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  • Monday, September 21, 2009

    What A Terrible Place

    Impenetrable Willow Jungles
    bears & bison & moose
    lots of fish too
    (All images are 'clickable' - some are huge!)

    .. It's just not a wholesome place to visit. The Duck Creek Meadows are six or seven times the size of National Park Meadows.
    .. They are closed right now because of bears. Bison haunt the pine and willow thickets. Moose gallop from bog to marsh. The flats are dusty. The road in to this place is dusty & full of tank traps.
    .. There are dark pools in the rivers. Campanula Creek drains the uplands, Richards Creek drains the high meadows. Both join Gneiss Creek to form Duck Creek in the self-same tangle of mosquito bogs and dense willows. The meanders are so convoluted it's hard to tell which creek is which.
    .. The neighbors want you to become mired in the muck and goo. They have even erected a sign so that you don't get lost. Just follow the arrow.
    .. The NPS is vigilant in it's warnings. This is now & always has been, one of the most clearly marked boundaries in all of Yellowstone National Park. Enter at your own risk!
    .. Despite the terrible road & despite the dust & despite the fact that the guides and feather merchants ignore this bit of paradise; the neighbors visit regularly.
    .. Armed with bear spray, ribald songs and hoots like drunken owls they trudge the paths and game trails in search of fish. Some even catch fish. There are tagged fish to be caught and they should be reported.
    .. There is "mouse water" right at the boundary between the forest and the park. It's best in the glow of twilight. That's when the trout turn into bass. They cavort in the darkness. They splash as would a brick dropped from a mosquito. They eat things full of calories and fur.
    .. The scenery here is drab and mundane. The pedestrian surroundings have kept the gawkers and casual visitors from this vest-pocket wilderness. After all, it's necessary to leave your car behind. The best catching water is out of sight of your vehicle - horror of horrors!
    .. Guides spurn the place. Internet forums tell and retell tales of once visited - twice shy experiences. After all, the glory of fishing in Yellowstone National Park is narrated in terms of waters adjacent to the roads. We're pleased that this is the case.
    .. The cosmopolitan fishers write the books and articles. They go where others have gone. They relate the same stories of the same places and vicariously wade in the footfalls of long dead authors and current celebrities. [Hint: rivers do change!]
    .. We catch hell every time we make mention of the neighborhood fishing holes. Rightly so! This is a bit of paradise that requires intimacy. It's not a simple fishery. You don't just show up and catch.
    .. Walking is required, (a tough task for aged legs,) but it's worth it. Frequent visitation will allow an understanding of the personality of the meadows and their waters. Wet years are best - for fish, fishers, and mosquitoes. The holes are darker: the willows thicker, the visitors fewer.
    .. Experts and authors become instant novices in the face of the six little creeks in this basin. After all they only have a few hours to visit. Guides can't brag about the number and size of their mosquito bites. Feather merchants haven't developed the "perfect fly" for these waters. It's just a wasteland.
    .. Campanula, Cougar, Duck, Gneiss, Maple, & Richards Creeks are not storied in "THE LITERATURE."
    .. The fish that are caught are small and few - so say the visiting fishers. They probably never caught a fish in Gneiss Creek or, for that matter, Maple Creek. Not in the legends! Too hard! Too small! How many springs dot the shores of the creeks? Not mentioned in the guide books! How about the beaver ponds on Richards Creek? Where?
    .. We spent the weekend on the edge of the bear closure. There was rain each morning, and on & off all day each and every day. The mosquitoes loved it. We caught some fish. We reported a 13" tagged rainbow.
    .. We can't wait until the September, 30th opening of Area "B": then we can visit the springs and swamps, and pools, and snags, and mosquitoes, along Richards Creek. It should be just in time for some submarines. But, you didn't hear it here!
    .. Appearing below is a little video compiled in the dark of night. A warning to the adventurous: stay out of this wasteland. You have to abandon your car and walk to the catching!