Saturday, April 10, 2010

Home Opener!

Oh, may the Joys of Spring never end!

Thanks to the miracle that is Cable Sports, I watched the SF Giants' Home Opener tonight on the tube. After a full day's sleep, I awoke to find the replay underway, and watched the Giants tie it up in the Ninth Inning!

On what looked to be a Chamber of Commerce afternoon, the Giants won it in the 13th Inning!

I think I'll take in a couple of games this's a beautiful park, with a Billion Dollar View of San Francisco Bay with the Bay Bridge, Yerba Buena Island and the East Bay Hills beyond.

I've been to exactly one game there. I went with my Dad, and we were in the nosebleed seats behind Home Plate. It was the Summer Solstice, and we were baking in the sun. (We got there two hours before game time to watch Batting Practice) Amazingly, one minute before the first pitch, the shadow fell across our seats! The architects clearly thought of everything!

The game quickly degenerated into a pitching duel. Barry Bonds and Benito Santiago had the day off, too. The view from up in the top deck was stellar, though!

Unable to properly scrutinize the Pitching Duel from on high, we amused ourselves by watching the ship traffic, and a couple of guys in a tin boat who appeared to be Halibut Fishing in McCovey Cove. It took those guys most of the game, but the did boat a flattie! Looked to be around 10 lbs or so.

Later we were treated to a Classic Episode of Anchoring Follies. It was an unusually calm afternoon on the Bay, and McCovey Cove is a well protected anchorage. In motors a brand new 80ft Cruising Motoryacht complete with a Boatyard Shine and bristling with electronics...this thing had two SatPhone antennas as well as two Satellite TV antennas.

The Yacht's Skipper was apparently flummoxed by the Anchor Rode Rocker Switch, as the anchor line dropped...raised back up...dropped again...for a series of tries. The Bay's about 30ft deep in there...drop anchor and back away until there's plenty of scope. Drop a stern anchor and equalize scope, and enjoy the game! Clearly there was some serious over-thinking goin' on on the yacht's bridge.

The Giants won the game, but I'll always remember the Anchor-Up Show!

Schadenfreude Rocks!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Last Opening Day

...of April, that is!

Stream Trout Season opens the last Saturday of April in the Sierra District. It's the Calendar Event of Spring around these parts, the Official Beginning of Spring.

As often as not, snowstorms put the kibosh on the Opener, but given the right circumstances, it can be Epic!

It's been a couple of years since I actually fished the Trout Opener. Lately, saltier pursuits have captivated me piscatorially speaking...Looking back over a decade or two of Mountain Openers, there have been some wonderful times. One year in the Early 90's, BajaBabe and I fished opening day for planters in the Donner Memorial State Park...a bluebird morning, we laid on frozen snowbanks and dipped our offerings into Donner Creek...we had our limits before we'd had our fill of fishing!

The 1988 Opener was my highest in Elevation. I fished the Yuba River's South Fork atop Donner Summit. A few weeks earlier, I'd been lucky enough to go SnowCat Skiing with a friend who had his own Tucker SnoCat. On a beautiful Bluebird Morning, we drove north on a Forest Service Road just west of Castle Peak. We forded the South Fork of the Yuba, and in our wake, I saw dozens of big trout dart out from their hidey- holes to grab all the aquatic insects dislodged by the Tucker's Steel Tracks.

Weeks later, I made a beeline to that spot for the Opener. With SisterSweetly and BajaBabe in tow, we hiked out to that river crossing, and after hours of trying, while the girls played with a snow saucer, I caught a nice 14 inch rainbow. We snapped a Polaroid that shows my smile to be the same size as the trout!

That summer, I fished the Yuba's South Fork a couple of times a week...all wild fish, rainbows, browns and whitefish...I had an epic season...then I moved off the Summit and down to Truckee. In Truckee I had to get in the car to go fishing, so there was little "Impulse Angling"...sigh...

Wild, stream-bread Trout are so beautiful (and rare) that I don't target them anymore. Practicing Catch&Release is only marginally better for these fish...C&R makes the Anglers feel better about themselves, but it's not a Resource Management Plan. Making my new wild trout avoidance regime easier was our first fishing trip to Baja. Fishing in Baja is the Major Leagues compared to the trout stream Minors!

Baja is a whole other story!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Other Opening Day

That would be the Salmon Season off California's Coast. Saturday April 3rd was the Opener...the first after California endured a closed season in 2008,and a barely open, truncated season in 2009.

Judging from internet reports, it was a rough one. Most who ventured out turned around and sought shelter inshore. Some salmon were caught out of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Half Moon Bay. The further North the bigger the swell. Outside the Golden Gate, seas were 15-20ft at 15 seconds...that's a roller coaster! Mal de Mer guaranteed! No thanks!

SturgeUrge and I plan on fishing next Monday...provided the fleet find the fish first! We'll be watching the buoy reports too...we're too soft for big swells!

Looking ahead to the Long Range Models, we might be in for some weather Monday. The Monterey/San Francisco Marine AFD doesn't mention Swells, but it does allow that wind will be ramping up along with the chances of precipitation...wind is the engine that drives swell formation...stay tuned.

About Last Night
My Monday was kinda rough...even though I slept through the Giants game, I didn't log enough winks, so I did some suffering. The snow was good, and we had a good crowd Monday. We started behind the 8-Ball due to a huge to-do list for the upcoming weekend that's chock-full of racing events all over the start bumps, Pro Jumps and more ate up Swing Shift's time.

I did the slash and burn edit of the Work Orders, the fleet held together, and we made the proverbial Silk Purse in the end.

Looking at the sensor data, temps were up 10F over yesterday, so the Hero's outta town now. We've got double the talent on swing tonight, but the Springlike Conditions will eat most of the advantage gained by front loading our effort.

There's Hope
While updating, I viewed two 6 o'clock Weather Reports...both show colder temps and showers beginning Sat/Sun..."Chalk it up to El Niño" quipped Sacramento's WeatherWag, "El Niño often pushes cooler winter weather deeper into Spring" I'm down with that, even if it keeps us off the water next week. Under two weeks to the end of ski season, mostly we've avoided too much hard grooming. Hero Snow might make an encore appearance for the Home Stretch...

Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Opening Day

Before Dawn Monday
Monday is Opening Day for Major League Baseball's SF Giants. I hope I can stay up late enough to watch the 4PM PDT game on TV. I slept in 'till 2AM and have been watching the latest winter storm crash across the High Sierra. Kind of a sick way to spend my night off!

I watched the Space Shuttle's last Night Launch on Standard Definition. Curiously, none of the TV Network's Overnight News Shows showed the launch live...

Around the dial, I took in the Blue Canyon Remotes, where the TV Reporters stomp around in the newly deposited snowdrifts, complain about the wind and/or cold, and introduce the video tape package of Highway Carnage...Gridlocked Traffic...scenes of Snow Removal Equipment at work, etc

Back in studio, the weathercasts show the storm departing my slice of the High Sierra. Soon, I'll hear the Town of Truckee Snowplow rumble by...and I'll throw on my foul weather gear and blow the fresh berm and the driveway. After a hot shower, I'll warm up the DaveCave by playing in the kitchen.

First up, I'm gonna brew up the Brine for Corned Beef 2.0 Also on tap, bake a loaf of bread. For desert, I'll bake up a batch of Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies...I kid you not!

Pulling back the kitchen curtains, I see it's stopped snowing...a good eight inches out there. Probably 12-18 inches up on my Mountain.

10PM Update
My Mountain reported 20 inches for the 24 hour period. As expected, I slept right through the Giants' Game. Giants' Two Time Cy Young Winner, Tim Lincecum dazzled with a seven inning shutout, allowing four singles, zero walks and seven strikeouts. Off to a great start...everyone's home team is going to the World Series on Opening Day!

Springtime, lovely Spring. The cheeseburger birds should begin calling again tomorrow!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mac Arthur Park

No, it didn't rain last night, but the wind was rain on my parade, so to speak.

Still, near Hero status snow made for enjoyable grooming. The wind blew pillows of snow all over the trails I groomed, and these pillows weren't in their usual places. Trails with a North/South orientation were without pillows all together, while the East/West facing runs had drifts everywhere. These lead me into a sucker hole once or twice, where I had to lift my tiller to avoid auguring in...and to an extra downhill pass to clean up my mess.

I did more plowing that usual too...champagne-dry powder whipped by hurricane force winds makes for some huge drifts, and giant wind wells. I must have filled a dozen big tree wells last night. They kept reminding me of the Grand Canyon...

All in all, it was a quiet night. My old favorite BR350's windshield wipers failed, but the snow was dry enough that even with the wind, it didn't hit the window! We knocked out the Work Orders, save one winch project, re-winched two runs off the top, and spent our last half hour helping the Park Groomers get their list done!

Ski Resort Egg Salad Recipe

Take one or two bunny hills covered with Easter Egg Hunt treats

Add one SnowCat w/ Tiller

Mix and Explain...

This actually happened to me a decade or more ago...this may be the first year since that I haven't been reminded about it...

New and Improved this season...Two Easter Egg Hunts!

Happy Easter!