s Breakdown room.  This is a larger section of the cave where the ceiling has collapsed in large chunks making an underground skree area covered in mud.  It isn’t overly difficult but the rocks are pretty slick and the ceiling was tight so I had to take the backpack off several times to avoid scraping the ceiling.  We walked through the Breakdown room until near the Moonmilk corridor to my favorite part of the cave!

This isn’t named on the map, but there is a *very* tight and small loop that you can do to test your claustrophobia.  This was my goal of the day and we all took turns with the super small and tight tunnel.  At the midpoint of the tunnel there is a small pool that seems much larger than life due to the fact of you being in such a small/tight tunnel.  A great illusion!

Getting ready to enter my favorite tight spot in the Breakdown Room.  This was my goal to reach today.

Getting ready to enter my favorite tight spot in the Breakdown Room.

Coming out of the "tight spot"...even though I've done this many times before, right at this spot I always get a spark of panic...I think that must be an involuntary reaction of the body!

Coming out of the “tight spot”…even though I’ve done this many times before, right at this spot I always get a spark of panic…I think that must be an involuntary reaction of the body! You simply mentally extinguish the fear and continue on…Yoda would be proud!

The Breakdown room turns into the Moonmilk corridor and that is as far as we ventured on this trip.  I’d say we saw about 2/3 of the cave; but hands were getting cold and its no fun caving while freezing; so we decided to head out.

Moonmilk at Fulford

Moonmilk speleothem near the end of the Breakdown Room.

Hunter and Erin in the Breakdown room.  Note the "fog" probably from our breath.

Hunter and Erin in the Breakdown room. Note the “fog” probably from our breath.

Fulford entrance

Hunter exiting the culvert entrance to the cave!

Upon exiting the cave we were treated with a gorgeous sunset for the downhill hike!

Sunset through the aspen

Sunset through the aspen, the picture doesn’t do it justice the way the pink light was hitting the trees!

Some of these trees are of significant age!

Some of these trees are of significant age!

Sunset at Fulford Campground.

Sunset at Fulford Cave Campground.

Drying out the clothes.  Everything went home in a trash bag and was washed down good with bleach as per protocol because of the white nose fungus.

Drying out the clothes. Everything went home in a trash bag and was washed down good with bleach as per protocol because of the white nose fungus.

Caves in Colorado have been closed for several years because of the White Nose Fungus epidemic and have just opened up this year with restrictions/precautions.  The first important change is you must register with the Forest Service to get permission to enter Colorado Caves.  One person “the trip leader” must register and then everyone on the trip must have a signed form on them.  Basically they want to know who is going in/out of the caves (and that everyone understand the rules for decontamination) for protection of our bats…up to 90-100% of bats in some caves have been killed throughout Eastern and Central United States which is devastating (who eats the bugs if the bats are gone)!  For decontamination we ensured that all gear is thoroughly cleaned (we used bleach) between uses.  We’re ready for next time!

Picketwire Canyonlands meets Multicast

Had a fun trip with the Delockroys and my family to the Picketwire Canyonlands south and west of La Junta, Colorado. We signed up for the US Forest Service’s new Guided Auto Tour which is an alternative to the 5+ mile hike in the heat of South-Central Colorado! This was very near the old Santa Fe Trail and features a bunch of history; old and “new”. The USFS employee was very knowledgeable in the Geology and History of the area including many legends and stories! I was a little bummed that we didn’t see the Petroglyphs that were advertised all over the brochures; those were along the trail you hike in; but I guess there needs to be some incentive to get folks to hike the trail too! 🙂

The main reason for the trip was to see the Jurassic dinosaur tracks–Brontosaurus and Allosaurus side-by-side! These are the longest tracks by far in any Morrison formation and for sure the longest set anywhere in North America. There was some flooding in August that had not been cleaned up yet (not the terrible flooding we had along the Front Range in September) but it still was fantastic. Normally the Purgatoire River is a trickle and you don’t get your feed wet; that wasn’t the case as you’ll see this trip! Colorado has had a much wetter summer than in the past decade this year!

The video says it all; enjoy! Feel free to comment on YouTube or this blog posting if you have any questions! Oh, and a shameless plug; my band Multicast‘s song “Spitfire” is the soundtrack to the video. Enjoy!

Picketwire Canyonlands Auto Tour Trip: September 2013

Had a fun trip with the Delockroys and my family to the Picketwire Canyonlands south and west of La Junta, Colorado. We signed up for the US Forest Service’s new Guided Auto Tour which is an alternative to the 5+ mile hike in the heat of South-Central Colorado! This was very near the old Santa Fe Trail and features a bunch of history; old and “new”. The USFS employee was very knowledgeable in the Geology and History of the area including many legends and stories! I was a little bummed that we didn’t see the Petroglyphs that were advertised all over the brochures; those were along the trail you hike in; but I guess there needs to be some incentive to get folks to hike the trail too! 🙂

The main reason for the trip was to see the Jurassic dinosaur tracks–Brontosaurus and Allosaurus side-by-side! These are the longest tracks by far in any Morrison formation and for sure the longest set anywhere in North America.  There was some flooding in August that had not been cleaned up yet (not the terrible flooding we had along the Front Range in September) but it still was fantastic.  Normally the Purgatoire River is a trickle and you don’t get your feed wet; that wasn’t the case as you’ll see this trip!  Colorado has had a much wetter summer than in the past decade this year!

The video says it all; enjoy!  Feel free to comment on YouTube or this blog posting if you have any questions! Oh, and a shameless plug; my band Multicast‘s song “Spitfire” is the soundtrack to the video. Enjoy!

Cherokee Oklahoma Selenite – Spring 2012

We’ve been wanting to do this trip for a while; so we decided to embark on a long 3-day weekend trip with my dad and my kids to go Selenite digging in the Great Salt Plains in North-central Oklahoma.  I did some calling around and because of the oil boom and the Wynoka Rattlesnake Festival no hotels were available except in Enid; so we opted for a place in neighboring Anthony Kansas–the Anthony Motel & Cafe.

The Cafe was closed and I think we were the only non-oil industry guests at the motel; but it was nice enough…we got the Harley room so who could ask for more? Got there Friday evening and hung out in the room and went to bed early.  Drove south to Cherokee OK on Saturday morning and headed out to the Salt Plains.  Being a storm chaser as well; I was amazed that we were in the center of the high risk area; so we kept our eye open for building storms all day…

The wind was brutal; about a 30-40 mile southerly wind all day that picked up about 3:00pm…so we decided we had enough digging and decided to leave.  Of course, like everyone else, we lost several things that blew out of the back of the truck and we couldn’t catch them it was blowing so hard!

We dug all day and found that the Selenites were a couple of inches below the ground.  Hunter discovered that if you dug near the standing water you’d find crystals right away.  They said to dig a hole in the sand, let it fill with water (we are at the water table) and then use a bucket or can to wash the sand from the walls.  This did work and crystals did fall into the murky, sandy water; but we discovered that the Crystals exist right at the interface between the sand and clay usually; so we ended up just digging horizontal about 3″ below that interface and then pulling out the crystals on the top of the sand rather than in the water…seemed quicker and easier.  You can either set out the crystals in the wind to dry; or just toss them in a bucket…we did both.

There appeared to be several types of crystals.  Those that formed in the sand, we called them “Sandy”.  Those that formed in the clay that were larger and brownish.  Those that formed in clay that were bow-ties of sand in clear crystals, we called them “bow ties”.  Those that formed in both sand and clay; we called them “changlings”.

Note that digging this way you have to be careful with your shovel as it is easy to break or bend it…we bent one of ours and another person there broke their metal shovel.  The clay is stiff and heavy; so go easy.  Daphne discovered the “motherload” of the day which put us into the great clusters and bow-tie crystals…of course this was just before we wanted to leave so we ended up staying an extra hour…but it was worth it.

Storm Prediction Center issues a high risk; we were in the center of it!

Storm Prediction Center issues a high risk; we were in the center of it!

We went home and saw the storms forming on radar…the ones that looked to impact our location of Anthony were at the time near Woodward, OK; which is where several folks died.  The storm directly impacted Cherokee where we were all day (note that when we drove through every carwash and other bay was taken by cars already).  I decided not to chase the storms given I was with the family and in Erin’s truck (hail damage was not an option; plus some of the side dirt roads would not be good in her car) so we decided to hang out in Anthony.  About dark; the storm came through and we took refuge in the local funeral home basement; which was the normal storm shelter after the sirens started blaring!  The kids got a good experience of what it is like to be a citizen in tornado prone areas (they’ve been on several chases with me prior…so they know that side too; which isn’t as scary).  The twister went about 4 miles SE of town on its way to Wichita.

On the way home Daphne wanted to see “tornado damage” so I chose a route to put us through where I read there were touch-downs.  We saw some damage near Hudson which was relatively minor; albeit still scary!

Overall a great trip, some amazing crystals and chased by a storm on a high risk day in the heart of tornado alley! Great fun!

Rural small town propaganda.  Obama Care wasn't popular with this guy and his junk

Rural small town propaganda. Obama Care wasn’t popular with this guy and his junk

Rural propaganda

Rural propaganda

Our hotel in Anthony Kansas, the "Harley Room"

Our hotel in Anthony Kansas, the “Harley Room”

Just south of Cherokee, Oklahoma

Just south of Cherokee, Oklahoma

Entrance to the state park

Entrance to the state park

Driving into the salt flats; used to be trees and winter wheat everywhere...

Driving into the salt flats; used to be trees and winter wheat everywhere…

Just in case you dig up some old military heirlooms

Just in case you dig up some old military heirlooms

Tornadic storm after the core passed just south and east of Anthony.

Tornadic storm after the core passed just south and east of Anthony.

Tornado thrown sheet metal into a power line

Tornado thrown sheet metal into a power line

Some of the nicer clusters of bowtie selenite

Some of the nicer clusters of bowtie selenite

More clusters of selenite

More clusters of selenite

Nice bowtie selenites

Nice bowtie selenites

Cool cluster of selenite

Cool cluster of selenite

We brought home two classifiers filled with crystals!

We brought home two classifiers filled with crystals!

Some of the nice selenite finds

Some of the nice selenite finds

Interesting selenite crystals, not the normal "bowtie" blades

Interesting selenite crystals, not the normal “bowtie” blades

Cool clusters of selenite

Cool clusters of selenite

Some of the larger bowtie selenite crystals

Some of the larger bowtie selenite crystals

Groaning Cave Trip – August 1991

Going through some old photos I pulled out some from the trip to Groaning Cave.  Hopefully I’ll get to visit this cave again once the white nose bat fungus is no longer a threat!

Groaning Cave

Bacon in Groaning Cave

Groaning Cave

The squeeze through the barrel entrance in Groaning Cave

Dave Groaning Cave

Fixing up the light in Groaning Cave

Groaning Cave Groaning Cave Groaning Cave Groaning Cave Groaning Cave Groaning Cave Groaning Cave Groaning Cave Entrance Groaning Cave Groaning Cave

Soda straws in Groaning Cave

Soda straws in Groaning Cave

2005 Tornado Tour – Silver Lining Tours’ Master Class journal

I had been wanting to take a tornado tour ever since they were first offered; the thought of not having to drive and get to see how hard-core storm chasers travel everywhere sounded great; and this company had the “Master Class Tour” which was a severe storm forecasting class at the same time as a tour! Perfect!
Here is the original journal I posted with pictures while on the tour to communicate back to loved ones and friends! What a great trip and opportunity!

Day 1 – Jackson County SD Badlands Twister
Day 2 – NE Kansas/Missouri Supercells
Day 3 – NW Kansas Tornadofest
Day 4 – Oklahoma & Texas Panhandle Supercells
Day 5 – Texas Panhandle Caprock Twister
Day 6 – Texas Panhandle Twisters
Day 7 – Iowa Supercell
Day 8 – Lectures, Forecasting and recharging
Day 9 – Trego County Mothership

Mt Antero Rockhounding trip with Isenharts – July 30, 2011

What a great trip. Went camping on BLM land (thanks for the Tip on these sites, Tim!) with Tim and JD Isenhart and Hunter. Tim offered to drive and since I had never done that road before (and had been warned that the Touareg wouldn’t make it up because of lack of clearance) I was excited to finally go to this long awaited destination!

We left first thing and make the long journey to the top. I think I could have made it with the VW, but there were 2 spots that would have been tricky. The road was definitely rough and high clearance is definitely required. We got to the top and started looking through the old tailings from the days of mining Beryl. Right away we found traces of aquamarine and started digging. Hunter didn’t dig that much but had a keen eye as he found most of the great rocks of the day. His double-terminated phenokyte (with remnants of Aquamarine) is spectacular; his topaz was great as well!

The drive was great and I hope to get up there again soon!

Information sign at the base of the very rough road to Mt Antero

Beautiful Beaver pond at the stream crossing on the road to Mt Antero summit

JD Isenhart and the beautiful view as we were getting close to the summit

Hunter and the destination parking area (behind) of Mt Antero

Some Chlorite (?) and Blue Beryl from Mt Antero

Aquamarine fragments

Hunter's topaz crystal

I believe this is a piece of Galena

Hunter's double-terminated Phenokyte with Aquamarine

Hunter's double-terminated Phenokyte

We ended the weekend stopping by Ruby Mountain which was basically just a few miles away. Hunter and I had already scoped this area out and found a bazillion Apache Tears and found what the Rhyolite looked like with some Garnets. JD and Tim found this nice garnet before leaving to go fishing.

JD/Tim's Garnet find at Ruby Mountain

Ruby Mountain garnets