A Microburst, More Rockhounding, and Red Kokenee Salmon
Renita steered the boat smoothly onto the trailer and I only had to reach over and clip the bow hook. A few turns of the winch and she gave me the thumbs up, she was ready to be pulled out. It was our last trip out for the year, and Renita had caught a red kokenee salmon! The summertime was drawing to a close and California beckoned but the Red Desert still had its pull on us. We had been shaken by a mircoburst, had been hopelessly caught in rock hounding fever, and had finally found red kokenee salmon. The microburst was amazing, and luckily not strong enough to blow us over. I had noticed a really different cumulus cloud as I walked Molly. It seemed like part of it it had fallen to the ground, but there was no wall cloud or rotation so I didn't worry. Shortly after we got back to our fifth wheel the wind came up and buffeted us worse than any wind we have ever experienced. I ran outside and looked for a tornado and as quickly as it had started it slowed. Our next door neighbor, Dave, was also outside and holding an anemometer. He had missed the worst but the wind was still blowing at 38 miles per hour. Now Dave and Nancy are new friends who camped next to us and shared their fulltiming experiences and expertise with us. They have been fulltiming for nine years and had just bought a Bighorn fifth wheel, We told them about our agate hunting and they went out and found agates that were absolutely beautiful. Nancy showed us one and told us it was the best agate she had ever found, and it was spectacular. It was a translucent white with parallel rows of lined chalcedony. Finally, we had found the schools of pre-spawn salmon. They were at Holmes Crossing and there were actually three year classes so the fishing was fast,(The spawners are in their third and final year of life). We tried to release all that we caught but did end up harvesting one fish that had fought too hard. There were other boats there that were snap jigging the salmon, and another fisherman said that they were actually snagging the fish, (Illegal in Wyoming), but we weren't close enough to see. We actually boated more fish than all the jiggers, the bite was that good. Our last fish was the brilliant red fish above, and we successfully released it, glad that it would have a chance to spawn. There were so many fish on the fish finder and it was good to know that another generation of fish would be here when we return to Flaming Gorge. The day ended in a beautiful crimson glow, reminiscent of the fish we had returned. The sunset was actually colored by all the smoke from the California and Utah fires, but it seemed to me that the sky was celebrating the fish and their life cycle. It also was as if the Red Desert was saying, "You haven't even begin to see all of my beauty", reminding us of all we have seen and done and calling us back. It was a perfect end to our time here, and the road is calling us. Quoting my long time climbing friend and mentor, Frank Sanders, "We have been truly blessed". Clear skies.