We’re back to the cabins after a successful day of collecting and tagging fish on Sulphur creek. I’ve been struggling a bit, I was hauling the tagging station yestreday and slipped into a ground squirrel hole. The resulting jolt pulled a muscle in my left leg. I’ve been gimping around and trying to heal up a bit before the 4 mile walk to Boundary creek tomorrow. I think I’m going to be OK.
After we returned, I heard an unusual plane flying high overhead. I didn’t pay much nevermind, but it circled, dropped rapidly, and landed at the field. Turns out it was the family they have been expecting for a few days and they were flying in an antique.
I’m not a plane buff, but I knew this was old. it has the feel of WWII. It is a French built surveillance plane used mainly in South America. It is powered by a nine cylinder radial engine, something that is simply quite rare this day and age. The last one I saw up close was when I was working for Cascade Airways in Pullman, Washington. That was a huge Super Catalina, similar to the one that Jaques Cousteau had on his television shows. They sure smoke when they fire up in the morning, oil seeps into the lower cylinders after a prolonged stop.
This is the young family that flew from California to Oshkosh and now to Sulphur Creek. They were delayed by fog in Oshkosh.
Except for their mother. She was on crutches (looked like a scoped knee surgery) and I didn’t want to post an unflattering picture. These kids are quiet and sooo cute. They just rolled their eyes at me and Praxy. Rick was able to get a “Hi!” out of the young boy, he has a way with people. I’m sure they will entertain us at dinner tonight.
I chatted with the cook and she was planning pork chops for tonight with much trepidation. She laughed at the previous try. She served some last week and they were as tough as leather, hardly anyone could eat them and there were plenty of left overs. I laughed at her plight, then suggested searing them on the BBQ, then baking them in some sort of gravy to soften them and keep them moist. She is going to try to BBQ and do a quick test, then try my idea if they are tough. I’m curious how this will turn out.
The manager grabbed me about that time and asked if I would like to see the repairs done to the hydro plant. Of course!
This is a Pelton wheel, powered by water piped about 1/4 mile down from Blue Moon creek. It spun a bearing and ruined the shaft, this caused by an improper repair done last year. They flew the part out to Boise, and a machine shop built a new shaft. They then flew out a specialist to reinstall the repaired parts. The silicone was added when the housing leaked after reassembly. It is still weeping around the new bearing, hopefully the seal will expand as it gets more use.
The 220 volt generator. I believe this is about 10 years old, I remember the old owner talking about replacing the very old original generator. They have up graded to a load distribution center which should take some of the pressure off of the system, especially in mid summer when water can be a little bit in short supply. There are a bunch of electric water heaters competing for power. I’ve noticed ours is on about 1/2 the time. More than enough. I figure 9 water heaters, 2 walk in refrigerators, 1 walk in freezer, and a hoard of lights and electrical outlets. Quite a system, I’m completely impressed. And all of it out here on an island in the middle of the wilderness.
Updating on the second night at Camas creek, two evenings of rain and thunderstorms…
The final night in Sulphur creek found us all around the fire enjoying a quiet evening. We were downwind from a forest fire somewhere on the Deadwood river drainage, but it was no big deal. A pilot said the fire was 10 miles away from the ranch.
Even the dogs were peaceful, it had been a long two days of collecting and tagging fish.
Next morning, up at 6:30am for breakfast…
This is typical fare for the guests, both overnight and fly-in. Two eggs, hashbrowns, meat (sausage or in this case bacon), biscuits and gravy, orange juice, coffee, and fresh fruit; melons, blueberries, strawberries, etc. I was down to a half breakfast by now, the meals are huge and filling here. Novia ate a little oatmeal and fresh fruit, her appetite isn’t big like us fish tagging men. The cooks were very accommodating. Praxy liked salad, so every night there was a freshly made green salad made especially for her.
The young family left in their plane…
And shortly after we loaded our plane and walked out to Boundary creek.
My pulled muscle gave me no problem, I hiked out without a hitch. Yay. We got into our Jeep, drove to Lola campground, then picked up and moved to Iron creek campground near Stanley. I didn’t want to drive a long way every day.
Next we are at Valley creek.