Slice Of Life

Slice Of Life, is a Weblog (BLOG) that I write, in which I try to tell some sort of story about something, or someone in my life. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes not, sometimes informative, sometimes...... HA, gotcha, did ya think that I was going to say not? Don't know me very well, do ya? :=) I will try to update the BLOG from time to time, whenever I can.

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Location: Chandler, Arizona, United States

My personality is outgoing, I use to be a wallflower, until I realized that it was all the outgoing people that were having the most fun. It was a tough conversion, but nobody I know today would even remotely consider me to be a wallflower. Basically, when I was young, my parents taught me that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. I haven't quite found the "anything" part to be always true, but it has inspired me to always try to do, and be, my best.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hi-Ho, The Merry-O, A Camping We Will Go

Boy, I love having 3 day weekends. I had last Friday off, and coincidentally, my best friend Bob called me up last week, and invited me to go along on a camping and fishing trip. I was looking forward to it, since I haven’t been camping in ages, and we were planning on going to a place that neither of us had been.

The area is called “Big Lake”. It’s a state park, up in the White Mountains in North Eastern Arizona. If you know Arizona Geography, it’s about 20 miles from Sunrise Ski Resort, at an elevation of 9000 ft. It’s beautiful up there, since it's back in the forest, and we were going to be hanging out with the pine trees. It’s really nothing like the Phoenix area.

Technically, I’m not sure that some people would refer to it as “camping”, since he has this mobile home trailer that we towed up there. It has all the amenities, like a refrigerator, stove, bathroom, shower, and real beds. Hey, don’t laugh, I haven’t pitched a tent, and slept on the ground in decades, and while I have no problem doing that….. why should I? The last time I did that stuff was when I was a member of troop 680 of the new York Chapter of The Boy Scouts. Trust me, I’m way past that.

It took us awhile to get up there. It’s about 5 ½ hours drive. I probably could have made it in less time in the Jag, but driving a GMC 4x4, and towing a trailer up the mountainside, you can’t exactly travel at the speed of light. The trip was worth it though. The lake is way up there, and way back in the forest. I felt like I was Robin Hood, hanging out in Sherwood Forest or something like that. Plus, the campsites are spread out, and not on top of each other, like some of those KOA campsites, so there is relative campsite privacy. You can sort of see other people's campsite through the trees, but you can’t hear their conversations, unless they are yelling.

The main activity for the weekend, was Trout Fishing. On Friday and Saturday, we tried our luck from the shore of the lake. We didn’t have too much success, unless you can call catching a couple of crawdads a success. In my opinion, catching mini-lobsters doesn’t count, when you’re going for trout. The lady at the General Store / Boat Rental Facility said that the lake was too warm to fish from the bank, and so the better idea was to rent a boat, and go out into the lake. Sure….. what a coincidence, their recommendation was to give them money for a boat…. What a scam, right? I thought so too, until Jerry, another friend of ours who was up there, reported that he and his father caught 9 fish on Saturday, using a boat.

Shoot. We had zero luck on Friday and Saturday. We even went over to another camp ground to do some stream type fishing, and we only caught 1 small fish, that wasn’t even worth keeping. Here it was Saturday late afternoon, and we had no fish to show for 2 days effort. So, we decided to get up early on Sunday, and go get a boat for the morning, before we had to leave to come home at around noon. What would you guess was the result? Did you say…. strike out? WRONG!!

We got out there at 6am, right when the boat rental place opened, and we cruised out onto the lake into the same general area that Jerry told us about. We weren’t there too long before Bob caught the first one. A beauty, about 12-14 inches long, using Trout “Power Bait”. About 15 min later, I caught my first one, which was about the same size as Bob’s. In the next hour or so, Bob caught 2 more, and I had nary a nibble. I would have been ok with just catching at least 1 fish, but fortunately, fate had a different plan. About 15 minutes later, I caught the smallest one of the day, a fish ~ 8 inches. Score, Bob = 3, Tom 2…. Ummmmm really 1.5 cause the second was so small :-)

We had a bit of drought for awhile after that, so I decided to change from the power bait to worms. Sometimes changing the bait works, or maybe it was just the location of the cast. I cast out the line a couple of times, and nothing. I was slowly reeling it in for a third cast, when I got a strike. Another 12-14 incher. Bob reeled in his power bait and switched it to worms, and we each caught 1 more of about the same size 12-14 inces. Man these fish were huge, larger then any trout I had previously seen, and good fighters too. By the time we hauled in the last fish, it was pretty close to the time we needed to go back and break camp, so since we each had a pretty good catch of 4 each (ok, mine was 3.5 fish), and we still had to clean the fish, we called it a day. The one good thing, was near the general store, they had a fish cleaning station, which made that messy task much easier, so we were done in a jiffy, with plenty of time to get back and break camp by the noon deadline.

All in all, I have to say that I had a great time. I got out of town for 3 days, went up north to the mountains, and communed with nature in an area that is very different from phoenix, camped out around the fire, and even caught a few fish. I don’t want to sound like a beer commercial or anything, but it truly….. Just doesn’t get any better than that. Thanks for the invite Bob :-)

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