today was busy at the raptor center. i was the only volunteer, so there was lots of work to do. cleaning and feeding and watering, as usual. and then i learned a little about handling the birds. here i am with ariel, a (very patient) peregrine falcon.
i also learned how to handle the rehab birds, and helped out feeding a great horned owl in the ICU. lesson learned for the day, from diana: "hold your hand here behind his head so that if he turns around he can't bite you. that way you don't have to explain to the emergency room nurse how an owl bit you on the breast."
we started out in elevenmile canyon, but our favorite spot was taken, and the fishing was tough. we had heard there were some state wilderness areas near the small town of hartsel, so we thought it would be a good day for a drive.
on the way to hartsel we drove through wilkerson pass. after topping the hill the view opens up to the south park basin surrounded by snow capped mountains. after finding hartsel, we took highway 9 north to fairplay, and found the entrance to the tomahawk state wildlife area (but the road was snowed over, and the river is still frozen. so we'll leave that one for another day). at fairplay we turned around and headed back to highway 24, but went a little farther west and found one of the access points for the badger basin swa, and drove to the antero reservoir. after heading back into hartsel, we took highway 59 past the hartsel springs ranch and towards spinney reservoir. we found more swa access for spinney mountain ranch, and passed some interesting farms along the way.
(elk, llamas and maybe fallow deer?)
between spinney and elevenmile lakes we stopped for some late evening fishing and wildlife viewing. herd of antelope grazing
finally, cold and tired we headed home. all in all a good day with some beautiful sites and some new potential fishing spots.
so we like to fish. specifically fly fish. which requires flies. it might not look like it, but that cup full of flies costs a lot of money. this little guy is $1.85. which doesn't sound like much, until you think about the fact that my plan is to tie it to the smallest plastic thread i own, stand on a brushy river bank, and whip it at some fish hoping it gets eaten. lets just say they don't last too long.
so being the crafy, resourceful person i am, i decided to try to make my own. luckily for me, we already own a pile of supplies. so after an hour or so of fussing with thread and feathers, re-reading tutorials, and watching youtube videos i came up with this. he won't win any beauty contests, but he might just trick a fish.
we decided to try another day of fishing up on the south platte river. on the way through woodland park we stopped at the donut mill for the world's biggest donuts.
we scoped out a new spot near the happy meadows campground, but the stream was still completely frozen over there. we got a chance to use the new gps, which went really well except for one little side trip down a road that may or may not exist which involved more 4 wheel drive action than i care for.
we ended up settling at our favorite spot in elevenmile canyon. it was COLD- ice kept freezing up the eyelets on my rod, and i kept having to take frequent breaks to shelter in the car and regain feeling in my fingers. but around noon the fish started hoppin and we caught one fish after another (future note to self: gray midge size 20, 7x tippet)