Showing posts with label Vacation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vacation. Show all posts

August 7, 2022

A Summer 2022 Update

I thought it would be appropriate to give what amounts to and end of summer update. The last post written was about an early June trip to the Driftless, and a few things have happened since then.

Nothing huge, and honestly, not much (if any) fishing, but stuff worth chronicling nonetheless, if only for future personal reference. (When you have a blog as old as this one, it's fun to revisit posts of years past from time to time).

We had steel drums at summer work happy hour... that was fun!

New York City

We didn't really have a "big" summer vacation as a family this year. That said, we did spend a long weekend in New York City right before the 4th of July. Now I'm not a big fan of NYC, I'd prefer to retreat to the mountains as opposed to the city any day, but with Broadway re-opening after being largely closed due to the pandemic, we thought it would be a good opportunity to go see some shows.  

See, Lilly is really (and I mean really) into theater (theatre?) and wants to pursue theater design in college in a few years. She's obsessed with set & costume design, props, and puppetry, and is an encyclopedia of theater knowledge, just like an avid angler would be with fly patterns.

In all, it was a fun trip, although it was really, really hot outside. Luckily most of our activities were indoors. I didn't go to all the shows that Lilly & K.C. attended (I did see "Into the Woods") but while they were occupied I wandered around Manhattan eating ever tasty thing I encountered. They just don't have food in Jacksonville like the kind you can find in Northeast.

Lilly & I did have a little father/daughter time at the American Museum of Natural History while K.C. was seeing Moulin Rouge solo. So I got to enjoy a little bit of "outdoors" stuff, even though most of it was taxidermy. I love spending time with Lilly, especially now that she's older (she's so intelligent and has a very unique mind). Lilly seemed to enjoy herself too. She loves all animals, although I'm sure she would have preferred ones that were alive.

A Date with Rona

Well the one unexpected souvenir I took back from our trip to NYC was a bout with coronavirus. I had gone the whole two years or so without getting it, but I started feeling symptoms that put me on the shelf for about a week. It wasn't too bad (I've been vaccinated), but nobody likes to deal with aches, fever, and congestion.

K.C. got it too, and it seemed to hit her a little harder than me, but interestingly Lilly seemed to dodge it. She had it during the last school year so perhaps she had some fresher antibodies. Who knows... either way, the virus' visit to our house, and its lingering effects, kind of limited most activities through mid to late July. 

Tenkara Angler Stuff

While I haven't really fished much (other than in the neighborhood), we have been busy over at Tenkara Angler. We re-launched our "Level Line Podcast" at the end of June and spent some time talking to Bill, Amanda, & Nate about a recent tenkara event they participated in up in New Hampshire. It was a fun conversation and we're looking forward to doing more of these.

We also published a few articles, the most popular being the "Big Fish Tenkara Rod Guide" which lists many of the tenkara & fixed line rods available to chase fish way bigger than the ones I catch. We also posted a video from 2016 that Jason Sparks dug up of a Tom Sadler tenkara demonstration. That one was fun to watch, it was like going in a time machine! I sure miss those days.


Remember how I mentioned Lilly's love for theater? Well, she got to spend time at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) at the end of July pursuing her passion. It was her first (I guess) unofficial college visit, and one she earned herself by winning a scholarship to attend the week-long seminar. She had two workshops, one in fashion design and the other in production design (costumes & sets).

It was weird dropping her off and helping her set up her dorm room for the week. I'm not sure I'm ready to do that for real in two years. I'm happy to report the little bohemian inside her thrived in the classes, I never heard her quite so talkative, exited, and expressive giving us the debrief after we went to pick her up.

The Nephews

I have two rad little nephews, and they and their equally rad parents (K.C.'s brother and his wife) came to visit us this past week for a few days. The boys can be a handful, but it's fun to have little kids running around the house again... cartoons on TV... and toys scattered all over the place. Especially when those kids are not yours.

Labor Day Weekend Smokies?

Which kind of brings me to present day. Lilly actually goes back to school this week, Junior year of high school! So in effect, our summer is over. (Although somebody needs to tell Mother Nature that, it's been 98 degrees here every day for like ever).

I am going to try to sneak up to the mountains one more time before the NFL season starts and my weekends get consumed by work. I'll most likely make the run up to Cherokee that I've done each of the past two years (2020, 2021)... but who knows, maybe North Georgia will be more manageable. I definitely will need to get away somewhere, a trout streams have been running through my head since I left Wisconsin.

August 31, 2020

August Update - Finally With Fishing Too!!!

I posted some of this over the weekend on Facebook. So if we're friends there, you've already seen it. I won't be offended if you leave now. That being said...

I didn't do a follow up post from our mini family getaway to north Georgia the other week. By 2020 standards, it was amazing. For the most part we just continued to social distance, simply in a new location. The biggest change, besides the potential for an evening bear visit to our trash can, was much cooler temperatures. 80s during the day, 50s at night. Glorious. As was the view off the back porch.

We weren't in a cabin, but we were definitely staying a bit off the beaten path. And by that I mean we were an hour's drive from the closest Target. (Sorry Dollar General, you're no substitution in K.C.'s eyes). I got to sneak out for two days and fly fish for rainbow trout in the mountains. Heavenly. 

While I did that, the ladies chilled at the house and avoided creepy crawlies. They were none too fond of the spiders found in the various nooks and crannies of the house. Can't say I blame them, but no spider would stop K.C. from binging Netflix: Indian Matchmaking. (BTW - is it "bingeing" or "binging," I've seen both used...)

A week or so removed from that and now safely(?) back in Florida, Lilly doesn't seem to be all that thrilled to be returning to school (albeit virtually) on Monday. It's her first week of high school as an incoming 9th grader, so she and K.C. have been spending a lot of time setting up our dining room to be her classroom/dedicated workstation. Work in progress...

We were told that my office would also be working remotely through the end of the year, so I picked up one of those headsets for conference calls. I guess so I can still be heard when I speak quietly, but really so I don't have to subject my family to constantly overhearing them anymore. And with the NFL football season here I'm going to have A LOT more of them. Can't interrupt Lilly's learning with me growling at vendors for not delivering the Patrick Mahomes jerseys on time. Priorities. 

If you didn't notice, I've also taken to wearing headbands. At first it was a joke because my friends at work were making fun of my long(er) hair, especially on the days I don't feel like combing it... which is pretty much everyday. I wore a headband on Friday to get a rise out of them on one of those aforementioned conference calls, but (like everything else in 2020) it was canceled. In addition to making my head resemble a mushroom. I think the forehead compression helps my brain retain whatever intelligence it has left after the last 8 months of the year.

Anyway, hope everyone is doing well out there, wearing masks, washing hands, and all that good stuff. If you have kids, I hope the new school year or day care situation isn't too scary for you. And if you're a teacher going into the scholastic petri dish each day - I cannot respect and thank you enough for what you're doing. I honestly can't imagine, especially (but not limited to) folks considered "high risk." ❤️

I'm confident we'll figure this thing out eventually. Positive thoughts go a long way!

June 22, 2019

Birthday in the Valley

Earlier this month K.C., Lilly, & I spent a long weekend back "home" in the Philadelphia area. The timing was right, the airfare was cheap, and it just kind of came together in a spur-of-the-moment fashion.

It also happened to be my birthday over that weekend, so given the opportunity there was no way I wasn't going to pay a visit to good old Valley Creek.

But first, some history.

In all the years I lived in southeastern Pennsylvania, and with the frequency that I fished Valley Creek, I never really stopped to do the historical stuff one finds in this gem of a National Historical Park.

You know, Valley Forge, the place where Washington and the Continental army wintered over 1777 and early 1778 while the British held Philadelphia? There's a ton of cool stuff to see, so on Saturday, the day before my birthday, the family & I decided to finally take in some of the sights...

George Washington slept here. For real.
The famous Broadway rapper Alexander Hamilton did too!

All of which was incredibly fun and enriching to experience. The history in the area runs very deep, and every nook and cranny of the park oozes red, white, and blue. I'm actually ashamed that I've walked past Washington's headquarters at least a half dozen times in the past, but this is the first time I had ever ventured inside.

Now while all of that is extremely timely and relevant, let's not forget the reason why we're actually here... the next morning of fishing!

And if you've been to this blog anytime between 2009 & 2014, you've definitely seen photos of this covered bridge before...

On Sunday morning the water was a little high, the fish not totally cooperative, and even though I got a little head start, by 9:00 am, fellow anglers seemed to be dropping in every 50-100 yards. Each bend in the stream I navigated yielded another waving fly rod and waders. So not ideal conditions, but still cold water, wild trout, and the feeling of being back where I belong.

Despite my whining, the fishing was good enough that I got into a few using my tenkara rod and white hackle kebari. The ability of tenkara to provide delicate landings while keeping one's line completely off the water can be particularly effective at Valley since the resident brown trout can be spooky and will definitely notice a "line heavy" presentation.

This particular fish had been through some battles in its life, (or at least was possibly caught before), as it was missing that little flap of skin right along its upper jaw on the one side. I've always thought fish like this kind of look like an old man without his dentures...

Either way, let 'em go for another day...

I didn't take many photos, as I probably didn't spend as much time fishing as I would have preferred due to the wader traffic. So you'll just have to take my word that the weather was beautiful, the fish were pretty as ever, and it's amazing how much a stream's features can change over a few short years.

On the hike back out to the car an observant gentleman (who probably noticed the collapsed rod in my hand) did stop me and ask, "fishing tenkara?"

After I replied in the affirmative, he then went on to say he was part of the leadership team with Valley Forge Trout Unlimited (possibly an officer or member of the board, I don't exactly recall) and he wished me luck on the stream. He was not fishing, just hiking a trail with a companion I assume was his wife, seemingly reveling in being near the stream and those that enjoy it.

Before passing, I thanked him for all he and his group do to keep this public (and historically abused) resource an oasis in otherwise what is a very urban and overdeveloped area of Pennsylvania.

And that sentiment was not just polite small talk. I always loved the escape from the hustle and bustle Valley Creek provided, even if you may run into too many other anglers, or unaware dog walkers prompting Fido to take a splash in the fishy looking pool just upstream, or these days, people posing for creek-side selfies in a quest to become Insta-famous.

Despite all of those minor inconveniences, Valley Creek remains special. The riparian buffer provides refuge and the cool of shade on a warm late spring afternoon, the water remains cold and surprisingly clear, the brown trout are abundant, naturally reproducing and wild, and all the hard work Valley Forge Trout Unlimited does keeps it that way.

So on that particular day, little did that gentleman know that he and his VFTU friends were more than partly responsible for the best birthday present this trout angler could ask for. And for that, I'd again like to pass along a heartfelt "thank you."

March 27, 2019

Spring Break 2019!

The blog's been a little quiet this month because the family was on Spring Break for a week, about a week or so ago. The Florida branch of the "Griswolds" family tree packed up and headed west for Wally World... almost literally... and fortunately, it wasn't closed this time.

In reality, K.C., Lilly, & I flew to Southern California for a week. We started in Los Angeles and visited the Getty Museum, braved traffic down to San Diego for a few days where we ocean kayaked and checked out sea lions in La Jolla before visiting the Zoo and getting fish tacos in the city proper. After that we hiked it back up to Anaheim for two days of Disneyland and a day of California Adventure. It was one of those trips that was highly scheduled, thus exhausting, but a crazy amount of fun.

Here's a fairly massive photo dump of some of the highlights... I won't mind if you don't get all the way through...