The company is gone and now it's our turn to have fun

May 19 to June 23 -- that was a long period of time to either be apart or to have visitors in your home.

And, that period of time certainly included some very interesting and highly unusual events.

The company was great and very enjoyable, no doubt about it! However, there is a lot to be said for finally being alone and having some quality time together, without having to worry about entertaining visitors.

By way of explanation, here is a condensed recap of May 19-June 23:

On May 19, Elaine flew to Denver, Colo. to attend the high school graduation of one of her grandchildren and to also spend some time visiting her family in the Denver-Greeley area.

On May 28, Elaine, her mom, Mary, and her 6-year-old niece, Shay, boarded Amtrak to return to Reno.

They were due to arrive in Reno on May 29 at about 9 in the morning.

If you disregard the facts of the train leaving Denver one hour behind schedule, a huge rock slide across the tracks, two of the train cars derailing and causing four different brush fires and finally arriving in Reno the next evening at 8 p.m. (about 11 hours behind schedule), their train trip was basically uneventful.

On June 1, we took little Shay to the 14th annual Kid's Fishing Derby at Lampe Park in Gardnerville, where she caught her first-ever fish (a vvery nice 2-pound rainbow trout).

June 2-11 was spent entertaining our house guests from Colorado.

On June 12, we took Mary to the Greyhound Bus Depot in Reno to return to her home in Greeley.

After Sept. 11, she will not fly on a plane and after the "Train Trip From Hell on May 28-29," she is adiment that she will not ride on Amtrak.

At midnight on June 16, we took Shay to the Reno International Airport, where her father met her. They left Reno very early on June 17 to fly back to Denver.

That same day, we immediately began to regroup for a large number of visitors who would descend on us for the period of June 18-22.

As you may have already read in this newspaper, it was the first-ever, Western Get Together of a group of members from the Internet website

We had a total of 14 visitors, who had traveled here from Reno, Fallon, Somerset, Calif., Mariposa, Calif., San Diego, Calif. and Portland, Ore.

The Get-Together was hugely successful, and all of those folks, plus many more, are going to be back on the same weekend in 2004 for the the Second Annual Get Together.

Then finally on the morning of Monday, June 23, Elaine and I looked at one another, grinned, gave each other a "high five," a big hug, and immediately began to plan fun-filled activities for just us.

We were now officially done entertaining others and it was time to have fun.

So, if you are interested, here is what we are planning for the rest of the summer and early fall:

1. In the months of July-Sept., we will be fishing for Eastern brook, Lahontan cutthroat, Kamloop and rainbow trout from my small, inflatable raft at small hike-in lakes, such as Frog and Winnemucca (both near Kit Carson Pass), Lower Kinney Lake (near Ebbetts Pass) and Leavitt (near Sonora Pass).

It's a great way to spend an enjoyable day outdoors and the high-mountain scenery is not too shabby, either.

2. Sometime during July, we will fish at Davis Lake, near Portola, Calif., with the expectation of catching lots of rainbow trout and at least one of its Northern Pike, which were illegally introduced into that lake a number of years ago.

3. In early-to-mid July, we plan to be hiking on the Winnemucca Lake Trail to see and photograph the spectacular display of wildflowers along that trail.

This is always one of my most enjoyable outdoor outings of each year.

4. Sometime in mid-to-late July, the plan is to camp for one night at some nearby, high altitude, campground such as Silver Creek Campground (near Ebbetts Pass) or Virginia Lakes Campground (near Conway Summit, south of Bridgeport, Calif.).

This will be a good test, in a controlled environment, to see if Elaine likes to camp out, overnight, on the ground and under the stars.

This overnighter should prove interesting if she hears a strange noise in the middle of the night, while she is sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag.

5. Then in early-to-mid Aug., one of my hunting and fishing partners, Norm Budden of Carson City is going on a big game hunt. He drew an archery, cow elk tag for the Ely area.

So, I have a deep suspicion that I will have to go along to be his camp cook, dish washer, porter, firewood gatherer, rifle bearer, deer-dragger, etc.

Sure hope that he tips well!

6. Then, if everything goes OK and she likes it, in mid-to-late Aug. we are going on a backpack trip to some overnight location, such as Lower Kinney Lake (near Ebbetts Pass), Winnemucca Lake or Lily Pad Lake (near Blue Lakes).

This will be her first-ever, overnight, backpack trip and with any luck, it should provide reams of interesting material for a future column(s).

7. In early Sept. I am going to travel to an area north of Wells, with my son, Jim, to scout for our up-coming, deer hunting trip later in the fall.

We drew rifle, buck, mule deer tags for Big game Management Area No. 7 and that deer hunting season runs from Oct. 4 to Nov. 2.

8. On the way home from that scouting trip, we are going to take a short side trip to Wildhorse Reservoir.

At the reservoir, we plan to visit our friends at the Wildhorse Resort and get in some fishing for large rainbow and German brown trout.

9. In early Oct., Jim, and I will go back to Area No. 7 on our big, deer hunt.

I have already informed Budden that he will also be expected to accompany the two of us as our camp cook, dish washer, porter, firewood gatherer, rifle bearer, deer-dragger, etc.

He performed those duties on my Rocky Mountain goat hunt, two years ago, and I sure hope that he has improved his performances!

There you have it.

Some of our plans for having fun in the Great Outdoors in the upcoming months. And, as with all plans, they are subject to change at a moment's notice.

What do you have planned?

-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you the last time that I went deer hunting in Area No. 7.

If he grins and says, it was about 15-16 years ago, he could have been one of my hunting partners on that trip.


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