August 7, 2012 Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

Today I did not go riding and sat and read as I wanted to acclimate to the higher elevations. So I sat and observed. So far I haven’t regaled you with any of the stories of the guests here. Last year when we visited they only had a few guests. The wonderful couple from Chicago, a man who published a magazine for private plane users, and one of Bruce White’s management team from White Lodging. Bruce and his lovely wife Beth are the owners. This year we were visiting in summer as opposed to after Labor Day so there were many more kids.

Kids are nice to be around, especially when they are yours. When they aren’t yours, and you are tall and not used to them under your feet, is is a mild discomfort. More than mild, when you end up tripping over them.

Now not only do you read my blog for the wonderful pictures of food, and Steve’s fish, but my loyal readers know that once in a while it is CRAZY GUEST OBSERVATIONS! Well you hit the jackpot today!

I can just see some of you rubbing your hands in delight. Well, I would if I were you!

One group was a man of 70, a woman of 40, another man of 40 and two pre teen age boys. Hmm, Grandpa invited the family for a dude ranch vacation! But then the 40 year old woman, a blonde of course, kept sitting on the old man’s lap and kissing him! Yes, I determined, she was the second wife (at least)! So of course I arranged to sit with them at lunch while Steve was out fishing all day.

Blonde bombshell was from Poland. She was not the wife of the 40 year old, but the wife of the 70 year old. The two pre teens were their children, and the 40 year old man was the son from the first marriage. She was at least the second wife. They flew in to Saratoga Wyoming on their private plane. They would be staying for the week.

The old man walked with a bit of a lurch and was bent over. He had broken his back twice, once while horse back riding at their second home in Costa Rica (they currently live in Tampa). He broke his back the second time when a fork lift turned over on him.

I figured he must have been some kind of big real estate developer. It’s impertinent to ask specific questions about someone’s employment, so there is always a lot of conjecture on my part on what people really do for a living. The bride, as I mentioned, was quite attractive, blonde, shapely and came from Poland. All I could think of was mail order bride!

The next group of guests was a group of six guys from Houston, Texas. They were all in their late 40’s and for the last 15 years they have been riding their motorcycles together the first week in August. Their wives stay home. They fly to the city near to where they want to start their motorcycle adventure from. A driver is hired to truck their motorcycles to the rendezvous point and they ride from there. When the trip is over, they all fly back home and the bikes are sent home via the driver. The guys have all been friends since high school and had inherited family businesses. I am thinking oil drilling here, or oil drilling supplies. Of course, I could be wrong and they might have been convenience store owners, but I don’t think so.

My new biker friends had just come back from the big bike rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. The population of Sturgis, is around 6500 people The guys went to Sturgis before the rally started as it gets really wild there. Over 500,000 riders attend during the ten days the rally is held! At the 75th anniversary in 2016 they broke attendance records with over a million attendees!

When we had gotten gas in Saratoga our first day, we met a man with a Sturgis T-shirt on. Steve asked him about it. The man told Steve ” It’s a great place to get yourself killed by a stupid person!” Finest piece of advice I think I have ever heard!

I didn’t get a chance to talk more with my new biker friends as they were only staying one night. But they spent most of that night taking advantage of the open bar so I don’t know how they could see straight to go on a cattle drive the following morning, but they did , and found that great fun. The cattle drive is an add on option.

While I was observing , Steve fished. He caught eleven fish including one cutbow that was eighteen inches. The cutbow is a hybrid of a rainbow and cutthroat trout.

You will just have to wait until tomorrow for my tale about Micheal the guest doing yoga on the back of a horse!

Do you Net Jet?

Who is your oldest friend?

Do you actually have any friends?

Did you get that black eye in Sturgis?

August 6, 2012 Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

Today was a sick day. A real sick day. I woke up feeling nauseous and had a monster headache. I really wanted Steve to stay and baby sit me all morning, but that was not on his agenda. So instead I curled up in bed and slept.

And slept until the cleaning lady swat team arrived to do the cabin. I told them not to make the bed as I was under the weather. They left and I went to sleep. Two hours later they returned with a container of chicken soup and toast for me! Now that is a hallmark of a caring staff!

I had a little soup and the toast and relaxed the rest of the day. It seems that I had come down with a case of altitude sickness. A lesson learned. No drinking at higher altitudes and limit my activities. In later years I would take Acetazolamide or Diamox.

Steve had a great day and caught seven brown trout.

August 5, 2012 Bush Creek Ranch Return, Saratoga Wyoming

Well we had so much fun in 2011, we decided to return again for our Anniversary. We were celebrating 33 years of blissful marriage. Okay, not totally blissful, like all marriages we did have a few spats, most of course were all Steve’s fault.

My trip report from 2011 was a bit sketchy although I did have pictures for you of Brush Creek, I was a little bit incomplete on some of my memories. I finally found my write up on the computer of our trip to Brush Creek. I will now add you some details to you so you can see how it really was an Excellent Adventure!

Steve had been going to fishing trips on his own or with Elliott our son, for some time. He enjoyed the beautiful surroundings, the great food, the fishing and the conversations at dinner with a diverse group of people. He thought I would have. Good time at some of the lodges. I reminded him that my idea of a vacation was not one spent on slumps beds along being insects.My idea of a vacation was spending time somewhere that is as nice or nicer than where we live.

“Fine.”, Steve said, “Find a place as nice as home with great fishing and we’ll go”. Now, a male “fine” is different than a female’s “Fine”. When a guy says something is “Fine’, it means “go right ahead”. When a gal says “Fine’, you are in trouble as she really doesn’t like that decision, but she’ll go along but be grump about it.

One year coming back from a business conference Steve had attended at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs I saw an article about a new ranch open to the public in Saratoga Wyoming. It was going to be a high-end resort. There would be riding, fishing, and all sorts of other activities. Upon arriving back home I checked out the web site for Brush Creek Ranch. The accommodations looked quite luxurious, and I couldn’t wait to vacation there. BrushCreekRanch.com

I thought the price tab was exceedingly high, far more than we had ever spent on a vacation before. However, Steve by then had been spending a bit more on his fishing vacations and didn’t think the price was too out of line, as the costs included all activities, meals and drinks.

We flew into Denver again, spending a night near Fort Collins to help me get adjusted to the altitude as we are used to living at sea level. Would it work? Stay tuned for more.

We left Fort Collins and drove up I-25 to Cheyenne, then to Laramie and finally through the Medicine Bow National Forest. Look what we found munching in the swamp! Yes, that’s an actual moose. This is almost a “Where’s Waldo” picture. Slap the table if you see the moose….”I didn’t hear you!”

Then it was into Saratoga ,Wyoming, to get gas before we began our stay at the Ranch.

We saw three immature elk. These guys were about two years old. I think they were a bit confused as they were hanging out by the police station.

At the ranch we were given a much larger vehicle to drive than last year. There was no windshield this time, I think they broke a lot of windshields the previous year due to all the stones in the road. As it was our anniversary we were upgraded to Brookie in the Anglers Camp section near the Creekside Dining Camp and the Brush Creek. It was quite the upgrade from the previous year. We had a kitchen and lovely dining room table and living room. Not that we were going to prepare any meals, but nice to have.

This was the bed. Nice and big. Plenty of room so we didn’t kick each other at night.

Staying here was lovely. The upgrade was wonderful, it was a room we wouldn’t ordinarily pick as it was at least double the cost of the room the previous year.

While I unpacked, Steve walked down to the dinner camp at Creekside to fish. He caught four brown trout on our anniversary. Steve doesn’t usually fish on our anniversary, but he was allowed to this year. I am a benign Queen, after all.

Dinner was once again a private occasion at Falcon Peak. I didn’t have to surprise Steve, he requested that I arrange a private dinner as he had enjoyed himself so much last year when we dined by ourselves. Here we are, I have my new Joseph Ribkoff Cleavage enhancing dress on. Steve has his sunglasses on, I can’t quite tell where his eyeballs are. Steve is checking out the view here. I guess he got tired of looking at me! Happy Anniversary Steve! I never tire of looking at you! I hope you catch many fish on this vacation!

Happy Anniversary Linda! I hope you meet many interesting characters on this Adventure!

Not much else to say for this first day.

Will I get altitude sickness?

Will I meet some interesting people?

Will Steve catch fish?

September 4, 2011. Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

This is a great picture of Brush Creek Ranch. You can see the iconic rock in the middle of the picture. To the right is the main lodge. I haven’t given you the link to their web site yet, so here it is. BrushCreekRanch.com

Here is a picture of me out and about in the RAZR. It sure was fun to drive. Much faster than walking, and easier on the hips than horseback. Steve was out fishing for the day, and boy did he have fun! Twenty nine fish for the day! This beautiful rainbow was from the North Platte River. After lunch, Steve went to Brush Creek and caught this nice brown trout. A beautiful 2 pounds and 17 inches.

Now seeing all these big numbers of fish, you might think that the fishing was easy, and you will do as well as Steve did. I must remind you that Steve has been fishing since he was four years old. He started fly fishing when he was 25 years old. He is 55 years old in this picture. So after 30 years of fly fishing you might be as good as him. Or not.

Steve has remarked to me that many of the guides at Brush Creek love to fish with him as he knows what he is doing. Many of the guests have never fished before, and I would not say they are incompetent, but they are not very good. So it is always fun for the guides to see the guest get some really nice fish.

While Steve was out fishing I planned a special surprise for Steve. At breakfast one of the guests was showing pictures of a private dinner that she and her husband had at Falcon Peak Overlook. It was quite romantic and everyone at Breakfast was so excited! Falcon Peak is at one of the higher elevations of the Ranch. There is a lovely platform there where yoga is held at sunrise and lunches and cocktail parties before dinner are held.

Steve had a half day fishing on the North Platte and then came back for lunch with the rest of us at Falcon Peak. In the afternoon he fished on property on Brush Creek. Now having dinner with Steve at Falcon Peak was going to be a surprise. I had to figure out how to get him there. What was I to do?

Well, I decided to play “Misplacing Linda”. Just before we were going to take the RAZR to the Lodge for dinner I told him that I had left my phone up at Falcon Peak at lunch. We were going to have to go back up there and get it before dark.

So off we went, when we got up to Falcon Peak Overlook, Steve saw that there was a private dinner all set up for two. He told me to hurry up and find my phone as Bruce and Beth the owners of the ranch were going to have an intimate dinner there.

“Surprise!” I told him. This is all for you! Yes, he did actually get a little bit teary. Look how happy we are! Too bad I have a heat lamp growing out of my head!

Here we are, looks like I got quite the farmer’s tan earlier in the day. The couple the night before had a harpist play, that I thought was a bit much. It was more than enough for the two of us to sit and make goo goo eyes while we cooed our endearing love to each other! Who could not fall madly in love with this charmer? Doesn’t that face ooze endearing love with just a sparkle of mischief?

This shows how much sunburn I got. We were at an elevation of about 7500 feet. The air is much thinner there than back home in Poughkeepsie where our elevation is about 200 feet. Here is a picture of our waitress and chef.

I hope you enjoyed this Excellent Adventure as it was our last night at Brush Creek Ranch and it was time to go back to reality in the morning. We had great fun at Brush Creek. We left with our wallet a bit lighter, but hoped to return again next year!

Do you do yoga at sunrise?

Do you like surprises?

Do you misplace stuff?

September 3, 2011. Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

Steve spent the day fishing on the Encampment River. He caught seven fish, most in the 10-15 inch range.

I spent some time wandering around and exploring. This is the view that the bride has as she walks down the aisle for an outdoor wedding. I am sure that cushions on the rocks benches, and flowers on the arbor, make the site much more attractive. Here is the view looking toward the guests. There was a small pond in the center foreground, There were no fish there! Here is a picture that I took of our room. Quite a bit different than the professional picture!

Let’s look at some of the other buildings, shall we?

This is the activities barn. This is where you signed up for all your activities. There was a small gift shop where you could buy shirts, jackets and sunglasses. Lunch was held here. It was a buffet lunch, with your choice of salads, mains, and lots of desserts. In the main lodge there were always snacks available. Plus your choice of drinks, both alcoholic and non alcoholic. You could have your choice of wine also, with a walk in wine cellar just off the dining room. There was no charge for any alcohol when we went there.

On the lower level of the main building was a wonderful spa where you could get dolled up for your wedding, or just have a massage. There was a changing room just across the hall where you could change your clothes. There was a full shower, so you could wash off all the dust before you had your rub down. There was a gym also, but I never saw any one besides myself work out. Not that I am terribly athletic, but I like to get on a recumbent bikes and read. This is where the saloon was. People would gather there before dinner and have drinks and canapés before dinner. Steve would play pool. Some nights were Karaoke nights. That comes into play when I write up my 2015 Adventures here. I hope you don’t die of suspense waiting for me to write up that trip! After dinner we went to the Zip Line. Traditionally you are supposed to do the Ropes Course first and then as a treat do the Zip Line. I am not buff enough to do a Ropes Course, so I begged to just do the Zip Line. I am afraid of heights, so why I agreed to do this I do not know. It was scary but fun. This was the rope walk that you had to go up before you got to the zip off platform. The guide forgot to attach the safety carabiner to me, but I was lucky and didn’t fall off before it was time to zip off. Here is Steve at the end of the zip line.

While at the ranch there weren’t many guests there, as the Ranch had just opened to the public. Beth and Bruce White of White Lodging had bought the ranch a few years earlier. They loved it and invited many of their friends to visit. They decided to open the Ranch to others so they could enjoy it also. It was funny talking to Bruce about this. He was going on and on about how much he was subsidizing our stay because the ranch wasn’t breaking even. Maybe so, but it still was expensive!

We met another couple there. Anthony and Melissa from Chicago. We are still in touch and even stayed with them on our road trip West in 2015. So you never know about meeting me. I may end up stalking you in the future!

Are you afraid of heights?

Have you ever been married?

Do you go commando when you have a massage?

September 2, 2011. Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

This is the type of picture you get from an iPhone 4 shooting into the sun. Not very good. But it will have to do, as it is all I’ve got. You can see Steve’s waders and fishing rods on the ground along with his boots. You are correct if you wonder if his socks always make it to the laundry basket. They don’t! But this blog is devoted to my excellent adventures with my heaping hunk of handsomeness-aka Steve, so let’s ignore the laundry issue. There are lovely rocking chairs on the deck. I think i might have rocked twenty minutes on them. Of course Steve went off fishing again. He caught 14 fish for the day including two 18 inchers. This was done while wading the North Platte River. Those beautiful fish from yesterday were an inch smaller than today’s big fish!

Usually Steve got up early in the morning and went off fishing. I would be by myself for breakfast and lunch. It was sometimes lonely, with most couples and families staying together. However, as I don’t like to fish all day, in fact I only like to fish for about 30 minutes, we each do our own thing.

In the late afternoon we did go for a ride. Here I am being instructed on how to hold the reins of the horse. I was taught to hold them like an ice cream cone. Most people on the East Coast where we are located, ride Western. As I don’t ride at home, only on vacations, I didn’t have to unlearn much.

Don’t I look sharp? Shoulders back, and trying to look relaxed. The horse doesn’t look very happy does he, or is he really a she? The wrangler we were with looked like Sam Elliott. No, don’t worry he was happily married as was I. Plus, how much successful flirting can you do with the wrangler when your husband is riding behind you? I am not sure If you remember but in the past I have suffered from asthma. And altitude sickness. After lunch today I got a bit winded going up the slight hill to our cabin. I mentioned it to staff and look what was delivered to our cabin for me to ride around in! My very own RAZR! This one was new, as the windshield was still there! Dinner tonight was at Creekside. I still happen to have that top also! We also had a little combo play music for us during dinner. After dinner you could grill your own marshmallows for s’mores.

Do you ride Western or English?

How old is the oldest item in your closet that you still wear?

Do you still have your wedding dress in your closet even though it is 39 years old?

Fishing in Argentina February/March 2018

This is Steve’s narrative of our trip to Argentina. You can tell he writes to a different audience than I do. I will add pictures to the post.

Our next trip was to Argentina where I fished the Chimehuin out of Tipiliuke Lodge near San Martin de los Andes on Feb 26, 27, 28 and then after a stay in Villa Angostura, the Traful and Limay out of Estancia Arroyo Verde near Bariloche, March 3-7.

Tipiliuke (tipiliuke.com) is a beautiful old lodge in a very large estancia, with the Lanin volcano, over 11,000 feet and snow capped, visible in the distance.

There are 2 rivers, plus a constructed spring creek, but I fished the main draw, the Chimehuin, all 3 days. My guide was Adrain, a very experienced and knowledgeable guide and fisherman, who is captain of the Argentine national team. The Chimehuin is a good sized river with deep pools, fast runs,and broad riffles, crossable at this low water season. The water temperature was 60-62 and the river was very clear. It is populated with wild rainbows and browns, with some huge browns taken, especially in April. the weather was beautiful every day-cool mornings that warmed to around 60 by the time we hit the water around 10 am, and peaking around 75-80 in late afternoon. It was breezy, but nothing like Chile. The fishing day was 10 am until around 2 pm, then a great lunch back at the lodge and a siesta, followed by an evening session from around 6 pm until dark, which was close to 9 pm even this late in the season. Dinner was at 10 pm. On February 26 I fished the El Cardinal beat and caught 12 rainbows and 2 browns in the first session, with the best a 17 ” rainbow . Most came on Adrian’s fullinguista nymph, a spartan Spanish perigon nymph of thread and UV cement with a copper bead. For the pm session, I fished the Whitestone beat and caught 13 rainbows and 3 browns, none over 13″. Fishing was fast and furious during the last half hour of daylight swinging a yellow mayfly nymph in a fast riffle.

On February 27, I fished the Anquendo beat for the am session and caught 14 rainbows and 1 brown. I caught 2 on the PMX, one on a fly I tied, and most of the rest on another Euro nymph, the blue and orange. (Linda’s comment is “the blue and orange, not to be confused with the orange and blue”) Three fish were 16-17.75″ and three others were 13-14″. For the pm, I fished Andres’ pool and Cormorant Island, and caught 9 rainbows and 2 browns. One rainbow was 18″. Again the yellow mayfly nymph was hot, but I also caught 3 on the dun, a size 8. The hatch lasts only 20 minutes but it’s great fun.

On February 28 I fished the same beat as the prior pm, just a lower section. I caught 18 rainbows and 2 browns in the am session, most on another Euro nymph called the Superman because of its red and blue colors. I also caught 5 on small dries. Again, my largest was an 18′ rainbow. For the evening I convinced Linda to go out for the yellow fly hatch. She caught 3 swinging the nymph in fast waster, one a hard fighting 16 incher, and she was briefly attached to a really big fish. This time we have both photo and video evidence, thanks to Adrian. Adrian had me use his Euro nymphing outfit, a 10 foot, 3 weight rod with a tiny reel spooled with monofilament. I quickly caught 8, none large, in a nice run, then one more on the yellow fly nymph,giving me 30 for the day and 86 for the 3 days on the Chimehuin. I loved both the river and Tipiliuke Lodge, and would like to return some day. Adrian was a superb guide, both enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

Starting on the evening of March 3, I fished the Traful on the property of Estancia Arroyo Verde. estanciaarroyoverde.com.ar. Both the river and lodge are justly famous for their beauty and ambiance.

Fernando Gonzalez was my guide for the entire stay. Like Adrian, he is very experienced and knowledgeable. On this first evening, I caught 2 7 inchers on a PMX. The next morning, March 4, was cool and windy and we fished the upper 2 pools where landlocked salmon are often found. We sighted 5, which I cast to hundreds of times, with no action. In the pm session, I fished some gorgeous water downstream and caught only 3 small fish on the PMX. The water was slow and extremely clear, and a bit too warm, which could explain the lack of good fish showing . I asked Fernando what he thought and he said, “I have many excuses. I just don’t know which one is right”. But I knew going in that the Traful is moody and difficult, with few fish but also some really big ones. March 5 started well. It was a beautiful sunny toning, cool and calm. I caught a 19″ brown on my first cast at the head of a small side channel on a PMX and caught 6 small rainbows on dries. We also saw 3 very nice browns in a willow lined side channel, and marked their lies for the evening session. In the evening I caught only 1 15″ brown on a Fat Albert . The others we saw in the morning did not show.

On March 6 I floated the Limay from 12 Miles upstream of the reservoir down to its entrance. The Limay is big water, even this late in the season. Wading is not really an option. It has a mixture of small to medium sized rainbows and browns that can exceed 10 pounds. The rainbows take insect imitations but the browns eat meat, especially a crab called a Pancora, which is very common. It is 1-2 inches long and very dark. We used a PMX or chubby Chernobyl on a 6 weight and pancora imitations on a 7 weight with a fast sinking tip. The fish were widely scattered, with the best fishing in the shallowest, fastest water. Deep runs and pools simply did not produce, although they do at times produce big browns. I caught 5 browns and 7 rainbows for the day. The rainbows were 10-15″, and only one came to a dry, although I missed 2 nice browns on the PMX. All of the other fish took the pancora or an articulated leech. One of these was a very thick brown, over 21″ that Fernando guesstimated at 2.5 kg, or about 5.5 pounds. But the star of the day was a very fat 18 inch brown that was as beautiful as any I’ve caught. All of the fish that took the pancora or leech crushed it. On March 7, we again tried for salmon in the 2 uppermost pools below the lake outlet. The first had no fish visible, but 3 were sitting on a shallow gravel bar in the second pool. After many casts, I was able to hook and land a very nice 24 incher on an ugly bug nymph. I was very disappointed with the fight, mostly head shaking and a few short runs. Later, I caught a small brown and a small rainbow, giving me the grand slam for the Traful. In the evening, we again went hunting for big browns, but I caught only 4 smallish rainbows on the PMX. However, that evening another guest, Dennis Hall of Calgary, who has fished the Traful for years, caught an incredible 29.5″ brown on a big streamer, besting the 28″ brown he’d caught a few years back. The prior evening, in response to my commenting that the fishing was slow, Dennis remarked “Yes, but always remember that on this river your next cast can produce the fish of a lifetime”. This is why I want to return to the Traful. Fernando emphasized that April is best, when the water cools and the browns begin their spawning run, both from the lake above and reservoir below. Likewise the Limay gives up its best fish then.

Overall, I caught 32 during my 4.5 days of fishing at Arroyo Verde, and 118 for the trip.

I hope that you enjoyed Steve’s trip report and my inserted pictures!