March 1, 2018

Frozen Stream and Bushcraft Lunch (in other words, a successful failure)

I had all the good intensions in the world to go fishing the other day, but I never got to cast a line. The reason? Ice. Actually, I sort of knew that the stream I was going to check out was likely frozen over. After all, it was still February. But there's no harm in trying - right?

The stream I was going to check out was about a mile off a dirt road. To get to it I would have to either snowshoe or cross country ski through lodgepole pine/fur forest and down into a small valley. I'm not too steady on cross country skis still (after my latest back surgery) so I decided on snow shoes. I examined the map, took my compass bearings, and off I went.

No tracks. No person or animal has been out there recently. Nice!

Yes, I use my Wader Gaiters as deep snow gaiters (over my OR Gore-tex gaiters). They allow me to kneel in the snow and not get my knees cold/wet.

My goal was to fish, but if I found that I couldn't then I'd at least have a nice walk in pristine forest. I also brought some stuff with me to make a fire and have some lunch. I'd make a no match fire, boil water and make some warm soup. You see, I want to keep up my skills and try to be like Paul Vertrees (who is the real deal when it comes to being a true outdoorsman). I'm much older than him though and probably in much less shape.

I found the snowshoeing to be pleasant and much easier than what I normally do (I usually snow shoe up mountain sides in the Teton range and follow the backcountry skiers to the top of their crazy runs down avalanche shoots. I go for the challenge; they go for the death defying thrills.

The forest was absolutely quiet. No snowmachines. No wind. Just quiet. That's my favorite way for it to be in the winter. The air was a warm 18°F so I did a little sweating (single digit temperatures are best for snowshoeing), but not too much to dampen my clothes.

I arrived at the stream only to find it completely frozen over except for a few little holes here and there. I could hear the water talking to me from under the ice, but no significantly open water, so I found a nice sheltered little place among the trees and made my lunch.

A little opening in the ice to the free running water.

The walk out was truly glorious -- sun, blue sky, no wind and plenty of deep, fresh snow.

Not my main compass, just a backup, and one I look at while walking out -- to keep me going in the right direction.

Even though I wasn't able to fish I thoroughly enjoyed myself. One of these times I need to bring my hammock and stay the night. Maybe then I could be like Paul!

Here's the video:


  1. I was going to ask what pack you took but I could see it was your Tailwater.

    1. Yes, just enough room for a day hike.

  2. awesome!

    My favorite time in the woods is winter.