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Michelle and I spent a beautiful Arizona morning hiking Camelback Mountain located in center city Phoenix. Neither of us had ever hiked the mountain and after a brief inspection of the internet for information we decided to enjoy the Phoenix weather before it will become unbearable. Sandwiches were prepared and water bottles filled in preparation for our epic journey to the top. We arrived at the base of the Camelback at around 10:30 and found a premiere parking spot right near the trailhead. To be truthful, I was extremely surprised that there was no designated area or established parking lot for the multitude of cars that were parked on the street. Since it was a Saturday during springtime in Arizona, we were not the only ones huffing and puffing our way along the rocky trail. We made good time

to the top and were rewarded with a spectacular view of Phoenix and the surrounding metropolises. Michelle stated that from our vantage point one could really appreciate why Phoenix is known as the “Valley of the Sun.” The crystal clear air made visibility in every direction seemingly endless.

At the top we spent some time appreciating the warm sun and cool breeze as we ate lunch. In the process we had to defend everything we owned from the random ground squirrels that must normally eat like kings by panhandling for scraps. After several pictures, we began our decent, which can be a little tougher on the knees than scrambling to the top. On the way back down we spotted several other critters that I hastily identified when we returned home as chuckwallas. We arrived back at the truck with our legs pumping around 12:45. Overall our day on the mountain was extremely enjoyable and rewarding. Anyone who truly wishes to experience the beauty  and size of Phoenix should waste no time and scramble to the top of Camelback Mountain.

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The Saturday sun found my friend Pete and I double-timing it north east to the Mogollon Rim for a day trip of fly fishing. We both have a few days off next week and figured we could spend the day jumping from creek to creek seeing different conditions and accessibility of different areas for our upcoming trip. The day started crisp and cold but soon warmed to pleasant temperatures in the 60s. Water levels were high and creek banks were swollen, but the water seemed fairly clear the higher in elevation we fished. Strong winds made it difficult to cast 3 weights and the bite was almost nonexistent all day.

About noon my day brightened immensely, when cycling through my box, I tied on a #10 Hopper Juan with a stonefly dropper and lobbed several casts into the foam line of a dark pool. I crouched, watching several drifts slowly make their way through the pool, when the surface exploded and my hopper was hooked neatly in the corner of a 18-19″ brown trout. After a short battle, my 3 weight was able to breathe a sigh of relief as I cradled my best fish on a fly rod to date and also my first fish on a self-tied fly. A few quick pictures and the brute swam strongly away.

Around 4:30, we observed an extremely small hatch coming of the creek we were fishing. The majority of these bugs were #20-22s, which was much smaller than anything we had on hand. One large blue wing olive landed squarely in Pete’s fly box, but after flailing at the water with small parachutes for several hours, we decided to call it a day. Next week holds promise for smaller crowds, slightly lower flows, and the hope of more fish.

Winter has been long and wet. Rain and snow has made fishing difficult and slow, but the large snow pack will provide a good amount of water to sustain a quality summer fishing season. I have had the past week off of school with the added bonus of next week too. Life is good, but the first half of the week found me checking off a to-do-list. Tomorrow, I will be headed to the Rim do a little reconnaissance fishing for next week. If tomorrow shows promise, you will find me huddled around a campfire for a few nights next week as I continue to fish the Rim. Tying has continued to involve most of my down time. After being booted from the dining room table (which was perfect because of the plethora of room), I managed to snag a rickety little “desk” for the hunting room and continue to practice wrapping feathers onto hooks with grand visions of the fish they will catch.