Tuesday, June 17, 2008


A weird, natural log flume we found.

Isobel: A flying caterpillar?

But dad, my legs are so tired. I'm so tired of walking.

Not me!

Eva loves bridges. She loves driving on overpasses, walking on these. And tomorrow, she'll see the Golden Gate Bridge. Oh man.

Me: What's that?
Eva: It's a beaver's house.
Me: Where does the beaver live?
Eva: In the top part, above the water.
Me: Where does it go in?
Eva: It swims under the water.
Me: What's that?
Eva: It's a beaver!
Me: Where did it go?
Eva: It swam under and went into its home.

Here's a picture of Isobel not catching a fish.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fishing was good, catching wasn't

    Isobel's collected a few fishing stories over the last two summers. Here are a couple of samples:
    "We went fishing and Grandpa caught a tiger trout and killed it. We ate it and it was so yummy."
    "We went fishing on the ice, and Uncle Devin pulled me on the sled. It was fun."

    The common threads with all of the stories are a) that the trip was a success and b) that neither she nor I has landed a fish. She's a very sweet, positive girl, so she rarely mentions the latter, at least not when I can hear.

    Last week, for instance, we got schooled by the Thompsons. Gordon called me up for a bare-minimum shopping list for participation in free-fishing day; he checked off the list and, with the help of the Sportsman's Warehouse salesperson, improved it; then he, Katie and Lily fished right next to Isobel, Eva and I, and (while we were getting skunked) all caught their first fish in 20 or so years (well Lily's seven, so it'd been way longer than 20 years for her).
    Isobel and Eva got sunburned, threw rocks, tangled a few lines. The next day, Isobel told everyone at church that she got to go fishing and that it was so cool that Lily (a 7-year-old!) caught a fish and Isobel got to eat it, because fish is so yummy.

    Friday, I asked her and Eva if they wanted to go camping and fishing with me, or stay home and play and go swimming with their Mom. I admit there was a part of me hoping to leave the girls and the Powerbait at home, take my fly rod (not very kid compatible) and go after some big browns in the Cimarron River. That part of me vanished without a whisper of protest when both girls immediately chose to go fishing with their Dad. They didn't even have to think about it.

    We left at about 3:00 and took almost five hours to make the three-hour drive northeast into the mountains east of Taos. The extra time was mostly spent on a "short-cut" on a dirt road, over an 11,000-foot peak to see a mountain bluebird, a shocked cow elk and learn what a cattleguard is and why it makes that alarming sound under the tires (we actually stopped, got out and looked at the third one).
    At about 7:30, almost at our campsite, we passed a small fishing pond and I asked them if we should stop and fish or find the camp.
    We stopped.

    We had to cross a small creek to get to the pond and while the girls were distracted on one side, I hopped across and tossed a spinner into the pond. On the second cast, believe me or don't, I reeled in a 13-inch rainbow. The girls were not only too far away to hand the pole to, they were too far away to even witness the feat.
    After I let it go, I helped them across the creek and told them about it.

    "Where is it?"
    "I tossed it back."
    "Aww. I wanted to eat it."

    So we fished for a while with no luck. The spinners never worked again and nothing went for the bait. When we couldn't see the clear bubble out on the water anymore, we decided to call it. So Isobel reeled in. Three-quarters of the way in, she said, "Why is my bubble moving like that?"
    Fish on!
    She horsed it to within about 3 feet of the shore before the line broke.

    I wanted to swear.
    "I wanna tell Mommy and Katie and Lily and Uncle Gordon and Grandpa Bryce. That's SO COOL! I caught a fish."

    "I wish I would've got to see it, though. But that was REALLY cool."