The Flaming Gorge – August 1-3, 2016

Less than a month ago, we left Wyoming via the Grand Tetons and entered Idaho at the Palisades Reservoir, heading toward the Pacific.

Before that, we visited Yellowstone, Cody, and the Bighorns.  To say that we LOVE Wyoming is an understatement.

To simply “drive through” the southern portion of the state on our way to Colorado was not an option!  We scanned the internet to see what we could do about this dilemma!

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And then, we found it…The Flaming Gorge, a 90-mile-long, internationally known fishing reservoir.  Sign us up for two nights and a boat, please!

As had become our habit, we arrived as the sun was setting.  Driving away from civilization in the dark comes with certain…feelings.  It took a lot of faith to drive off into the mountains, into an area where there was no habitation to be seen, into a dry desert where there is no evidence of a lake!  They didn’t even have a real address to punch into the GPS, folks!

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Even turning onto the road marked “Buckboard Marina” seemed like a leap of faith.  It seemed to lead toward more of the same.

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But, there it was!  An honest-to-goodness lake!

Our boat was going to be waiting for us at 7am, so we quickly set up camp and went to sleep.

Opa had given us some Christmas money which we were saving up for something special.  This was it!  An all-day patio boat rental excursion!

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After a few snafus with obtaining the fishing license, we overloaded the boat with all the stuff we “needed” for the day and caught a quick boat tutorial before leaving the dock.  I must admit, I was smitten with Cliff’s boat-driving skills.

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He and the kids were itching to fish, so he wasted no time in finding a good spot.  I, on the other hand, had already found my good spot.  The boat’s L-shaped couch!  Surrounded by water and my family, a day of leisure was right up my alley!  This was also MY Christmas present, let us not forget!

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I wish that Cliff could fill you in on the details of the catches made, but since he’s not here, I will do my best to describe the day’s haul to you.

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Hmmm.  OK, I’ve really thought about it and I really cannot give you a play-by-play.  But, I will tell you that they caught several rainbow trout around 12-13 inches long.  AND they hooked lots more…bigger ones.  You should ask them.  You’ll hear lots of fish stories, and I can attest that they’ll actually be true!  I mean, these fish must have taken lessons from the Road Runner!

It was so much fun observing all of this.  The kids felt sorry for me because I didn’t “get to fish,” but I can assure you that I had the best seat in the house!  Especially when watching Nadia bait her own hook.  Every one of our children are self-sufficient fishermen!  Good job, Cliff!

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After grabbing a quick lunch out of the cooler, we dropped anchor and let the kids swim for a bit.

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They were intimidated by the great deep, however, and held onto the boat or the rope most of the time, even though they are even more self-sufficient at swimming as they are at fishing!  Good job, Cliff!

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Personally, I think that they have watched too many episodes of “River Monsters” to be comfortable swimming anywhere but the local pool.

Eventually, they got more comfortable, though.  Isaiah even took hold of the rope and towed us for awhile.  Cliff nicknamed him JFK.

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But, they all felt the urge to fish was stronger than any swim could ever be.  So, back in the boat to find another spot.

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The fish in this spot were even more elusive.  I got to take lots of pictures of the landscape, though.

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One day, they may invent a “feeling” camera.  I wish I had one on board so that I could transmit it to you.  Or at least I wish that I could communicate verbally in a more vivid way.  That day on the Flaming Gorge, in the middle of an immense clear lake, in the middle of an even more immense middle-of-nowhere, with the cloud-whispered blue sky stretched out above me (I really think that the air was even less frequently traveled than the roads!), in the midst of unfamiliar, other-worldly rock formations, sunkissed, warm, sprawled on the couch in an unbecoming but oh-so-comfortable position, surrounded by the giggles and chatter of my 5 most favorite people in the world…I must admit that time stood still for me.  It could be that I knew that this was our last “big stop” on our trip, that the rest of our vacation would be spent driving aggressively and preparing to re-enter reality’s gravitational pull, that in a few short weeks I would again become the teacher, curriculum specialist, bus driver, janitor, and lunch lady of our homeschool.  But, if I did have those things on the back burner, I didn’t notice it.  Because for now, I was just here.  And so was my mind.  And so were we all.  Paradise.

At this point, I pulled the Mom Card.  We all do it sometimes.  I was tired of sitting in the same spot when we had 90 miles worth of lake available to us.  Give me some adventure, darlin’!  (As if being there weren’t adventure enough!)

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So, we reeled in all the lines and took off, all high-speed-like toward who knows where!  Whee!

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We explored the coastline for quite some distance.  At one point, we even spotted a fox amid some large rubble.  Even though we were at no small distance, he seemed to know that he had been spotted, so I didn’t actually get a picture.  But here’s where he WAS!  (You’ll have to fill in the details with your imagination!)

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Cliff & the kids casted out a few times to test the waters.  No luck to speak of.

And then we headed around a small island, planning afterward to head back to the marina because the day was too quickly expiring.

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The weather hastened our plans.  Seemingly out of nowhere (in the Wyoming custom), dark clouds appeared in the west, bringing nearly horizontal winds which chopped the water into foaming white waves.  Cliff kicked it into high gear and got us to the marina lickety split.  It felt like lickety-SPIT, though, because the cold water was sputtering at us from all directions!  It really was not a fun ending to the perfect day.

At the marina some locals helped us unload all of our unused necessities from the boat, all the while making sure our younger ones didn’t blow off the dock!  It really would’ve been funny if it weren’t so serious!

Anyway, we got back into the RV all safe and sound.  We got the rig ready to roll because we planned to take off from here at sunrise.  Goodbye, Flaming Gorge.

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Programming note: My mom has lovingly brought to my attention that my last several posts were not as interesting as usual.  I apologize for that.  I will admit that I have rushed through the last few because of time constraints.  But, I will also mention that the subject matter wasn’t nearly as exhilarating.  For example, which is more exciting…driving all day long through southeastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, and southern Idaho, stopping only to fuel up at busy truckstops…OR…driving part of the day up the Oregon Pacific coast, stopping leisurely along the way to pick wild berries and explore tidepools?  However, not being one to disappoint, please come back to my next few posts, where I will show my mom just how exciting it can be to drive through Kansas!  But first…we’ll take a stop in the Mile High City!

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3 thoughts on “The Flaming Gorge – August 1-3, 2016

  1. Well, this was a most wonderful post, Natalie, but I also enjoyed posts about berry picking and rock skipping (you did rock skipping somewhere along the way, didn’t you?). I laughed through this adventure, highly admiring your story-telling. What a great way to spend your Christmas gift cash! Looking forward to hearing the kids tell us their favorite fish stories – and any other tales they want to regale us with.

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