Tag Archives: creeks

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Like Watching Grass Grow

I’m sure to most, standing along a creek and watching it flow is a lot like watching grass grow.

For me, sight, sound and smell become engaged and the end result is intoxicating.

I have no clue what’s going through my head at that point. Hopes, dreams, possibilities and memories all become one long flow of thoughts and mental images.

Not much different than how the water is flowing.

The other day I stood along a creek and took about a dozen shots of the creek as it flowed over rock. I wanted to see if I could capture the flow and glare and play of the water.

I have no clue if I succeeded, but I like the end results.

These shots and this post is for me. They’re only sized to fit here and I did no other post processing to them. I wanted to see how they looked when I took the shots.

I get to take breaks at work and now I can come here, click on this gallery of images and slowly go through the them.

Possibly relive in my head what I enjoy doing more than anything else.

I’ll have to watch so I don’t become mesmerized and slack jawed with a bit of drool forming at the corner of my mouth that has to be noisily sucked back in.

I could only imagine the level of ridicule from my coworkers that I would have to endure.

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Testing the Water

When I walked out the door I had every intention of going out to a couple of creeks to start testing the water.

Got to the first creek to find a couple of cars parked there. Wandered onto the abandoned bridge to survey the water. Unlike the river it was in perfect condition; crystal clear, excellent level, but devoid of life. Not a thing seen in the water.

One of the anglers came back and we struck up a conversation. He saw and caught nothing and then asked my name. Winds up he reads here and he recognized me, not by my stunning good looks, but the cigar.

Not sure that’s a good thing.

The other angler shows up, more conversation with nothing to show for fishing efforts.

Two other anglers pull up and get out of their car. One looks familiar and I ask his name. Winds up it’s someone I used to run into on the creeks all the time, but it’s been a good decade since I saw him last. I mention that to him and say… “I assumed you got married, had kids or were dead.”

“Got the first two right at least.”

More conversation, then time to move on.

At the next creek I hesitated and went walking around before deciding if I wanted to go fishing. Couple of different bug hatches going on, but like the first creek, not a single thing seen in the water. I stood around mesmerizing myself with flowing water and tried to capture the why of it all.

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Back at the car, still debating, the bugs must have liked the warmth of my car. They were in mating position and covered it pretty well.

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Another angler shows up and a conversation starts. We had met at this same spot a couple of years ago. He was heading where I was thinking of going and he had been out there a couple of times so far this year. Barren water. I decide to wait another week or two and try again. A walk in the woods would be time better spent.

At a nearby big forest preserve, a hike through an area I haven’t done in a few years.

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Sometimes I take pictures of the things that trip me.

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The hike took me to still another creek that as far as I know has no name.

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This is a tiny little creek, shallow enough to walk through in most parts without getting your ankles wet. Neck down stretches that you can jump over and every now and then a deeper pool. Deep being relative and barely knee deep.

And yet, in these little pools, signs of life that weren’t in it’s bigger cousins.

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Since my plans had changed I decided to stay out till sunset to see if it was worth capturing. It was looking like the clouds were getting blown out of the area with nothing but blue skies. Not enough to make for an interesting sunset.

So I went home.

An hour or so later I was proven wrong. Enough clouds had stuck around on the south edge of the sun to make the sky interesting, nothing but blue skies on the north edge of the sun.

No time to hop into the car and go someplace with a vista view. Just enough time to walk down the street in this neighborhood full of light manufacturing and railroad tracks and see if I could get something interesting out of it all.

Not what I prefer, but it will do in a pinch.

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Spring Creek Skunk Cabbage

I don’t know why they call this Duck Creek. A duck would have to be a fool to go that far back into the woods.

As for moderate, that’s if you stay on the trail. I don’t know how to stay on trails.

Was going to make this a long post with pictures from last week and today to compare and contrast, but that would take too long and I’m tired.

Last week I stood on a high ridge overlooking a pretty little spring creek. Toyed with the idea of going down to the creek, but the woods were still filled with snow and I didn’t relish sliding down the hill on my ass.

This week I took a different route in.

Same high bluff, different location, all the snow for as far as could be seen was gone.

I thought it would be a good idea to follow a deer path down to the bottom.

Deer always take the path of least resistance.

Half way down the hill there were deer skid marks. I had a flash of wishing I had gone down the hill last week. Snow, mud, I’ll take snow.

Luckily there were strategically placed saplings all the way down the hill. I assume I looked like George of the Jungle swinging my way down. Gravity didn’t win this one and I made it to the bottom still standing.

Was worth the trip.

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When I got to the bottomlands I began to see things poking their way out of the ground. Green things, but they were mostly a beautiful deep burgundy. They were everywhere, skunk cabbage.

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I then remembered where I normally see skunk cabbage. Bottomlands, wetlands, flood plain, call it what you will, but it’s a swamp.

I did my best to tip toe around all the emerging skunk cabbage so I wouldn’t crush any of them. Try tip toeing through a muddy swamp. It doesn’t go well when from your toe to past your ankles you’re stuck in mud.

Walking in the spring creek took care of that.

Got to the mouth of the creek where it enters the river. Turned to head out and there it was, the high bluff I stood on the previous week to survey where I now stood.

I decided to skip following the deer paths and blaze my own trail up the slope.

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Ready To Go

Spent a couple of hours this morning going through all the fishing junk and getting it ready to go.

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Hardest part was finding all of the fly fishing parts. It’s been at least two years since I used any of it and I came up short one fly reel. Was looking forward to putting that one to use since I’ve had it for around 15 years and only used it twice.

It’s in a box somewhere. Or a drawer. Or it’s now a cat toy and in a dark corner of the basement somewhere. It will probably show up the next time I move.

Oiled up the spinning reels and immediately put the heavier one away. Didn’t use it at all last year and unless I destroy the lighter one, I don’t see using it this year. I prefer fishing relatively light using light line and small lures. It’s always worked for me, see no reason to attempt anything else.

I do have quite a few flies.

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Notice the pattern in the next shot? Go crayfish or minnows for smallies or go home.

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Some just stashed in your typical Plano boxes and that took a bit of sorting. I think I came up with the beginning of a lovely selection.

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Yes, I plan on tying on those plastics and using them. Not much of a stickler for tradition or getting any real satisfaction out of catching a fish on something I tied. I’d just as soon buy them.

Like the helgies, from Orvis, they’re killer.

Some of them I think are hand me downs from my friend Bob Long, Jr.

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Others seem to appear out of nowhere. I know guys that tie flies. I admire them. They give me a few.

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For some reason at the end of last year I came up with the idea to use a fly rod this spring. Dumb logic tells me I can do just as well with a fly rod as I do with my spinning gear. Over a decade ago I proved to myself that I can walk into the Fox or Apple River and do as well as I do with light spinning gear and little lures.

I should have never mentioned this idea in public. Now I feel committed.

We’ll see how it goes. The first time I get into one of my usual tight casting situations on a creek I know I’ll give up.

The car is all cleaned out and organized. I put away the wispy wand and two fly rods are in the trunk. Spinning gear in the car. Lures and flies all ready to go. New waders in the trunk waiting to be baptized.

Now I wait.

Did some scouting today. I probably could have got in the river for a couple of hours, but I think I would have been lucky to catch one fish. And that would have been on spinning gear.

I don’t like that time to fish ratio.

One more week if this weather keeps up.

Maybe two.

I’ll know when I go down to the river or to a creek and smell fish.

Then it will be time.

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Walking and Waiting for a Sunset

With air temps hovering around 30 degrees on Sunday, meteorological spring, I decided that was good enough to go walking and waiting for a sunset. Anything colder than that, which we had for almost all of February, has become extremely disagreeable to my bones.

Plus, I needed the exercise.

The hourly forecast said the skies would vary between cloudy and mostly cloudy. I read mostly cloudy as partly sunny, so that little bit of sun through clouds can make for some outstanding sunset colors. Or a well lighted, thick gray mass. You don’t know till the sun sets.

I was surprised to see the amount of cars parked around Silver Springs State Park and on the trails, all the fresh foot prints. Partly sunny barely warm days will bring people out.

One of the plans was to gather up some watercress to take home. I seem to be on a salad binge lately, but this time of year requires a lot of store bought ingredients, which are fine, but I can taste the difference between store bought and home grown.

The spring looked to be in pretty good shape.

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The watercress looked good, not quite fully grown out as it does during warmer weather, but a quick taste test proved the leaves were a little more bitter than how they taste the rest of the year. Springs around the corner, I can wait a couple more weeks or so.

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This spring is also a magnet for wildlife, but I didn’t expect to see much because of the amount of people wandering around. I toyed with the idea of hunkering down here and waiting out the sunset and the arrival of the critters.

Maybe next time.

All in one spot, the tracks of deer, coons, squirrels, birds, rodents and coyotes.

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I’m not much of a birder, I’d rather just watch them then go through the trouble of categorizing and identifying them, but if the opportunity to get off a shot presents itself, I’ll take it.

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I tried to find some details worth shooting…

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But I didn’t seem to be getting all that inspired.

So I looked for some nature made sculpture…

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Not much of that around to inspire me either, so I simply went wandering through the woods.

The sky was shaping up to be a perfect sunset sky. As long as it didn’t revert to cloudy and stayed partly sunny, there was hope.

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I hiked some more, waiting out the sunset only the clouds didn’t cooperate.

The meteorologists were wrong again.

Instead of waffling between cloudy and partly sunny, a north wind kicked up and blew all the clouds away.

Nothing but blue skies.

The extra sunlight was causing a slight fog to come off the snow cover.

I already knew how this was going to turn out. The sunset would still be beautiful as all are, but without the clouds, this one would be a bright orange glow along the horizon that blended into the bright blue of the sky.

I decided to watch this one in my rear view mirror as I drove home.