The 1999 winners of the last Don Q awards of this century |

The 1999 winners of the last Don Q awards of this century

Don Quilici

In keeping with many years of recognizing selected individuals, clubs, organizations, businesses, etc. for their activities, both good and bad, in the Great Outdoors during the year, here are the 1999 winners of the prestigious and less-than-prestigious annual DON Q Awards:

– BEST DISPLAY OF MOTHER NATURE’S BEAUTY: The spectacular display of the many colorful wildflowers last July along the Winnemucca Lake Trail near Kit Carson Pass, Calif.

– BEST WEDNESDAY NIGHT DRINKS AND DINNER COMBO: My all-time favorite combination of great-tasting Manhattans at the Cutthroat Saloon and New York steaks at the Alpine Restaurant, both in beautiful, downtown Markleeville, Calif.

– IT’S A GREAT LIFE: Rick Gunn, Nevada Appeal photographer, for the many fascinating outdoor trips that he takes during the course of a year. He is currently on a hiking trek in the Himalaya Mountains of Nepal.

– MOST FRUSTRATING: Trying to talk to a real, live person within the Social Security system. It is almost impossible. My response to their automated phone system is “Press This!”

– NEXT MOST FRUSTRATING: Trying to get proof from the military records center that I served four years in the U.S. Air Force. After a wait of three months with no reply, I finally got quick action by contacting Senator Richard Bryan’s office. Many thanks to the Senator’s super and helpful staff.

– PACKHORSE TRIP OF THE YEAR: A two-way tie between Bart Cranney of the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station and Tom and Martha Roberts of the Virginia Lakes Pack Outfit for each of their superb four-day, three night horseback trips into the Hoover Wilderness Area of California.

– FLIGHT OF THE YEAR: The Cessna 185 float plane flight that took Jim and Elaine McGee and yours truly into Kwatodode (“No Tell Um”) Lake in Northern British Colombia for a day of unforgettable rainbow trout fishing.

– BEST FISHING OF THE YEAR: A two-way tie between the 20 consecutive rainbow trout that I caught on 20 different fishing lures in August at No Tell Um Lake in British Columbia and the five memorable cutthroat trout that I caught at Walker Lake on Nov. 6 that weighed more than 26 pounds.

– MOST UPBEAT PERSON: Carol Morey of remote Ookpik Lodge at Babine Lake in British Columbia. Her upbeat, cheerful, pleasant personality made our short stay there one of the most memorable events of our nine-day British Columbia fishing trip.

– MOST SUCCESSFUL DERBY CONTESTANT: Yours truly for finishing first, second and third in John Riordan’s fishing derby, headquartered in April at Topaz Lake. Then, adding insult to injury by winning two of the five categories in his fishing derby in September at Bucks Lake, Calif. Geez, it’s hard to be humble!

– SCARIEST NOISE: The loud hissing that I heard while rowing my inflatable raft at East Lake in the Hoover Wilderness Area. My raft had suddenly developed an unrepairable leak at the base of one of its main air stems. Not good for the nerves!

– SCARIEST SIGHT: The huge black bear that I saw about midnight at Willow Flat, Calif. I saw it at a distance of about 8-10 feet in the light of my small flashlight. He was glaring at me, shaking his head back and forth and snarling. A very scary sight for little Donnie Q.

– THAT’S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE: Yours truly for his selections in one of this season’s weekly NFL football pools. I picked one winner and 12 losers! Wow, 1-12! You couldn’t do that on purpose if you tried. No wonder I never win any raffles.

– IT’S MAGIC: Doug Busey of Douglas County who stared in amazement while his fishing pole was mysteriously dragged into the water. He waded into the water, searched for his pole, finally found it on the bottom and then landed the 27-inch catfish tugging on the other end of his fishing line.

– MOST UNCOUTH HORSE: My horse “Max,” on our summer packhorse trip in the Hoover Wilderness Area. He had a very serious gas problem and none of the other riders wanted to ride behind the two of us. Geez, why swear at me. I was just the rider! Honest, it wasn’t me!

– WORST LUCK OF THE YEAR: Adrian Buonchristiani of Carson City. On three different fishing trips to the Little Walker River, he fell in and lost his glasses, fell in again on his second visit and then on his third and final trip, fell and broke his ankle in two places. Wow, how would you like to follow someone like him across a mine field!

– WORST FISHING NET: Bob Tompkins of the Walker Lake Guide Services of Hawthorne. He was using a “catch and release” net that could have been better used as a soup ladle or tennis racket. That “Mickey Mouse” net has been since mercifully replaced.

– WORST OUTDOOR PERSON: Alan Rogers, a fellow Nevada Appeal columnist. He never goes outdoors unless it is absolutely necessary. His idea of a long hike is to walk from his parked car to the back door of the Nevada Appeal. No marathon running for this guy!

– AM I RUBBING YOU WRONG: Robin Graber, a massage therapist in Carson City. She always picks on me when I tease her. Could I be rubbing her the wrong way? Naw, not me!

– NOT VERY SMART: Norm Budden and Bob “Slick” McCulloch of Carson City. They are my fishing partners and they normally produce absolutely pitiful results. Like fools, they always band together and pick on me whenever the three of us are out on a boat in the middle of a lake. No sweat, I get even by writing bad things about them in the Nevada Appeal, which is read by thousands of people. Gosh, where’s that turnip truck that they are riding?

– YOU DON’T PLAY FAIR: Norm Budden and Bob “Slick” McCulloch for getting even with me for all my harassment of those two poor souls in the Nevada Appeal’s Outdoor Page. They did it by diabolically placing a “For Sale” sign in front of my house which listed the two of them as the realtors! That was a scary sight when I came home from my trip.

– THANKS FOR THE INFO: All of my Eastern Sierra contacts who very graciously provided me with detailed, weekly fishing reports for each of their areas. All the way from Shasta County in the north to Crowley Lake in the south. They made my weekly fishing reports easy to provide to all of you readers.

– VERY SPECIAL THANKS: Rhonda Costa-Landers, lifestyle editor for the Nevada Appeal, for all her superb and invaluable help with my weekly “Outdoor Page.”

– THANKS GANG: All the folks at the Nevada Appeal who help produce the Outdoor Page every Wednesday.

– HAPPY NEW YEAR AND BEST WISHES FOR 2000: All the readers of the Outdoor Page.