Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Into the 21st Century

As always, The UnGuided crew is a little slow. After reviewing many of the stellar photos our crew has amassed over the years, through countless adventures, the time has come to share those with the world! (or at least the three people that follow us)

The UnGuided is pleased to announce their Instagram Page!!!


Be sure to follow us and all photo posts via this outlet along with our blog.

Monday, November 17, 2014

2015 Sockeye Forecast

Usually it's June, fights are scheduled, gear being whored and maybe even staged, when I turn my focus to analyzing the return, the run, the spawn.  Cruising the AK fish and game website, updating charts with new counts every three days trying to surmise how this year will compare to past years and when the run will peak with steelhead in tow.   Well it's not even Thanksgiving and look what came across my network.... Visions of rainbows dance in my head!

State fisheries biologists are forecasting a run of nearly 54 million sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay in 2015, which is 40% more than the last 10-year mean of total runs.

Read more here: http://1.usa.gov/1uzCY3t

Monday, October 6, 2014

Then Took the Other, as Just as Fair

JBeen a month since we were trekking the Stough Basin of the Winds, having rolled the dice and hit the weather jack-pot.  Finding new lakes, rarely if ever fished.  Catching fish till we're silly and pondering a rise in a sterile looking lake and then later, the big tail splash rise seen only by Pablo.  Exulting in hot, cold, wind, rain, sleet- repeat, and scrambling to rock shelter under blackening skies only to moments later peak out to bright sun.  Seeing one lone hiker in five days.  Welcoming a four point muley into our evening camp.  Spending a morning unable to walk but finally busting it out a day early, in record time, in the mind numbing pain of a cut foot because going was easier than stopping.

Winter is baring down on us.  Expeditions now only in memory or scratching their way on to 2015 calendars.  Everybody dreams, but only a few live those dreams- life is good men, dream on.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back 'n Forth

Weather report for Roaring Fork Mountain reads like the stock market on October 29, 1929.
Not good, Not Good! Down DOWN!  Emails begin flying back 'n forth from UT to NC. Text messages, then phone calls. To quote Delmar, "What WE GONNA DO!?"  Plan B. No. Plan A, wait, should it be B?
Cost v. Reward. Being blown off the mountain, or enjoying Cutt City in Idaho? As any sane person would do, we went with being blown off the mountain, of course. 
As I type this, Gov is in the air; and I fully expect his first words off the plane will be, "So, where are we headed?". 

"How could one possibly say "no" to this?

Monday, August 25, 2014

La lista grande

Man o man, here we go!  When the opportunity arose to book this trip, so soon after Ak 14 I knew it would be the perfect remedy for the PEBs.   And from recent recon sounds like it'll offer all the challenge and require the grit of the great wild north.  So, gentlemen.... Start your staging!

Hiking pants 1 (wear)
Cap two bottoms 1(optional if I'm bringing WP pants)
Light shirt sleeve 1 (wear)
Smart wool mid layer top 1 (could be same as above?)
Under wear 2 (one on one packed)
Rain jacket (lt wt pack able or gortex?)
Wind blocker (arcteryx venta 16 oz)
Synthetic coat (atom SV, nano storm)
Wind block balaclava or beanie
Wind block fingerless gloves (get the whole wind block theme )
Wool socks (2)
Line sock (2) (optional)
Water proof hiking boots
Water proof pull over pants (good idea)
Cool hat
Clean clothes left in car

rope for bear bag? actually mice may be the issue, ask Dixon
Map ( I have it, pablo)
Down bag (can I get a new one?)
Insulated sleeping pad
Tent (hondo) ( Group Gear)
Tent poles (per Denise )(LOL)
Lt wt or string pack for day hikes (ya ya, the gonia waterproof sling)(nope, too heavy, rather have wp pants)
Lt wt dry bag?  Dry compression for sleeping bag?
Rain cover for back? (I've needed one both trips, thinking black garbage bag)
Jet boil (1) fuel (1- 8 oz can. I have it) (GG)
Steri pen (1 each). Ya, I'm getting one (you think we need two?)
Water bottle, too that fits steri pen
Satellite rescue txt thing (mule) (GG)
Head phones
Foot warmers

6x3 = 18 dinners (share (yes) a couple?) 6 each
B jerky
10 Cliff bars
5 ramin noodles
14 oatmeals (7x2)
6 hot cocoa packs
Utensils (fold cup/ bowl, spoon)
Trail mix?

Paper/ wipes
Tooth paste, brush, floss
Small towel (I'll use yours)
Soap (liquid)
First aide (band aids, moleskin, (athletic tape works better),  cianide tablets, for crap weather )

Flies (parachute Adams)(Griffiths Gnats.. lots, wolly worm)

Just a start. Add to it

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Post Trip Blues

A text to the Gov: "I can't take it, I'm dying here".  Response: "Take it easy, find a distraction", yeah, right. If it were so easy. Why does this happen? Why does the malaise, the listlessness set in about 7-12 days after a great expedition? Maybe it's one of those unexplainable things, like "how does an airplane stay aloft"? Okay, I know that's explainable, but I still marvel at it. Or better yet, "how does Bigfoot/Yeti/Sasquatch exist but he never gets photographed or captured?"

I'm here to tell you boys, there is a cure.  Moments in time. As the PTB's enter into my head and emotions I try to cast my mind back to a specific moment in time. One of my favorites this year was on an early morning hike upstream, two days of overcast and rain were giving way to breaking clouds and sunshine, birds were chirping (right Mule?) we were just embarking on one of the most spectacular days we were to have on the river, EVER.. I spotted a couple of Kings, and we all know what lies behind Kings.... I cast cross river, just behind the Crimson Giants, hoping to strike all the colors of a Rainbow.  The fly swings, the line comes tight and as cliche as it all sounds, the river erupted. Like a bat out of the proverbial Hell my line screams downriver, something goes airborne that should not be able to go airborne, (is it a plane?) and I realize I hooked that King. He took several jumps, raced back upstream, one more magnificent jump and threw the hook (barbless, of course Gov). THAT is what I remember, THAT is what is etched in my mind. That crimson missile in mid-air, frozen in time. It thrilled me to the core. Tonic for the PTB's.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Moments to Remember

A big bow had just slammed my dolly lama, ran straight up river in heavy riffles and flew perfectly horizontal, flashing the tell tell red striped sides for both Pablo and me.  The day and the run were shaping up to be truly unforgettable.  Pablo was opposite me on the run and hooting and hollering as rainbows and dolly varden nipped, swirled and slammed his mouse pattern.  I could hardly watch my own line for watching the top water action just on the other side of the heavy rolling current.  We could and did and would take dollys and bows all day on dolly lama flies swung through the current, but the mouse, the popping, diving and skittering followed by the periodic gulp or lunge of a big trout was the stuff of dreams and Simms promo video.  Pablo was good enough to leave his action and photo my flying rainbow, and I clipped off the black and red dolly and tied on Mr. Hanky, the mouse of all mice, sporting more teeth marks in his foam back than gold medals on Micheal Phelps neck.  My decision was rewarded with almost immediate attention, but as all fly fisherman know, attention and takes are two different things.  My memory is a little fuzzy on to order of things, I think I took a small rainbow and on a subsequent cast, Mr. Hanky was carving up the big waves in the deep center section of the run, leaving a big wake and attention demanding splashes, when a big dark shape just materialized to his left and deliberately moved behind the unsuspecting mouse.  There was an agonizing pause and then Mr. Hanky just disappeared.  It was probably fortunate that I didn't see the take coming or I'd probably have janked the hank right out of the trout's mouth.

The five weight rod bent hard the current making it difficult to discern how heavy this mouse eater was, but his first dash to the shallower side revealed big shoulders and ramped up my adrenaline, this is a fish you've got to bring to hand!  The Lay of the river played to my favor as I could eventually work him out of the current into shallower, slower water.  Like a lot of big fish, he bull dogged, as if simply perturbed by the inconvenience of a 185 lb man pulling on him.  Eventually fatigued he swam around my legs and I got a full view of this guy- maybe the largest trout I've ever caught.  The mythical 30"?  Probably not, but in the range and sporting all the trappings of a big mature buck dolly- black hooked jaw, gaping mouse eating mouth and wide powerful tail.  Couldn't get any better than this, a world class fish in a world class fishery.  We were the only fisherman to cast to these trout last year and will likely be the only ones this year. The planning, the cost and the physical exhaustion of two brutal portages washed away in the wake of that powerful tail as the fish of the trip quietly glided back to his world, have graced mine for just a few moments that I will never forget.