Where we live in the Black Hills of western South Dakota, there are trout streams only minutes away.
What better way to spend Father's Day than to spend it fly fishing with your son?
Nathan's fly casting skills have definitely improved. Instead of snapping it like a whip, he is developing more finesse and a lighter touch.
I tried to get a video clip of him fly casting but he was too quick (or I was too slow?)
I tried both dry flies and wet. It's always more fun to catch a trout on a dry fly but unless there's a hatch, wet flies are often more reliable.
Well as you can see, the first catch of the day wasn't much more than a minnow. Still,it was a fish.
As I released him, I told him to make sure to tell his big brother I was up here waiting for him.
We had a few hits but nothing was hooked. Finally, I caught a rainbow.
Most of the fish where we were fishing in the Grace Coolidge Walk-In area of Custer State Park are hatchery raised trout. However, if you know where to go, you can catch wild trout in the Black Hills also.
Next it was Nathan's turn.
I watched and took photos as he played and landed a fish.
It was a brown trout.
Although we love to eat fresh caught trout, we enjoy catching fish more than we like cleaning them, so most of the time we fish catch and release.
We are very fortunate to live where we do. Many people come here for vacation; we have the privilege of enjoying the mountains, streams and wildlife of the Black Hills only minutes from our cabin.
If you come visit, don't forget to bring your trail/hiking shoes, and make sure to bring your fly rod too!
When I'm asked by a road runner after a race: "So what was your time?" my response is always: "My time? Oh I had a GREAT time!!!!" They usually look at me incredulously, not sure of how to respond.
The post below is so hilarious and true I just had to put a link to it here. It is about road running from the point of view of a trail runner. Barry is a friend of Haliku's whom I've not yet met in person but whom I feel as if I already know. I felt exactly the same at all of the few road events I've ran.
We trail and ultra runners are a small close-knit family. Enduring great pain and overcoming impossible obstacles brings people together. We run WITH others, NOT AGAINST them. Elitism, arrogance and bravado are frowned upon. Show us what you can do, don't tell us. Actions mean more than words. That includes not only how fast you run but also your attitude and how you treat others. Ultramarathoning is as much a philosophy as it is a distance.
That is why some of those more well-known "ultramarathoners" who write books and always seem to be on TV are viewed suspiciously by many in the ultrarunning community. All of the elite ultramarathoners I know are among the most humble, supportive and generous people I've ever met. These are the true heroes of the sport, not those with book deals running high profile events scrambling for media attention.
There are so few of us trail/ultra runners that after a while, we all begin to know each other. If we don't, then odds are we have a mutual friend in common. When one of us does something great, we share their joy; when one of us is lost, we mourn.
Many of us run for similar reasons. For us it's all about the journey and what we learn from the experience. Having a great story to tell is an added bonus. Trail running and ultrarunning IS NOT and HAS NEVER been about the goody bag, being trendy, how you look or trying to show off to others.
As trail running becomes more popular and commercialized- I worry- will it lose it's soul and become trendy like road racing? That's doubtful, its simply too challenging for the faint of heart and those following the crowd. Going mainstream is even more unlikely to happen with ultramarathoning.
As the saying goes: "Any fool can run a marathon, but it takes a special kind of fool to run an ultra."
What is most ironic is that for many of us, trail/ultra running not even all that much about the "running." Don't get me wrong: we wouldn't do it if we didn't love it. However, for us running is a tool to reach that which we seek- not an end unto itself.
Whether in first or last place, every ultra finisher is a winner.
Check out Barry's blog, I'm still chuckling about it:
This coming weekend Haliku and I will be running the 77 mile Laurel Highlands Trail Ultra. In preparation, I've been going through my gear, charging the batteries for my headlamp and GPS watch, put together my pace chart and so on.
I also downloaded photos off the memory card from the recent trip my family and I took to Alaska. I had over 650 photos to download! That's not counting the photos Jeanne took on her camera! It will take some time before I get a chance to go through all of them and post them here.
When we were in Girdwood, AK my son Nathan (age 9) and I went for a short (5.5 mile) trail run/hike. Although he doesn't yet have the endurance to keep up with me on longer runs/hikes, he has fast light sure-footed feet. When I make our jogs into a game such as follow-the-leader over around and under stuff, he does extremely well.
Later that trip we stayed on an island in a cove off of Resurrection Bay south of Seward, AK. We stayed in yurts, went sea-kayaking and explored the tide pools. The variety and amount of sea life that can be found at low tide is amazing. (once I get the time, I'll post a full account of our adventures).
While scrambling on the rocks, Nathan slipped and tore one of his toenails. It turned black. A few days later it fell off.
Ultramarathoners lose toenails frequently. One thing that surprises non-runners is that losing a toenail isn't really all that painful. Still, I much prefer keeping my toenails in place where they belong instead of randomly finding them loose in my sock. Since I started wearing a full size larger of trail shoes and began keeping my toenails clipped and filed short, I haven't lost any nails recently.
I've heard stories of ultramarathoners annoyed with losing toenails, finally getting them permanently removed. That has never made sense to me. Why don't they just buy a larger size shoe?
When his toenail fell off Nathan smiled and proudly displayed it to me so I could photo-document. He said it actually didn't hurt that much. Hmmm… if losing a toenail doesn't seem like that big a deal to him, I wonder:
Might we possibly have a future ultramarathoner on our hands?
There have been 10-11 year olds who have run ultras. However, as a parent who is also a medical professional, the potential negative effects of extremely long distance on bones and joints not yet fully developed concerns me greatly. Ultras also require a certain mental drive and self-disclipine, lacking even in many 20-30 year olds.
It would be nice to someday have a buddy to jog trails and pace me once in a while. However, whether Nathan wants to run trails or ultras, or for that matter even run, will be completely up to him. I hate it when parents push their children into sports and other activites they are not interested in or ready for. What could have potentially turned out to be a life-long passion, instead becomes something the kid absolutely detests. That's unfortunate. It might not have happened had the parents been more supportive and a little-less pushy.
It won't be long before Nathan will be able to outrun me (but of course, I'm so dang slow, that doesn't say much!). For now we'll do short jogs as a game of tag and follow-the-leader or include it as a distraction during a longer hike. The main objective right now is to keep running fun, enjoyable and not too arduous.
Will Nathan eventually become a runner like his dad? That will be entirely up to him. He has his entire lifetime to decide.