Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

The older I get the faster time seems to fly. I watch in awe as another year comes to a close. This time of year always allows me to reflect on the adventures of the past 365 days. I am grateful for those days and look forward to many more. I am thankful for my wife and my children and the health of my family. I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for my job.
On the fishing front, this has been quite a year. It was a rough start with rain dictating the fishing in our part of the world. Winter allowed me a few fishing excursions, but spring was brutal. The perpetual precipitation left the local rivers at impossible levels for fishing. My favorite hatch of the year came and went without a day to fish because of flooding on the rivers. Before I knew it, it was May and the dry fly fishing in Ohio hadn’t even gotten started.
Let me address some of the highlights from this past year: The Mad was fantastic. Each trip there, I found my net filled with fat, healthy browns that were more than willing to take a fly. The water levels remained healthy throughout the summer and July was one of the best months of the year. As I do every year, I spent my late Grandfather’s birthday on the water. I believe that is how we should remember those that were dear to us; we should enjoy some of the things they enjoyed while on this earth. We honor their time here and create new memories even without their physical presence.
July would also find me in the mountains of Colorado. It was my first trip west and it will not be my last. I was fortunate to meet and befriend Steve Schweitzer. Steve went to high school with my brother-in-law, Wes. Steve is also the author of A Fly Fishing Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park. It was an amazing trip that I chronicled in detail here. I am grateful for Steve’s guidance and friendship. This trip, along with the blog, afforded me the opportunity to do a little writing as well. I was asked to write a destination article for Global Fly Fisher. It was a very enjoyable and somewhat tedious task. I look forward to more of this type of writing in the upcoming year.

My own children have really grown to appreciate their time on the water as well. Morgan and Matthew have worked hard on their skills and are a pleasure to have with me on any adventure. Morgan and I were even asked to do a local TV appearance. We filmed a fly fishing segment for fitTOGETHER, a local show that airs in Fairfield County. It was not my first time in front of the camera, but creating this memory with Morgan made it one of the most special trips of the year. As for Matthew, he is quite the bass slayer. I look forward to capturing more adventures with him as the New Year matures.
I even won the lottery this past year. The Castalia fish lottery! I have been faithful to donate my three dollars each of the past ten years. This year the Division of Wildlife gave a little back.  Mike and I(Owen Wilson) , travelled north to the booming metropolis of Castalia to fish the famed waters of the most pristine waters in Ohio, Cold Creek. This was chronicled in a short video that we shot and Mike produced. You can find it here or on Youtube and Vimeo. It is some of the best dry fly fishing footage that you may ever see from our great state.
Speaking of Mike, he created our new website We are very excited about what the future holds for this adventure. We have several videos from last spring and summer and this year promises to be even better. Stay tuned, you won’t be disappointed. I am fortunate to have such talented friends and Mike’s abilities often leaving me shaking my head. He is a great friend and a wonderful fishing companion. His abilities to lose my flies in trees also often leave me shaking my head.
As the year takes its last breaths, I am encouraged and excited to see what the future holds. It has been a good year on some fronts of my life and a very difficult year on others. I am grateful for both.
Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's Not Over Yet!

Two days ago, I sat here and typed my year in review. It was raining, again. I thought my fishing for the year had come to an end. I even mentioned that I did not think I would have the chance to get out again. I was wrong. I do that quite a bit. Be wrong, that is. Today, I had every intention of getting in the woods for an evening hunt. However, the weather was very warm and the wind was all wrong for where I wanted to hunt. With only a couple of hours of daylight left, I headed for Clear Creek. 
A little practice with the camera timer
I was not even sure if the stream would be fishable with all the recent rain. I was surprised to find the stream in great shape. It was carrying quite a bit of water, but it was completely manageable for flinging a nymph and a small bugger. I quickly rigged up and was soon on the water. The sun was warm and I only needed a light sweatshirt and a fleece vest. I was ready and comfortable for my   winter adventure. It is hard to believe that it is December 29th and I am fishing in such nice weather. I think this creek was covered in ice last December.
Every turn offers another beautiful run

I chose to start with an olive bugger and began to swing it through the seams of one of my favorite runs. On the first cast, I had a fish miss the fly three times.  This continued as two or three more fish would come up short on their attempt to take the fly. I decided to slow things down a bit and tied on a bead head green weenie. The green weenie is an easy tie and a great winter attractor pattern. It proved its worth on the first drift with a small, but very healthy, brown trout. I proceeded to find two more willing trout from this run and my day was already as satisfying as it needed to be.
After beating that stretch to death, I worked my way through some other familiar spots as I headed for the car. I picked up another fish on the green weenie before switching back to the olive bugger. I managed one more fish to my hand and several that were short on the strike. Five trout on a winter’s day in Fairfield/Hocking County Ohio, that’s a darn good day! I was thankful for such willing trout and the warmth of a winter day.
I have to add a side note here: I was asked why I would post pictures of such small fish. Trout and their habitat are beautiful. I do not care if they are five inches or twenty-five inches; I am excited every time I see or catch one of these swimming gems. When I fish, I can often be heard oohing and awing when I miss a fish. Friends that fish with me just shake their heads and laugh. I just love catching trout, no matter how big or how small. I have been catching trout since I was old enough to walk and carry a fishing rod. I will continue until I can no longer walk or carry a fly rod!
My last fish of the day

As you can see, Clear Creek is a beautiful place no matter what time of year. I could spend the entire time taking pictures of all of the beautiful portions of this wonderful park. It is a great luxury to have such a place so close to home.
One of the many unique sights in the Park
The road home

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A little Thanksgiving fishing!

Major holidays are spent with my wife's family. I am fortunate to have married into a family that I enjoy. I enjoy them even more when they move into houses that have ponds on the property. My brother-in-law, Wes, lives in a beautiful house with both a pool and a pond. Since there are no fish in the pool, it is not something that excites me. Besides, November is too cold to swim anyhow. However, the pond does quite a bit to get me excited about a visit to the in laws. I think this video clip sums up my feelings about a visit to the  in laws. I asked the same question and received a similar response. I couldn't agree more... the pond is just perfect for me!
Realizing that I have not fished this month, I grabbed a fly rod and a hand full of flies for some time on the water. After an amazing meal, I just had to try and catch a fish.
It was cold, damp and a bit breezy, but I was determined. The pond is the only back yard pond that I know of with yellow perch. There are some very nice perch in there as well, but today any perch would do. I was lucky enough to find one on my first cast. He was not much bigger than the clouser I was casting, but it was a fish, and a pretty one at that.
I was satisfied, but just like dinner- I wanted more. The water was very cold and the fish were not very active. I did manage to land a small bluegill before the cold and my common sense drove me back inside. It was nice to catch a couple of fish. I have been preoccupied with antlers for the past month, but I think that will all change very quickly.
Oh, and a picture of the pond. Trust me, the pool is there, but there isn't much to see this time of year.

Friday, October 21, 2011

RMNP Video

As I have already posted and described, my trip to Rocky Mountain National Park was surreal. There were very few closed mouth moments. The grandeur of the place is incredible. It has been almost three months and I am still digesting my trip. I am also planning my next one!
I was fortunate that Steve had his video camera along to record the events of my first true back packing adventure into the high country. I have trout fished since I was old enough to walk, but this trip made me feel as if I had come full circle in my fly fishing life.
 I think the most overused word on television is "unbelievable!" If I just watched it, it was believable. I truly try to avoid using the word. However, many of you will think that the title of this video is just that-unbelievable. I am sorry it has taken so long to post this.

Please excuse the stupid grin that never leaves my face and some of the idiotic things I say. I hope you enjoy the scenery and the fish as much as I did. I want to thank Steve and Wes one more time. It sure didn't suck!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Clear Creek 10/8

The weather has been absolutely amazing this week. The evening and mornings are staying nice and cool while the daytime highs have soared into the lower 80’s. The fall foliage is ready to explode any day now. It is just great time of the year to enjoy the outdoors.

Normally an October morning would have found me perched in a tree somewhere with my log bow in hand, but eighty degrees and standing corn are not conducive to finding many deer. Add to that a moon that is almost full and fishing becomes a no brainer.
This morning Morgan and I decided to go to Clear Creek to see if we could find any surviving browns. I love this place, but it suffers from warms temperatures in the summer and very few friends. There are too many people in the area that will keep a trout regardless of its size. I am always able to find a few, but there should be more in a place as pretty as this.
It was a wonderful ride through the country side as we gawked at so many beautifully changing trees. The park in not far from my house and the back roads that take me there are fun to drive. It is a pleasant ride regardless of the time of year, but with the changing colors and my favorite young lady, life does not get much better.
Morgan and I arrived at one of our favorite spots and walked up the road to get to a hidden run that always seems to have a fish or two. We rigged up and realized that the water was much cooler than it had been during our last visit. I was soon fishing and Morgan quickly traded her rod for her camera. She fished a little, but was way too distracted by the scenery. I soon found a fish and was very happy to see such an aggressive little guy. It was not a big fish, but it was a trout that I caught on a fly not twenty minutes from my home. In Ohio, that is a blessing.
We fished and filmed our way around the stream and failed to find another willing fish. We decided to make a stop at my favorite place in the park. This section of the park contains two of the prettiest holes in the park. We worked our way up through this beautiful place and found another willing fish. I was satisfied and soon found myself taking pictures as well.
I could not imagine a finer morning in October spent with a prettier young lady. Today was truly a blessing and one that I won’t soon forget.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Mad..dening River 9/25

I took a solo trip to the river yesterday (mistake number one!) I should have taken one or both of the kids! I felt guilty for that the entire trip. Mike was unable to go, so I tried to video some myself (mistake number 2!) Trying to film and cast (mistake number 3!) was next to impossible for me. Between the wind and the camera, I  was a mess.
The river was gin clear and much busier than I thought it would be for the opening weekend of bow season.I had hoped for some color to the creek, but I was greatly disappointed. I started the trip with a stop at the Macochee. I moved a couple of fish and the grasshoppers were ridiculous, but the water was soon muddied by a group doing a stream survey. I have never even seen another person fish this stream, but there were guys gearing up when I got back to the car.
I then swung past Pimtown, but again there were two cars parked there. I went down stream a little further and found some willing trout, but the clear water and falling leaves made for some pretty touchy fish. I did manage to see a couple fo really nice fish, but they were very skittish. One was a beautiful male that was all colored up for his fall mating ritual. I was happy to see such a large healthy fish in this section of the river.
I soon found myself stopping at the Route 29 bridge. There were five cars there and two more people pulled in to launch canoes. I managed one more decent fish here in a familiar spot and soon my afternoon was finished.
I managed a little footage, but I am not sure that I have anything usable. I will hand it over to Mike and see if he can work some magic. On a brighter note, I did catch two on a hopper. They were not very large, but they smacked that big fly.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"My Time on the Mountain" Article

After my trip to Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park, I blogged about the entire trip. My good buddy Steve Schweitzer follows the blog and asked me to write a destination article for a website he co-owns. He gave me some details about what he was looking for and asked me to submit the article along with some pictures to the globalflyfisher website. I was more than happy to share and looked forward to the opportunity to publish an article.
The article itself was very similar to the blog posts. However, advice on what to take, flies to fish, and what to expect overall were added. I am pretty pleased with the article, but there were a few errors that I missed and wished that I had edited better. It was a very cool experience and one that I hope to repeat in the near future. 
If I could just get some one to pay for me to go on a trip and write another article...
If you want to check it out, you can find it at:
There are some great photographs that my brother-in-law took that really add to the quality of the article. I need to thank both Wes and Steve for such an awesome opportunity and for their fellowship and friendship along the way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Castalia Video

Castalia Rainbows from Echo Productions on Vimeo.

For years I have relied on well-meant words to share my stories of fantastic fishing trips. I tried to share those stories with the enthusiasm that they deserved. Sometimes I was able to achieve this and other times I failed miserably. As fishermen, we are all great at exaggerating a story. However, with the advent of smaller HD cameras, we no longer have to rely on mere words or exaggeration.

Mike and I were more excited about the filming opportunity that Castaia would afford us than we were about the fishing. As you can see, the fishing was fantastic, but the video that this amazing resource allowed us to take is even more amazing. The underwater footage is some of the best that I have ever seen. The rises and takes were dream like. It is wonderfully amazing to watch these memories unfold before me once more.

I hope that all of you will enjoy this short video as much as we did making it. I have to thank Mike for putting this together. It is truly fantastic footage.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Here it is! After months of talking and discussing this idea, Mike and I decided to start our own website.We wanted a place where we could share our fishing reports and videos. We have had so much fun this summer fishing and filming that we wanted to share it on a larger scale.
I have thoroughly enjoyed learning how to run the camera and frame shots. I am still not very good at it, but Mike is patiently helping me learn more with each trip. I never thought I would enjoy watching some one else fish, but looking through the lens adds a whole other aspect to our trips. It has been great fun and a joy to learn and share.
With the website will come new blog posts, fishing reports, videos, photographs, and hopefully some interviews and podcasts. We want to share with people the many opportunities that we have here in Ohio and the surrounding states. I look forward to fishing and sharing those adventure even more than before. Stay tuned, it is going to be an exciting fall!
Check us out at

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Just Plain Ol' Good Fun!

Sometimes I think I am a good fly fisherman. Sometimes I am just plain lucky. Today was a result of that luck. Every winter for the past several years I have donated my three dollars for a chance to fish the Castalia Fish Hatchery property. I have waited hopefully each spring for my permit to arrivee in the mail only to be disappointed. This year my luck changed and my permit arrived with the promise of plentiful fish. However, there was a glitch: I had to fish on the designated date.
This is the second week of school after a long summer of vacation. My children were both hard at work and tests, practice and homework would prevent their attendance on this trip. My cousin, Zach, was ready to go until situations at his work changed and so did his plans to attend. Thankfully, my trusty fishing friend Mike was able to go and I was much happier to have a trusted companion for this amazing opportunity.
Mike and I decided to travel north the night before to avoid a very early drive. We laughed and told stories the entire time. We played music trivia and talked of familiar fishing trips from the past. I told Mike about how many of my students believe that I look like Owen Wilson and how I get sick of hearing about it. I don't look like him! It was a good ride.
We arrived in Sandusky at 10p.m. and began our search for a place to spend the night. We tried one hotel only to find it full of last minute vacationers on their way to Cedar Point. Finally, we found a room. However, I had to be reminded once more of my blond whiteness. The lady at the desk had to ask me if I have ever been told that I look like Owen Wilson! Mike thoroughly enjoyed that one.
We watched some TV and relaxed until it was time to sleep. I actually slept really well and was ready to catch some fish with the rising sun. We made our way to the hatchery property and soon checked in. They checked our licenses and reminded us of the rules. We would have the entire half-mile section of the stream to ourselves.
The grounds were groomed and the stream was slow, deep and cold. Cold Creek boils up out of the Blue Hole. It comes through the limestone aquifers and boils into an amazingly clean, cold, and fertile stream. The banks and stream side vegetation remind you of a classic European chalk stream. It looks like something out of a long ago painting that had an old pipe smoking fisherman with a bamboo rod and silk line. I really enjoyed the quiet and solitude that this opportunity afforded us both.
We were allotted five hours on the stream and would have to keep any fish that we kept. I am not much for killing trout, but I have neighbors that would enjoy a few fish. And, rules are rules.We spent much of the first hour just wandering through the property and watching all the feeding fish. Were both truly amazed at the number and size of the fish in this beautifully clean water.
Mike brought two cameras and we were able to get some great footage that we will share in the near future. We spent the rest of the morning fishing and filming each other as we took turns casting and catching fish. Fortunately, our fishing was prolonged by quite a few tight lipped fish. We tried to target larger fish that seemed to be alone in a feeding lane. However, many of them seemed to be offended by our offerings and quickly refused or even moved away. I was surprised by how easily spooked many of these fish were.
Soon, Mike and I had both hooked up on very nice fish and once again I was surprised. When a fish would fight, the entire pool would go crazy and began to frantically swim and rise as if there were a feeding frenzy. It was a spectacular sight to see a pool of frenzied fish spinning, twirling and rising as if they were entranced into dance.
We continued to fish and film throughout the morning. Catching our limits and losing a few fish along the way. Mike hooked a great hooked jawed fish that took him for a walk many yards downstream. That fish jumped, digged and dance for fifteen solid minutes before finally collecting enough vegetation on Mike's line to find his way free. It was exciting to watch and heartbreaking to see the fish free. I am so excited to see what Mike will do with this footage. I am also very excite about some future plans that I will soon be sharing.
We enjoyed another ride home full for fishing and tired from fighting. There were more good stories shared and future plans made. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Today I ventured into the cool, dark morning with the anticipation of finding fish. It reminded me of the many mornings spent fishing in Pennsylvania with my good friend Larry. Mike and I were on the road well before first light and arrived at the river in time to watch the sun rise. It was a glorious morning with the cool air of early fall. We quickly geared up and headed for water. I was anxious and patient all at the same time.
Mike and I tied on our favorite flies and watched the water, waiting for something to happen. We worked our way through our favorite runs and riffles, but struggled early to find fish. I was enjoying the morning breeze and my time with a good friend. I was also in the midst of one of those days. You know, the days where no matter how hard you try not to, you keep screwing up.
I spent more time this morning digging flies off of snags and out of trees than I have all summer. I would snag something on the bottom of the stream only to have it come lose and end up in the trees. I have always believed that if you do not spend some time in the trees then you aren't fishing hard enough, but today was a bit ridiculous on my part.
After making a move, Mike and I were fishing below a parking lot when we heard a vehicle pull in. The door slammed and soon I saw a shadow on the water. Within a few minutes a younger man was headed over the bank to check out the river. What he wasn't anticipating was the lose gravel that took him for a ride while he lost his balance and slid and rolled frantically toward the river. The look on his face was that of a slightly scared man along with a load of embarrassment. I acted like I didn't see it while he dusted himself off and collected what was left of his dignity and headed back up the bank.
Mike thought I was being attacked when he first heard the noise and the two of us held our laughter until the man was out of sight. When he returned to the river ready to fish it was time for us to move. We laughed the whole way to our next spot. I would soon pay for that laughter.
We arrived at Macochee Creek to see if we could get some footage of rising fish. We found two or three really nice trout in their feeding lanes, but not rising. Mike decided to stay on the bridge with the camera while I crawled into position for a cast. I was almost to where I wanted and had placed my left hand on a spot where I thought there was ground. There was plenty of grass between me and the stream, but there was no ground. My left hand continued to pushed downward and soon I was rolling off of the bank and right into the water. Thankfully, Mike did not catch that on camera, but he did get me dragging my soaked body back to shore. To make matters worse, I spooked every fish in that run.
In two hours, Mike had enough footage of me to create an hour long blooper video. All I could do was wring out and laugh.I did manage to hook a really good fish as it turned on my fly and headed right for me. It was a short fight and the fish was soon gone.
Macochee creek looks amazing! The work that the DNR did here is outstanding. It has regained its classic spring creek look and I believe that it will only continue to get better. The only thing that struck me as a concern was the lack of trout found throughout the creek. They seemed to be concentrated in a few places, rather that throughout the entire stream. There was plenty of depth and cover, but very few fish outside of those few holes.
We moved again to fish some familiar water and I picked up a small trout and several chubs. The place that I hoped to fish had a couple of kids wading through it and we soon turned our attention on another section of the river. Again, we came up empty. It was getting to be time to leave and we needed to hit our go to spot for one last chance at redemption. Mike would film while I fished. He ordered me to catch something and that is exactly what I did. Moving my way slowly up a seam, I watched my fly disappear with the decisiveness of a good fish. I knew I had struck gold. The fish turned and allowed me to see his golden buttered sides shinning in the sun. It was a great fish for this section of the river. After a few quick pictures and some more video, we were satisfied and full for fishing. It was time to head home.
As always, I enjoyed my time on the water with a good friend. Mike and I never fail to have fun. It was a good day and one that every weekend should have. I look forward to more time on the river and a little bit of butter to make it even better.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fishing with Friends.

I am very fortunate to have friends that fish. Some enjoy fly fishing while others just enjoy fishing. Today, Morgan and I had the pleasure of doing a little fishing/wading in the lower end of Clear Creek with a couple of those friends. The water and shade were a welcome respite from the heat of the day. The fishing was slow, but the fellowship that we shared was  fantastic.
My friend Trevor Ross called earlier in the week and asked if we could get the girls together for a little quality time on the creek. Morgan was happy to go, but warned that she was more interested in fishing than she was in playing. Trevor met us at the house and we headed for the creek. Today was a local charity bike ride that caused many traffic issues. It would even play a role on where we fished. We were forced to fish the lower end of the creek because the ride had half the park shut down to traffic.
I am not as familiar with this portion of the creek, but I hoped to find a few small mouth hiding in its shaded pools. There were very few fish, but the water was cool, the stream was shaded, and the girls seemed to enjoy themselves. The day ended with a good pizza and many good stories. Morgan and I are both looking forward to spending more time on the creek with Trevor and Taylor.
Don't worry Mike, I practically caught that fish for Trevor too!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

August on the Mad

Historically speaking, August on the Mad River has not always been my favorite time to fish. The water is normally warmer and low, the trout are a bit sluggish and even more skittish, and I am normally changing gears and thinking about work and antlered animals. I have always found fish during August, but the consistency varies from year to year. Today would be no different.
Mike and I made an evening escape and ventured west for a trip of trout. We made it to the river late in the afternoon and found ourselves alone on a familiar beat. The water was very clear and it became evident quickly that we would have to go slow and steady to find fish. Some were found with nymphs while others rose to the surface to sip small terrestrials. It was a good evening.
Mike brought along his little camera and soon the fishing became secondary. The older I get, the more I want to document the little things that I see along the way. It is just as enjoyable and rewarding to show the family the footage as it is to catch fish. With Mike, it is always an adventure. Here is a little footage that documented our time on the river.

Trout on the Mad #2 from Mike McNeese on Vimeo.

By the way, I practically caught that fish for him. I built the rod, I tied the fly, I…

Friday, August 12, 2011

Matthew and Me.

Since my return from Colorado, I have been looking forward to getting out and doing some more fishing. With the start of school right around the corner, time is a very precious thing. Matthew has begun to show a real interest in flinging the fly, so he and I ventured out for a little pond fishing and some casting practice.
I was very proud of him. He was patient and listened well. We threw some grasshoppers and eventually a few buggers. He did great landing a handful of bass and several blue gills. Both my children are wonderful little fisherman. Matthew’s will to learn and succeed will help him get better.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A good time, but not a good outing.

Last night, Morgan and I decided to fish a local small mouth stream. Actually, she asked if we could go fishing. She had to beg really. It was a long and tedious argument, but I finally gave in.
It had rained at the house last night, but I did not think that it had done any significant damage to the local streams. It seemed harmless enough. However, upon arriving we found the river to be a up a little and still quite stained. I am not a big stained water fan. It is just a personal preference. I like to see fish.
We were there and it was quite a drive to just turn around and go home, so we geared up and headed for the river. I put my rod together and grabbed my box of flies. I rigged up Morgans spinning rod and we set forth to find some smallies. I quickly hooked up and lost a fish while Morgan took pictures of the scenery. We moved upstream and crossed the river. The water was swift and I decided to give Morgan a ride on my back. Unbeknown  to me, I lost my fly box in the swift water while navagating my way accross the river casrrying two rods and a thirteen year old. I did not even realize it until I lost a fly later and reached for the box of flies-oops!
We managaed to have fun. I love her company. She seemed more upset than I was. I can tie more. We lost two fish and made a quick release of the third. Sorry, no pictures. Our evening ended early, but the ride home with her was fun and silly. I plan to fish today without losing anything.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rocky Mountain National Park: Final Day

Day 4

With confused emotions I have both dreaded and longed for this day. The last day. I would hike out today and immediately miss the mountains. I would also have the chance to speak to my beloved family that I had missed so much. I thought of them every step of the way. I missed them more with each moment. I longed to hear their sweet voices and feel their warm embrace. However, I had fallen in love with the mountains: their beauty, their deafening silence and majesty, their solitude and their gift of trout. I would miss them too, but I will return.
                              Wes making pancakes.
The trip out was pretty uneventful. We had a quick and easy hike back down the valley. We fished very little and stopped once again at  Big Pool. My fishing would end where it had started. Two more cutthroat trout and I packed my fishing gear away, ready to complete the rest of my journey. The conversation turned from mountains and fish to family and cheeseburgers! It was a quiet hike out for all of us.

My first order of business was to call the family. I was answered with the excited and squealing voice of my lovely Morgan. I talked to Matthew and Susan next and it had never felt so good to hear their voices. Our first stop would be a local eatery in Grand Lake. The town had that old Alaskan shanty town feel to it. It was quaint and screamed of the West from long ago. The cheeseburgers were great and the taste of fries and Pepsi made it even more satisfying. Soon our meal was finished and we hurried as the incoming rains were quickly racing accross the mountains. I imagined for a moment the the place way crying, saddened to see us go.

Our last look at the river.
The drive back through the park was slow and quiet. It was much busier than our early morning trip from the first day. I was just as impressed and even more appreciative than I was before. I was thankful that God had created such a place for us to enjoy. I was greatful for the expirience of having been there. It was truly an amazing journey and one that I will never forget.

We stopped in Estes Park to buy some things for our families and soon we were back at Steve's once again greatful for modern plumbing. I had rippened a bit in the mountains and it was time to finally clean up and become presentable to society. We viewed eachother's pictures and told stories. Soon it was time to sleep in a bed that made no noise and rest the rest that I had missed from the past three nights. It was welcomed sleep.
Steve and his wife Kerry were two of the most generous and gracious hosts  you could have ever asked for. They welcomed us into their lives and homes and I was grateful for their kindness.

The Mighty Colorado River in its infancy.
It was time to go. The plane ride home was quiet and reflective. I could not wait to see my lovely wife and beautiful children. I was greeted with a "Welcome Home" sign, a newly landscaped yard, freshly mowed grass, and newly painted shutters. Oh yeah, and an exhausted and cheerful wife.