Atomic Clock

Time is a strange concept … especially if you are anxiously waiting for New Zealand to get back to you about your application to immigrate there. It can seem to go exceedingly slow at times. It really requires finding the right time keeping device so you don’t go crazy. There are many types of clocks and by far the most accurate are the atomic clocks.

According to the always reliable Wikipedia:

“Since 1968, the International System of Units (SI) has defined the second as the duration of 9192631770 cycles of radiation corresponding to the transition between two energy levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. In 1997, the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) added that the preceding definition refers to a caesium atom at rest at a temperature of absolute zero.”

So by that measure, we have currently been waiting for 370,646,912,966,400 cycles of radiation since our application was lodged. Maybe it’s just me, but this seems to be a pretty impractical measure of the passage of time. I have decided that a far better measure will be haircuts. It’s variable in length, but generally is close to 3 weeks between haircuts.

I am now ready for haircut number 3 since we closed on our house in Flagstaff.

I mention this because although it has been stressful waiting, it has not been stressful wandering about doing fun stuff. The days of the week tend to blend into each other and really start to lose their significance, except when you show up at the parking lot for a hike and there are people there! Oh, yea, it’s Sunday. This part of our journey I am really enjoying. It does force you to take a different perspective on time and how you manage it and how you chose to live each day. I am not at all sorry for the crazy endeavor we have taken on because I have fully given up on racing from one meeting to the next, being driven by the stupid outlook calendar, and never really having time to think “what do I want to do today.”

A while back I had looked around for a fishing guide to take us out. At first I thought we could go out on the Columbia River and fish for Chinook since we just happened to be here at the right time. Well, although we are here at the right time, so is everyone else that planned to go fishing for Chinook, so there was no availability. Then I thought steelhead. Nope. Season was shut down because the run was so small and decimated that they closed it to all fishing. I finally find a guy that would take us out trout fishing on the Yakima river, but we had to wait a couple of weeks for availability. No worries.

Well, yesterday, we finally got to go out for our guided fly fishing trip down the Yakima. I did some reading up on the fishing there and it sounded quite good. To quote one website:

“The Yakima River offers the best stream trout fishing in Washington, and honestly that’s not really up for debate.”

Ok, then. Looks like we made a good choice. Mike, our guide, pinged us on Sunday and told us where to meet him in the morning. It was about 1.5 hours drive from our house. The big loser in all of this was Sadie, who, by all measures, has been spoiled rotten by both us being confined by COVID and us both pretty much retiring. This means that for the last 2 years, she has had 24/7 attention. Tomorrow she was going to have to spend the day by herself and I am sure if she could talk she would tell you that it is nothing short of “tragic.”

We got up early so I could take the Queen out for a walk before her long imprisonment for the day. It is quite dark in the morning now, so I had to take the flashlight. We made some coffee and packed a few snacks and headed out toward the meet-up point.

We have been struggling with Google maps navigation of late because it keeps routing us down some pretty gnarly dirt roads instead of keeping us on the highway. Sigh. This was no exception and it took through some big wind farm and down a steep drop to the main highway. Susanne was driving and it was clear she was not amused. I offered to finish off the dirt road for her and she was relieved. Thanks a lot, google.

We got a close up tour of the wind farm

We got to the put-in at about 8:50 and Mike was already there getting everything set up. We chatted a bit and then he put the boat in the water and he and I ran the shuttle down to the take off.

Mike’s spiffy drift boat

The water in the river was quite low, but still good for fishing. As Mike put it, “it helps concentrate the fish.” Mike was a super nice guy and it turns out he used to be a pro-bike racer and even raced some in Europe. That is no small feat for an American and to do that you have to be really quite good, even if you are racing on one of the smaller continental teams. He had lived in Boulder for quite a number of years, but had moved to Wenatchee because his wife had grown up there and she wanted to get back closer to home.

We got into the boat and started down the river. He had four poles for us: one with a dry fly set up and one with a nymph set-up. The nymph set-up was pretty complicated and consisted of a strike indicator, a hook with a plastic red imitation salmon egg, 2 split shots for weight and a dinky little nymph on the end. The whole thing was probably 9 feet and I could tell it was going to be a bit of a challenge to cast.

Right out of the gate I caught a 8″ cutty on the dry fly. Woohoo! I wasn’t going to get skunked. Both Susanne and I had a number of strikes, but it was tricky setting the hook — it really took precision timing and line management to get one on the line.

Some gorgeous pools to fish from the bank

The weather was quite lovely. When we first started out, it was a bit cloudy and cool, but as we moved down the river the clouds cleared out, the sun came out and it just turned into a perfect day. I was worried that it was going to be really windy since we had driven by the wind farm, but there was just the faintest of breezes. We managed to get a perfect day for fishing.

We pulled over at one really nice pools and got out of the boat and fished from the shore in our waders. On my second cast, I caught another cutty. Susanne was getting a ton of strikes, but was having trouble setting the hook. Mike was great and spent a lot of time coaching Susanne. He would get all excited every time her strike indicator went down. I caught a couple more and lost a nice big rainbow.

Mike giving Susanne some pointers
Susanne’s big Rainbow

I glaced down and saw that Susanne had a fish on and it was giving her quite a fight. Based on how the pole was bending, it was probably the biggest fish we had seen all day. She worked it in nicely and Mike netted and took a picture. It was probably 14″ to 16″. Gorgeous. Shortly after that she had another good size fish on again. She fought it for awhile and got it in. This turned out to be a whitefish and really good size. Awesome! Those were two pretty nice fish!

We piled back into the boat and continued down the river fishing. I caught a number of other cuttys and lost a couple good sized rainbows. At one point I got a big one on and started to work it toward the boat. It just dove down to the bottom and hunkered down there. I almost thought that I had imagined that I had a fish on and I was actually snagged on the bottom. Nope, the guy started fighting again and I managed to bring him in. A hefty whitefish. They are very carp looking and put up a surprisingly good fight. It was the first white fish I had ever caught.

A hefty white fish
Mike Sherer, our guide

We got to the take out around 2 pm and said our thanks to Mike. He was a really good guide and just a super pleasant guy to spend the day hanging out with. We drove back to Wenatchee, avoiding the dirt road route from google, and were greeted by the Queen who was not at all amused that she had been left at home all day. After some barking and whining and a walk, she seemed to forgive us for our transgression. Whew. Dogs are awesome in so many ways.

What an awesome day of fishing and if you are ever in Wenatchee, look up Mike at the Wenatchee Fly Company (

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