thee streamside companion & angler's frequent respite

treatise, pomes, fine etchings & lyrics re. and not re. flyfishing (with an angle)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

one cigarette away from bein' done....

Answer these questions truthfully
Parking lot, Gardiner, Montana. note: best western, it seems, has wireless in all it’s hotels. so there i sit, poaching best western’s wifi and conducting the beaurocratic whatevers that need attention. (“You have ten minutes, ask me anything”). i send out a coupla resumes and fill out my online unemployment verification: Were you able and willing to work? Sorta. Answer: Yes. Did you accept money in lieu of vacation days? Not money. Answer: No. Did you fail to go to any scheduled job interview. Certainly not. Answer: No. Did you serve on a jury? Reckoning that heckling fishing buddies does not constitute “jury” in the civil/legal sense, so. Answer: No. Did you serve in the military? Army of trout. Heh. Brave lads. Bearing the misery of Boston baked beans every night, beer, elevation headaches, blistery agony, shotgun casts, swarms of flies and propane cylinders tossed into the fire ring. Answer: No. Did you work in self employment? I keep telling myself this ain’t work, son. But if I worked this hard sitting in a cube, i’d be assistant crew chief in no time. Answer: No. Did you turn down any offer of employment this week. Fuck.... don’t get me started. Answer: No. Claim accepted.

what the hell ya fishing.
whatcha call it?
well, i call it an F-150. ya gotta swim the fucker.
clear line. clear intermediate line. helps. helps a lot.
well i’ll be... ya say it really works huh...
i tie on this fly more than i tie on a caddis.
now i think your tellin’ me a tall tale...
well sir, you can believe what you’d like. this is america, god bless it.

collosal brown
Shower. Mammoth Hotel, Northwest entrance Yellowstone Nat’l Park. It’s just stopped snowing. Now that I know where the showers are in this joint, I’ll never have to pay again, though I’m sure they have dirtbag fishermen well nigh marked.

Henry James was bored by Crime and Punishment
Yeats never finished Ulysses
I ain't read either

Wild Turkey
Bar, Gardiner Montana. I haven’t been to a bar in montana were somebody doesn’t yell at the top of his/her lungs, “GO FUCK YOURSELF. GO FU-UK YOURSELF!” It’s weird. It’s not happened in this bar, yet, but I’ve only been here for 15 minutes -- turkey sandwich, two rolling rocks.

Levi Strauss: the invention of melody is the supreme mystery of man

smog, wanda jackson, lee perry, david allen coe, op ivy and nofx, linton kwesi johnson, sleepy john estes bonnie billy and the supersuckers.

A tale of woe, for thee angler to ponder
three broken/lost rods in two days. and a reel - a fucking bauer -- i shit for an hour. with joan wulff triangle taper line. imho, the finest line made. it fell off my truck -- forgot to bungee the fucker, and the asshole creepy guy from florida camped near me picked it up. of this i am sure. i have cursed the rod (a sage 6 wt xp. fuck me!) from now until forever. god damn the fucker who has it, may he never catch fish. i chanted it three times and spit whisky into the fire. fuck you jerry, and fuck florida, too. elevator mechanic, he said.

the burkheimer (yes, jesus christ, etc. even had my name writ there on the side!) broke after releasing a fish where the lamar just enters the canyon there south east of the slough campground. nice big cut. i looked at him for a while and let him go. the next cast, the rod is flopping. a broke dick dog -- or god. this is, i forgot to add, my first day in yellowstone.

i call red in seattle -- send me the burkehemier (what can I say, they’re sweet rods. don’t hate.). the big one. it’s in the tube with the american flag and johnny cash sticker. she broke the fucking thing taking it apart, or got it stuck in the door, or it slipped and smashed into a million pieces.

three rods. two days. oh, and my waders sprung a leak.

kathi asked me on the phone if i was smoking. profusely, i says.

Spotted dick
two mini vans was looking at the birdies. old fella wearing wellingtons (yes, just like on tv) and a tweedy headcoat asked if i had any trout in my cooler. i laughed and offered him a beer after i caught him eyeballing the long necked micro on my bumper.
oh.. heh.. ‘fraid not then. sorry, oh but i’d love to. perhaps some other time then?
some old broad lassoed him and got him the fuck outta there.
i hung around to chat -- after uttering 10 words in 2 days, you’ll talk to anyone -- telling these looney, dopey old brits about a beaver damn 1/4 mile down the path.
is it safe, then, this lovely little welsh mum asked me. i looked at her all serious.
all you have to do ma’am, is outrun one of these old fuckers... i reckon you’ll be fine.
despite this, they still tromped down there. i landed a big cutt on one of my first casts, looking back up toward the trail, to see if they were in eyeshot.
they were not.

Clinton, MT
now them sons of bitches can really yell GO FUCK YOURSELF.

I send an IM to Red, again from the Best Western. It’s raining ice balls and the elk, undeterred, continue humping, bulging, attacking rental cars. Smiley face with little red heart pumping. She’s not there. I send another, and another, and another. Write: see yuo in Livingston. Wed., 1pm!!! Smiley face with devil horns. Love, S.

end music
slough creek -- second meadow. the world’s finest stretch. most beautiful river, best looking cutts, excellent numbers of fish. wildlife. weather. sweat. adventure. after that first 45 minutes -- all uphill -- it’s a stroll, i told an old man with a big red putty nose, puffy, spider-webbed cheeks and wolf eyes.
how long, he asked, how far up?
only two hours, but like i said, the only lung buster is the first 45 minutes.
Poor guy looked pretty crestfallen, but I guess he shoulda been, i mean, to get to the finest stretch in the world, you may have to be willing to rupture an aneurysm and have squirts of blood sploot into your brain; to break a hip and lay for hours overnight in agony, slipping in and out of shock and in the stiffening cold before help can find you; to have yr aorta break off from your heart, gushing blood all about your insides like a garden hose turned on high in a midsummer lawn dance; to have a griz(hey, i only gotta outrun the old guy! hahahahahah!) rip the back of yr skull off causing -- because you wandered between her and her two 312 lb cubs, who, by the way, are perfectly capable of defending themselves -- you to fall down a small slope where the millions of capillaries in yr skull fertilize the dirt with warm blood that seeps soft and comfortably into your ears. the ravens appear within minutes and begin.
Fuck it. Ya know what? I’m STILL going.

Emil Cioran: Nothing flatters us so much as an obsession with death; the obsession, not death.

Songs for bait
I have finished a beer and am walking back on the Gibby behind Norris Geyser Basin. I cut straight across the meadow, ignoring the scared bows that run from under the banks. There are a coupla buffs. An elk rib rack sticks up like a bleach white tumbleweed. Keep walking. Keep walking until you begin to smell sulfur in the air and the steam comes into view. then, and only then should the angler unfurl his lines.

There is a dire loneliness way out here. Truck long gone from sight. No bear spray. The bones of dead animals stripped of skin and sucked clean by bigger animals with sharper teeth. Ah, but the wading staff is reasonable stout. She should be able to fend off all manner of wild beasts. A coyote skitters across the horizon, licking his chops. Head down. Keep walking. Skirt the outside of that brush and compose a song sung loudly in a Scottish brogue: Oot ay thee bed bairs, oot ay thee bed bairs, I am a comin thru thee bram-ble!

As it turns out, the fish don’t get much bigger. Shy. Retiring, Skittish. Pussies, unwilling to come out and eat like men. But in reality, any excuse to vacate this lonely bone yard is a good one. And then I justify it all to myself: Fishing sucked. Fish were small. Heard ya coming a mile away. Too sunny. Anything here will do. And the decision is made and the retreat is commenced and upon passing that certain elk skull once again, a molar is extracted -- for luck. Something Will Clark or Paddy Gass mentioned in the Journals? Zebulon Pike? D. Boone? Perfect and white, into my pocket and a get the fuck back to the truck.

smells (alphabetically): armpit, ash, ass, bacon, baked beans, bandaids, bar, bbq, bear grease, beer, blood, bufallo shit, campfire, cedar, chicken, coffee, cold stars, cold water, cowshit, crotch, dirt, dust, elk shit, fish hands, formaldehyde, fresh snow, garlic, gatorade, gasoline, grease, hot water, jagermeister, meat, menthol, mold, mud, orange juice, pillow, pine sap, pit toilet, propane, rain, river, river froth,river mist, river slime, sage, salami, scotch, stale beer, sweat, sweetgrass, tobacco, urinal mints, weed, wet wipes, whisky.

Good walks.
Specimen Creek trail to the Lamar. A straight shot from the road for about 2 miles until you get to the river. Ants along the bank did just fine. Keep walking until the river begins to stink a bit. You wonder: did I fart in my waders a while back and not notice? No. the smell permeates. Soon the river becomes carbonated, the river bed a white cement. Stink steam everywhere. You begin to wonder about the time and just where the fuck the cache creek trail comes in. Fish or cut bait: turn back and hobble all the way back along the rocks or bushwhack across bison trails hoping to run into the return track? Swallow fear, begin to bushwhack. Skulls, bison shit, scant tracks, but no trail... where the fuck... it was just here... gotta be here somewhere... keep walking... is that another hiker or is that a bear.... the real trail is finally met, but by then it is held in contempt. return to truck, spitting and jabbing walking staff.

Slough Creek to Second Meadow.
Enjoy that last smoke at the trailhead, boyo.. Better thought: Don’t even light up. Stretch out instead. Gulp some gatorade. Suck in air. Best traversed by keeping you head down and blasting straight ahead for 45 minutes. look for bear to your north when the first meadow is reached. Enjoy the rolling hills. Keep you eye on the clock, it takes a while to get back down.

Fountain Flats to the woods: the Firehole.
Makes every other riverside hike look minor league. Mud pots, stink holes, hell gates, earth scabs, crust blisters, geysers, fumerals, lesions and planetary abnormality in an unabashed light. A bad case of the bilious ague; humors are all off; tremens delirium, or p’haps a lung deep case of consumption, swirling with unseen spirochettes; the gleets, boy’s got the gleets -- a drip, drip, dosed with mercury and sulfur. Fishing ain’t usually so bad, but the bastards didn't want adults, didn’t want nymphs, wouldn’t take emergers. All shook, A terrible breech. What the fuck is this, a fucking French restaurant. WT: A ten percenter would figure out a way to catch these fish.

The world’s fattest skinny man
two eight-inch poached trout served in a gervertzurminer reduction over mint, watercress and shelled baby peas.
poached? that seems odd to me...
it is the firehole, sir.
i just remembered, i don’t like trout.

Death from above/homily
Trout want meat you stupid fuckers. I try en tell people that every god damn day. But no, they wanna come here and tie on dry files and size 20 emerging-ass, crippled up bullshit and 6 fucking x floro-fucking-carbon tippet. Them fish don’t want food with good taste, dude -- they want food that tastes great. And they want a lot of it. They want big meaty burgers, man, and they'll run right across a pool to get one. You just gotta know what yr doing on the operators side -- ya know what i’m saying? from the pilot’s point of view. But give them some Fuckin meat, captain. that’s what they fucking want.

According to WT:
steaks and sausages
skirt steaks
pot roast
bbq chicken
tortollinie/meat sauce
pork chops in chipolte sauce
hot dogs
chicken and dumplings
bbq beef ribs.
lots of beans. technique: open beans, leaving a small hinge. leave lid in place. set near fire. manipulate heat at will. when beans are done, use lid to strain bean juice. enjoy.

jim Harrison, russ chatham, mario batalli outside the livingston bar and grill. harrison: lemme see what yr readin’ there, son. i hand over richard wheeler’s eclipse. Ahh... richard’s right inside there. I lit a smoke and tried to just kinda hang out with them. Harrison fell asleep in the boat. Fishing decent. Salumi, in seattle, of course i’d been. Love the fennel sausage. Harrison: love the sausage, etc. I went to some bar to loose money at poker while kathi lost at keno, later at the murray bar, batalli holds court... he’s quite well tempered. nice genuine. he’s also hammered and locks himself out of the hotel.
he bangs on the door.... hey, lemme in, please.
only if you cook something polish, we yell back into the glass.

spaten octoberfest: bullshit costco import
rouge dead guy: amazing
red hook esb: dependable
full sail session: a comer
troutslayer: ya need a six, but that’s all
moose drool: boring
fat tire: in a pinch
bayern octoberfest: decent. their best
Neptune ipa: at least they are trying

montana bar
what the fuck is this? college radio? what a load of complete horse shit. i’d like to send in an air strike on these pretentious fuckers.

montana flyshop
what the fuck is this? a gawdam fairy ball? what a load of complete horse shit, i’d like to drop a nuke on those precious orvis boys.

One does not finish a poem, one only abandons it.