We've been really busy over the past couple of weeks. This is a busy time for birthdays in our family and a good time to get out and enjoy life. First off, we made our son cut off his winter mop hairdo. It's amazing what a difference a haircut can make.
I suddenly found myself with some time off from work so I immediately went home and told my wife to get in the car. I've been dying to get to Flaming Gorge. When we first showed up I stopped to car at the Greendale overlook just to smell the Ponderosa Pine and smell the grass and flowers.
It's a great place and I can't help but feel like people treat me like royalty out there. We showed up out of the blue and I asked for a room at the Lodge. After paying what I thought was a fair price for any average hotel room in any dumpy town across America I realized they had given me a condo with a full kitchen, living room and bedroom. When my wife went to the desk to rent some DVDs for our kids, they told her not to worry about paying for them. I bought a "Green River Special" fly rod off the clearance table in the lodge. Those are okay rods, aren't they? (I bought a decent Ross Reel from Cabela's a couple days ago.)
We arrived late in the afternoon and we tried to make it to the dam before they closed the Visitor Center. They close at 6 pm and we rolled into the parking lot at 5:59 pm. But the girl who was locking the place up saw me and smiled and yelled, "What are you doing here?" And she let us in and gave my kids a bunch of Smokey Bear stuff.
We went out to Antelope Flat and that place has some distinctive smells too. Dusty dirt road, even though that road is paved in most of my memories. Sage Brush. And the smell of that slimy stuff on the rocks in the water but then the water level drops and the slime starts to dry and you can smell it. What's that smell called? Muck? I got into the water up to my waist and I was determined to jump in, but it felt pretty cold. So I just stood in the water watching the sun set. I had no intention of leaving there without diving in, but then a small rain cloud rolled in over the water and started dropping rain on us. When I saw bolts of lightning coming down I figured I had better get out.
We had dinner at the lodge and I saw my picture on the front of the menu. The owner asked me how I've been and sat us at a table. I told him I wanted a Navajo Taco. I saw Kevin, the river guide. I asked, "Am I losing my edge or is the water in that lake really cold?" He said, "It just snowed here last week. I think the water is cold."
While my wife was trying to get our kids to sleep, I went hiking in the dark. By myself. Because it seems like such a logical thing to do. And it is, when you love a place and miss it. I layed down on one of those big red rock slabs in the woods and looked at the silouettes of the trees and mountains and listened to thunder down over the lake.
The next morning we went to Mustang Ridge to swim, but it still seemed cold and windy with clouds coming through. Then we drove down to the Jarvie Ranch in Brown's Park. My wife really likes that place. In the old store they have a Sears & Roebuck catalog. My wife flipped through the book and this is what was for sale on the first page it landed on:
It's an "electric belt" that cures ALL weaknesses.
I told my wife, "THIS is why they couldn't catch Butch Cassidy. To defeat Butch Cassidy you must first defeat his electric belt! It's the source of his power!"
They had all kinds of crazy stuff in that catalog. Before the days of High Fructose Corn Syrup, I think Snake Oil was the main ingredient in most things.
After Brown's Park, we needed to hurry home to celebrate Ethan's Birthday early because we went to California this weekend to visit my family. But on the way out of the gorge, I stopped and dove in. Because nothing would be right in the universe if I didn't.
Over this past weekend we did another short trip to Reno to visit my brother and sisters and dads. We mostly hung out at the Casino. We swam in the pool. We saw that new movie Wall-E. It was awesome.