Today it is supposed to be sunny and 69 F! Since we are in the Southern Hemisphere, that means we are in late spring!
I wonder what’s for breakfast.
The beautiful spread of fresh juices, coffee and granola.
The sandwiches for the guides and fly fishers!
Delicious banana apple muffins.
Cantaloupe with raspberries.
Omelette for Steve.
Fried eggs for me.
After breakfast we met Duncan, Steve’s guide, and I checked out where the helicopter would land.
Steve with Duncan his guide.
Flyagra for flies that sink instead of float.
Steve’s gear ready to go.
Waiting for the helicopter to arrive.
The helicopter lands outside the lodge. Helicopter flights are an extra charge. A very expensive extra charge, but if you don’t fly out, you won’t find fish!
Loading up and they are off!
After I saw the anglers and the guides off I decided to take a walk to find someplace comfortable to read (besides our cozy cabin with comfortable chairs, a coffee table for my feet, a kettle to make tea and a drink stocked refrigerator. Remind me again why I wanted a walk?)
Over the stream that ran behind our cabin I wandered. If it hadn’t have rained so much in the past few days Steve might have been able to fish here.
I found an outdoor pavilion where barbecues were probably held.
Then I wave Hi to the horses, I was planning on riding the next day.
I thought I finally found my perfect spot. Sofas, lots of natural light and a beautiful trophy specimen on the wall. I think that it was a 16 pointer! Although the room was pretty, the chairs all faced inside and not toward the view. Plus there were so many flies buzzing in the room I couldn’t stand it any longer!
So I trudged back to the lodge but by mistake took the upper pasture because I saw the lodge in the distance. Unfortunately I was supposed to take the lower pasture!
So after walking back and forth I finally figured out my mistake and made it back in time for lunch.
A lovely garden salad.
A cheese plate and fresh grated beets.
While I was reading today and exploring Steve was off fishing. Here are some pictures Steve took from the helicopter, some of the places that he fished, and the fish that he caught!
After Steve was done clambering in the streams Steve had to hike to a meadow to wait for the helicopter to pick him up. Steve told me that I would have divorced him if I would have gone along. He is right. I stroll, I don’t do whatever he was doing!
Steve fished theUpper Mangamarie above tree line. He described it as follows: It was super clear, about 200 cubic feet per second. It was tough going due to gorge sections that require scrambling “up and over” cliffs and deep pools. I caught 3 rainbows. Steve has told me since that it was one of the most difficult days fishing that he ever had. Not only were there cliffs, but he had to climb them wearing waders and his fishing boots!
Two of the fish weighed 4.5 pounds, one was 5.5 pounds.
Later in the afternoon the helicopter returned Steve, Duncan, and the rest of the anglers and guides. Then after showering and changing it was time for dinner.
For appetizers we had bacon wrapped figs, they looked too rare for me to eat!
Curry chicken wings.
Green lipped mussels, which are a Kiwi (New Zealander) favorite! Mine too!
Meat with vegetables.
Chocolate lava cake (lava was set and not oozing.)
Can you believe how white Steve’s beard was?
Would I have physically been able to clamber all those rocks like Steve did?
Good Morning to you! This is a fish caught on the ranch by a prior guest. That is some fish! And it looks like it was caught a long time ago.
While I waited for our cook to rustle up some breakfast for me I thought I would show you some of the main lodge.
The main dining area.
In the next room there were many animal heads.
Some animal skins.
There were plenty of spaces to sit and chat. However, we were the only guests for the week. Cow Creek has since ceased to exist as a public fishing lodge. Which we thought would happen. There was so much fire damage to the hills, that it was an unattractive place to fish or ride.
My scrambled eggs and bacon came out quickly.
Which were soon followed by berry pancakes.
Steve had already gone out to meet with with his guide for his day of fishing.
While Steve was fishing I hung out at the lodge. A bird watching group from Santa Fe came to search for birds. I was invited but had no energy at this elevation.
They were off for four hours, so I think it was a good decision not to go out with them.
The lodge must have been really something back in the day. It was too bad that there had been so many fires in the area.
A beautfiul fish that Steve caught.
No he did not keep him. Steve realeses his fish that he catches back to the stream. Once in awhile he does keep a few trout when he fishes back home and we eat them, but that is rare.
Here is a closer view of the pond that Steve fished.
Fish in the net.
Sometimes the ending is not so happy!
Then it was time for dinner. More of the salad from a bag with tomatoes and shredded cheese.
Chicken. It’s whats for dinner! Very dry chicken.
For dessert we had pistachio pudding and that same chocolate cake!
After dinner I followed Steve to the pond.
For more fishing.
No, it is not the same fish!
I wanted him to catch me one of the palomino trout, but they were persnickety.
Steve caught 50 fish today. It would be his last day fishing on this trip. Tomorrow we leave for Santa Fe, New Mexico!
Then it was off to bed.
What animal heads are in your living room?
What is your favorite type of dry meat?
Have you ever seen a palomino trout?
Did you that LDR means Long Distance Release?
Are you happy about not seeing anymore fish pictures? Be honest!
After I published last night’s post Steve remarked that I did not embellish much about the road to Cow Creek. I told him that I blocked a lot of it out of my memory as it was such a bad, bad road. Steve said that the road was bed rock in many parts and that at times we couldn’t even tell where the road actually was. Yep. That is why I didn’t remember the road. It was bad!
Here I am at breakfast, reading the literature about the history of Cow Creek.
Please don’t quiz me! This is the view of the dining area from the opposite direction.
I can tell you that Cow Creek was founded in the 1800’s as a boarding ranch for wealthy English boys to learn Western ranching. Generally these would be second sons as only the first born son would inherit the estate. In the 1930’s Cow Creek was transformed into a guest ranch. It’s for sale now, if you want to buy it!
I love my whipped cream on coffee!
Here is a view of Cow Creek and the valley.
After breakfast I wandered down to the horse barn for my scheduled ride.
Can you see the fish in the stream?
Here I am with one of the staff and Lanier one of the owners. This ranch had the first riding waiver that I had to sign that mentioned the possibility of death, I looked at Lanier and asked her how often that happened. I did not relish the thought of being their first casualty!
The creek at Cow Creek was very pretty.
Unfortunately there had been forest fires a few years ago and the hill sides were severely damaged.
This is some damage from a bear that was clawing on the tree!
Look how big the scars are from the bear claws!
My posture looked good, I was happy to be almost done with the ride! At one point in the ride my horse stumbled and I semi fell off it. No worries! I lived to tell the story!
Thank you for the ride Horse!
After my ride I walked back to the room where I rested for the rest of the day. The elevation really got to me and I was exhausted.
This is the living room where guests could hang out. I don’t even remember sitting here reading. I blocked out a lot about the stay at this ranch as I was so uncomfortable with everything about this place. The living room does look cozy though!
This is what one of the rooms looked like. I didn’t find any guest logs to find out if any famous people had stayed here before. Nor were there any other guests staying here to tell you any fun stories about them!
This is where our meals were cooked.
This is one of the fish that Steve caught in the morning from one of the lower beats on Cow Creek.
Steve didn’t really like these lower beats as they were enhanced.
The fish was a real beauty, but Steve prefers less constructed streams. This fish was 21 inches.
So Steve and his guide moved upstream. This was one of the spots where Steve fished later in the day.
Isn’t this a beauty? He preferred the wild trout as opposed to the larger fish in the stocked ponds. This was his first Rio Grande cut throat.
Here is another area where he caught many wild trout.
I tried sitting here to read for a little bit while Steve was fishing. It got a bit too sunny for me so I went back inside.
I could see the horses gather near the gate while I read. You can see all the fire damage here.
This view is of one of the ponds that were created on Cow Creek.
The rooms were in a motel shape arrangement. They had a very bad fire that destroyed much of the landscape here. You can see how close the fire was to the lodge.
Steve came back from fishing to report that he caught 25 fish for the day, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, cutbow and a rio cutt.
Then it was time for dinner. We didn’t have the cook come for lunch as she had to drive about an hour each way to get to the ranch.
We had a somewhat green salad.
Dinner was pot roast. Followed by the cake from the previous night.
There were many hummingbird feeders under the eaves.
Here is a close up of one of the Hummingbirds. Aren’t they cute?
Off to bed!
What is your favorite type of bird?
Are you a second son?
Would you rather catch a large stocked fish or a small native fish?
Is this place too dull for you? No famous people, no interesting guests with interesting background stories! No pictures of good food! I might as well just hang up my blogging skills. Instead I will persevere, you never know when something exciting will happen!
I’m back! Did you miss me? I am continuing our road trip west.
Today would be our last day at Brush Creek Ranch. As usual I had breakfast by myself. Steve would be off fishing. I would do some riding. Buffets always yield unattractive plating!
Here is Steve’s guide checking out the water. You can tell that he is the guide as he has the net. Also if the guide were taking the picture he would either have the sport centered in the picture or on the left of the frame looking toward the river. I should stop complaining, and just be thankful that I have a picture of the beautiful stream!
While Steve fished I rode. I bought two shirts and one pair of jeans to wear while I rode. This shirt is a white buffalo plaid. Buffalo plaids are usually red and black. A new fun fact for you!
Below us you see the Artist Colony and some of the creek side cabins. We stayed in one of the Creekside cabins on one of our stays. Brush Creek invites artists (musicians, composers, photographers, painters) to stay for the season and create.
Now would be a great time to talk about the couple from last night, S and R. They live in the Denver area. She had an absolutely magic voice. Very cultured, with a very interesting accent. While we were waiting to start our ride I told her to keep her eyes out for one of the other guests as she had a three carat diamond. I was very impressed with the ring. I love diamonds. Even larger diamonds on someone else’s hand. There is a joke that a diamond can only be too big if it is on some else’s hand!
She smiled and told me that the ring was nice, but that the ring from her first husband was a 6 carat flawless stone. At that, I shut up but of course the wheels in my head started to spin. How would I be able so get the background story out of her? What was the backstory? Why would she dump him? Did he cheat on her? Did she find out he liked to play with the members of the other team? Was he dead?
I pondered this all afternoon on my next ride. I did lots of pondering as you can imagine!
Here is a beautiful fish from Steve’s fishing.
This is a rainbow trout. I think that it is a close up of the same fish, but who knows? Only Steve and his guide know! Steve caught 46 fish that day!
On my afternoon ride I found this beautiful deer shed. I am happy that we were going to drive back home as I don’t think that I would have been able to fit it in my suitcase!
Steve and I met back for dinner. This was my entree. It looks like it was polenta with elk tenderloin. It could be something else entirely also!
Dessert was a berry crumble.
So we met my new friends from my ride at the saloon before dinner. I asked them to join us for dinner. I have scrambled their faces to preserve their privacy. We met a new couple also. The couple at the far end of the table run a travel agency that specializes in hunting trips. Brush Creek has much to offer for those that like to shoot and hunt. The ranch used to have bison that were available to hunt , but the bison kept escaping and got in the neighbor’s fields. The neighbors were not very happy at that as the fences were ruined and the cattle were bothered. Bothered cattle do not bring happy cattle prices. So that very pricey hunting option had to be scrapped. The couple on the right, S are the couple that we met last night and I went on the ride with today. S is the owner of the six carat diamond.
Now for the tale of S and R. (Which I found out about during cocktail hour at the saloon, this was not something that was discussed at dinner. Who discusses their ex-husband during dinner?) R, the husband, was a senior Vice President for a very large mining, gas and oil development company. They live in the Denver area. He has traveled all around the world managing projects. S was studying to get her degree in social work. She was not in her twenties so this must have been a second career for her.
Now for the story. You will notice that I kind of jump right into my questions. That’s me! Some might think I am brusque, but I prefer to call it an efficient strategy.
“So how did you get a 6 carat flawless engagement ring? Was it a family heirloom?”
“My first husband was a Saudi Prince.”
Yes, even I can be rendered speechless.
No, I did not ask if she was wife number 1, 2, or 3. Remember I do not ask every question I might want to know the answer to! Nor did I ask which Saudi Prince she had been married to. There happen to be 15,000!
Somehow the answers to some of my divorce questions came out (I did not ask what caused the divorce! It appears that not all of the Arab sheikh style of Harlequin romances have a happy ending in real life!) S lived in Switzerland for two years while the divorce was finalized. That is where her accent came from. It was a combination of upper crust English and a European component. I don’t know why it took two years, but the divorce did. As someone who has been happily married for over 40 years I don’t know nothing about divorces!
S kept all of the jewelry, and keeps it in the vault. She takes it out when she goes to black tie events. As the jewels are not from her current husband she is uncomfortable wearing them on her normal activities. I remarked that S might have been married to a prince, but now she is married to the Real Prince in her life! Isn’t that a romantic phrase? Perhaps I should write romance novels afterall!
Thus endeth our stay at Brush Creek Ranch. Remember how I mentioned previously that I stay in touch with some of the people we meet on our trips? On a trip years later, Steve and I did meet up with R and S!
Do you have any buffalo plaid shirts in your house?
Are you married to a Saudi Prince?
Instead of a third question I thought I would show you what a six carat diamond looks like! This was not her ring, I found it on the internet. You might be wondering what the price point for a 6 carat, D colored internally flawless diamond is…about $550,000. Now I don’t know if her diamond was internally flawless or not. That is still some hunk of change for a ring.
Steve and I headed down the road to the main lodge for breakfast. Steve would be going off with a guide and I was planning on riding.
Fresh yogurt at breakfast.
Granola and fresh fruit.
Quiche with a avocado.
I went on a ride with my wrangler.
She took a picture of me facing both directions!
I spied some deer outside our cabin after my ride.
I went back to the lodge to look around. If you wanted to you could hang out at night around a fire pit. We never did!
My sandwich. Brisket sandwich with match stick french fries.
Lunch included some great cookies! Many chocolate chips in these cookies.
Before Dinner Steve got to sign the book at High Lonseome for getting a grand slam. He became a member of The Grand Slam Club. There had been only 8 people so far this year to have reached this highly coveted accomplishment! He caught a brook, cutthroat, cut-bow and a brown trout. He got a special pin and bragging rights. All the fish have to be caught in one day. There was much festivities involved with the announcement, the chart signing and then the pin presentation. Well done Steve! Not for nothing, but Steve is generally one of the best anglers anywhere he goes!
Steve caught 23 fish this day including this four pound Rainbow!
Dinner started with a Frisée Salad and a fried egg on top.
Fresh rolls in butter.
Cassoulet with rabbit, elk and venison.
Apple Crisp ala mode for dessert.
One of the guests was Gennifer with a G. She loved Orange!
She had her orange hat!
And her orange boots! Gennifer with a G’s boots and hat were all custom made.
What is your favorite color?
Did you know that there used to be a car dealership in Albany called Orange Ford?
Their billboards had on them “What color is your Orange Ford?”. I thought that was the greatest. Unfortunately they were acquired by another dealership.
The former manager of Orange Ford was accused of embezzling over $750,000! So my next question is…Have you been caught embezzling over $750,000? I have no interest in any amounts under that number.
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!
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!