Even though the WA trout opener isn’t for another week there are some spots that are already open. I noticed a blue spot on the map when splitting a very unorthodox spot this winter and last weekend figured I should head up there and check out the blue spot, see what surprises it held.
The directions to the lake are pretty simple. You drive until your car gets stuck, then you park on the side of the road and bushwhack ~600′ vert in 1/4 mile. The getting stuck piece is key as the map isn’t to scale and if the snow wasn’t there you’d just pass on by your entry point without ever knowing it.
Proper footwear is key when pushing stuck vehicles.
The bushwhack to Secret Lake is steep, but otherwise not too bad. A couple downed trees across the way but that keeps the redneckery low.
Downed trees = opportunity, letting you go over waterfalls rather than hiking back up a couple hundred vert to go around.
80 in the city? 45 with 30′ viz at the lake.
and 5 hours later, lifted
My body is a temple
Secret Lake had the brightest (and pickiest, usually these high lake trout aren’t finicky) brookies I’ve ever seen! Craaazy burning red orange bellies that photos can’t do justice to.
The dry action was slow, most success came on large bastard child ‘ant’ patterns and Chernobyl ants. The slowly stripped nymph/mid game resulted in more hookups, albeit typically resulted in smaller fish. Big food source/big fish thing going on I guess.
Anyways, statewide opener is next weekend AND it’s free fishing weekend so get off the beaten path and find your own ‘secret’ lake if you’re looking to avoid crowds.
I’ve been living in the same city on the same block in the same house for going on four years, which would make this the second longest I’ve ever lived in the same GPS coordinates in my 37.583 (to the day!) years. Long story short: I need a change. Still not sure if that change is going to come in the form of just swapping roofs or swapping zip codes, figured Bellingham would be the short list in the case of the latter so spent a long weekend up there a few back.
Drink beers at: Kulshan brewing. Your standard ‘IPA, pale, golden, etc.’ type brewery with a nice little outside seating area and rotating food carts of gloriousness. Chuckanut Brewing. Really well done German style beers. I’m not even a pilsner guy and was digging their German pils.
Decided to try someplace different, an unusual suspect a bit off the beaten path, but given Snowpocalypse could go. As an added benefit it would be far, far from the highway 26/35 gong show (because when it comes down to it who the F got into splitboarding to deal with crowds??). Frozen waterfalls in the lowlands foreshadowed frozen Nalgene bottles to come.
As the vid above shows the reality didn’t quite live up to the dream. Even though I toured with my puffy on underneath it still took an Old Gold elk burger and a prolific application of Double Mountain, Avery and Maker’s Mark to return to 98.6 degrees.
This burger inspired me to buy my bow
On the bright side, wading uphill through 50 yards of chest deep snow after a massive skin glue fail brought newfound motivation to do a long procrastinated project
In case you’re looking for something to do over the long weekend I can tell you that the wildflowers are still going off up high – some still yet to bloom.
Sick little stream up high
It’s one helluva year for huckleberries and blueberries so pack your pancake mix.
“But it’s a holiday weekend” you say. “I can’t find any solitude!” Well here’s a simple way to find it – walk a bit, walk a bit more, and when the trail zigs you simply zag. Humans are sheep.
A little class 3 scrambling and a couple broken poles later you may just find yourself where goats tread and sheep don’t.
One of the tastier ideas I’ve seen
It’s kind of odd when you stop and think about it. We spend 5 days a week contributing to or otherwise being part of society and spend the other 2 days trying to wash our hands and clear our minds of the same. Anyways, have a great long weekend everyone.
Hit a local nameless creek a few week’s back, and after my first taste couldn’t wait to get back. The homey Tyler was able to procure a get out of jail card and a plan was hatched for a quick overnite exploration of the creek. As it was just an overniter and the weather was looking absofuckinglutely insane we opted to go fast and light aka ditch the shelter and bring more beer and whiskey.
This creek (which will remain nameless as unlike ‘secret’ surf/snow spots that just get busy when name dropped too much fishing spots tend to not just get the crowds but also draw out the WT that leave their messes behind and generally abuse the resource) is a ways down a dirt road which helps vet out most of the riffraff – though like all trailheads these days you can tell a jackass or two had made it up given there were glass shards on the ground (remember the days when your shit was your shit and you could leave it in your car with no worries? They are long gone). Once at the trailhead the key is to use the trail to get to creek level but then zig when the trail zags. Instead of trail for most the way you’ll switch between wet wading, multiple chest deep crossings, the greasiest rocks ever (seriously stupid slick!) and steep sidehilling, but the holes you’ll find and the fact you won’t see another human once you leave the trail make the juice worth the squeeze.
Anyways, a few hastily shot pics.
A shallower crossing to get to a side with a bit of walkable shoreline
A fun stretch with a ton of trout structure. Downed trees, rocks and riffles oh my!
Campsite for the night, and pretty much the only place around to throw a sleeping bag down. Pretty sure my Q-Core was more comfortable than Tyler’s Z-Rest
View from my sleeping bag
The next pic was one of the most mind blowingly beautiful places I’ve seen in a long while and the photos don’t do it justice. We shlepped in from the right side of the frame, where the river comes around a bend. From river level it just look like the world ends, nature’s infinity pools, three levels of them around a 100 degree bend in the river ultimately draining into the pool Tyler is fishing. For perspective it’s 15-20 feet from Tyler to the water he’s fishing.
…if you want them. To be honest I didn’t really want them, my brain had long ago switched it’s (short) attention span to other activities (or, as Jeff Haley put it “that’s the problem with multiple wives, they all compete for your attention, but you can really only be with one at time“). But, the homey Schralph Macchio was in town fresh off the boat (literally) from Norway (on the trip of a lifetime, you’ll def see a few of his photos this fall….), and as we hadn’t toured together since before his collapsed lung issues to where he thought he’d never tour again there was no fucking way I was going to miss touring with him. Let’s just say there is no residual issues from Alex’s lung issues, he was SLAYING the uphill. I think the guy is on EPO.
Quote of the weekend:
“We’re going to find the NOAA guy that did the forecast and punch him in the dick!”
Anyways, a few pics
Obligatory dirt approach
Respite from the wind
Sleeping platform being cleared out, wind block wall built up
Alex ponders the dick punch
Nice view to wake up to. Not much sleep to be had with the howling wind and forgotten earplugs.
Buswhack out makes the victory pose that much more enjoyable
What could possibly go wrong with that combo, right? Billy’s birthday on Saturday, plans were hatched for a surprise bday party. Chris and I figured nothing quite says you’re over the hill like a broken femur and whittled a small ramp on Saturday AM (note that while small in stature it feels WAAAAY higher than a similar sized ramp would have felt at age 12, and any growth spurts/center of gravity shifts haven’t helped). This is just the first piece/proof of concept of the master plan – a 3′ high, 8′ wide garage halfpipe. Beers were drank, a mini launch was tentatively ridden and a few people may carved their names into the Harlem Shake meme tree.
There’s something about the bones of a ramp that I’ve always loved seeing
Forgot to bring a gang of stickers and a can of Krylon. Plan B was sign letters. Note the lack of drill holes on the coping – we were proud of that
Sometime around midnight this still didn’t seem like a bad idea…
Playing around with the GoPro time lapse during the build. I should have kept switching the angles to make it a bit more visually interesting, guess I’ll have to do that when we start building the full half.