Had a new grandson born about 6 weeks ago in San Diego
. Past time for a road trip to see him, I loaded my lady and the almost 2 year old grandson up for a trip across the desert.
Eli seemed to be sure of what he wants. Sleep, a clean diaper and quality time with a pretty lady. Pretty good list of demands.
After a week of the nice SoCal weather
, we headed north to look at the Sequoia trees. I have a thing for big old trees but this was the farthest I had driven to see one. It was worth the trip.
We headed next to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. I had done a Griswold flyby years ago ahead of a snow storm and had always regretted not staying longer. We stayed 3 days this time.
I carried the boy a lot. He liked to run at the edges and he figures if he has to hold somebody’s hand, he might as well ride.
Standing on the edge of the canyon, looking across at the ages written in rock makes me feel very small.
Some of the best views are on the eastern side away from the crowds. And there were crowds from all over the world.
Now I sit in a cabin
near Navajo Dam, New Mexico
. 3am and all the sane people in the house are sleeping.
I have a love hate relationship with the San Juan
river. I first fished it on the same trip as my first Grand Canyon trip. I saw no one else on the water
but that was no surprise. It was freezing and only fools like me would want to stand in the water
, wave a stick and shiver. The water was as clear as glass and there were trout everywhere. They would follow my fly in pods of as many as 20 without ever dreaming of tasting it. I was only tough enough to stay for a few hours.
is an old sport. I say sport because it is not most productive way to put food
on the table. The rule
of thumb for fly fishing
for trout (it there is one) is, if they are feeding but not taking your offer, change flies. Match what they are eating. Going smaller is often the trick. At least those are the written and spoken rules. I get skunked far to often to claim expertise.
On the San Juan
, the staple in their diet is a tiny midge. A common house fly compared to these bugs is like a tractor trailer rig compared to a roller-skate. Small doesn’t describe it. More like minuscule. I have to use a special clip to hold the hook and magnifying lenses to see the eye and I still struggle to tie one on.
I come here for the challenge I guess. After a fairly productive morning on the river I decided to take on a new challenge. Help a 2 year old to catch his first trout. I had found a large pod of 6-8 inch uneducated trout that might make it an easy lesson.
After a trip to the fly shop for a Spiderman spin cast rod and salmon eggs, we headed for the fish
. Grandma came to document the event in pictures.
It is a pretty spot. Shallow, clear, not to much current
. A rough road leads right up to the water. I had let him handle the rod at the cabin
so it was tough getting him to wait while rigged it. After it had a hook tied on we had repeated conversations on how much I did not want him to grab the rod and set the hook in my finger while I was baiting it. That became a big issue.
As it turned out, the boys first time out of the gate saw him hook a fish
. I had cast it a short distance and handed it to him to retrieve. The rod tip was everywhere. In the water, behind his back, in the weeds and in my face. He was caught up in operating the reel and never looked at the bobber as the little fish took the bait and somehow stayed hooked until inches from his feet. It swam away without anyone but me seeing the epic struggle it had been through.
Baiting the hook means being ever watchful of the kid. He has quick hands and grab and run is his forte. His mind stayed on that rod on the ground. His hands spring loaded. A hook embedded in my hands was a real possibility. Constant negotiation had little effect.
We tried several more casts to likely areas with the fish stealing his bait before he managed his 2nd fish on. He got it close to the bank and in the weeds, then handed to the old man for help. I was amazed to hear him scream like the audience of the Texas
Chainsaw Massacre when I lifted the 6 inch fish out of the water. It terrified him. Mystified me.
I cast the rod many more times before he wanted it again. All was good until the cork got close then he would almost throw the rod to me. No more fish biting though. I guess his high pitched screams took care of that. They are pretty impressive. I don't see a career as a fishing guide in his near future.
I know a lot of people here are raising or have raised children
onboard a boat. I applaud those that do so successfully.
I am a firm believer that people should be exposed to variety in their lives. Soccer games, play grounds, beaches, cities, towns and villages. I have been around people from all walks of life and it helped me decide who I wanted to be. It taught me to respect but not fear confrontation. To listen way more than I talk but to speak up about things that I care about. To be humbled by my mistakes
and forgive mistakes
made by others. And in case you’re wondering, I have been punched in the nose many times. Sometimes by my best friends. Live and learn.
I see how much our time away from his boat is doing for the Blues Kid. (We call him Samuel BTW).
Interacting with other children
has inspired him to try harder at an understandable language. Meeting other people that he trusts has helped a lot with some separation anxiety issues he had been exhibiting. (More screaming and a grip a simian could be proud of)
his age have a special place in my heart. Strangers walking by have their day brightened by a simple wave and a smile from a little one. He has done a lot of that this trip.