Monday, December 3, 2007

Monday Dec. 3rd AGAIN!

OK, I made it back to Los Angeles in once piece but once again, I had a little horror moment at the airport when all the bags had come and the people had gone and I was still waiting for my blue bag with my waders, wading boots, rain jacket and reel, etc.; all very expensive top of the line items and nowhere in sight! Gads, here we go could one bag get there without the other when they were checked in together at the exact same time? So I waited and I waited and the guy took my baggage check tags upstairs and was gone for what seemed like an eternity. The entire customs area was cleared of people now as they were all on their way to either connecting flights or home. So, I sat and finally the guy returned and guess what? He had my blue bag with him. I’m not going to even try to figure that one out...I was just very happy to see that bag so finally I was out of customs, returning my just found bag back to the luggage handlers to transfer to my other flights and off to a new terminal to do more waiting, Good thing my flight wasn’t for another 2 1/2 hrs.

Now I’m on the plane from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. Only a 1 hr and 20 minute flight and then another wait there, until my flight to Butte which doesn’t leave until around 9:30 PM. I’m getting closer and it’s getting colder. The temp in Salt Lake is 34 and I’m sure will be even colder in Butte.

Actually it was warmer in Butte...figure that one out! It was in the 40’s which is a heat wave compared to what the temperature has been...frozen pipes, remember? So I managed to get all my luggage so I was homeward bound for the last and final leg of the trip....and as it turns out, my calculation was off; it only took 29-1/2 hours to get home from door to door. Yeah, ONLY 29-1/2! No snow on Homestake Pass and no ice but wow, what a dark night. I was the only car for miles and it was pitch black out there.

The girls were thrilled to see me and I was ecstatic to see them....that’s Maggie and Madison (dog and cat). So now it’s back to reality and work, work, work. It was a great trip and one of the more relaxing New Zealand trips for me. Usually I do much more running around and don’t get much chance to stop and smell the roses. Oh, and that reminds me...the roses down there...I’ve never in my life seen such beautiful roses.

They seem to grow like weeds and they are very fragrant. So many gorgeous gardens and I can’t say enough how nice it is to visit New Zealand in the springtime.

I had marvelous weather and good fishing except at the end and that was a weather issue.

I’d highly recommend visiting New Zealand in November as it is before the hectic tourist season really gets underway and is much less busy. Once February comes around look out. The population explodes with tourists so November is a great time to visit. If anyone would like to do an itinerary similar to the one I just did, you can contact me for information and I’d be happy to organize something similar or to your exact specifications. After all, this is what I do for a living. Until we meet this way again, tight lines and best wishes for a festive holiday season.

Mary E. Smiley
Angler’s Passport Travel
Whitehall, Montana USA

Mount Cook

This morning Ian, the owner of the cottage where I am staying, and I got up early and headed for Mount Cook. I’d never driven all the way up there so we decided to make an early start and go all the way up to it. Ian was kind enough to do the driving and his Peugeot was the perfect car for dashing up and back. I was on a mission to take some photos of Mt Cook and the simply gorgeous blooming lupin all over the place. It was another crappy day in Pleasant Point, but just as we got over to the other side of the hills, to what they call the high country, it was sunny and clear as a bell with blue, blue skies. The perfect day for Aoraki.

We drove directly to the base of the mountain and had coffee at the Hermitage Hotel there and then came the photo essay for me. I took about 100 pictures on this little jaunt and wow, what a pretty day. The lupin are in bloom everywhere. I’d never seen lupin in so many colors; oranges, yellow, pink, purple, blue, peach.....and with the blue sky and white snowcapped mountains, it was great photo shooting.

We stopped at Lake Tekapo for a bite of sushi before charging back to Pleasant Point in just enough time for me to pack up the car and make my mad dash back to Christchurch to turn in the car and go to the airport for my flight to Auckland and on to Los Angeles. Once again my friends Susan and Ari met me at the airport and took me to a little restaurant near where they live for a quick bite of dinner and then off I went at 8:30PM. I got to Auckland with only enough time to spare, to take the free bus to the international airport, buy my departure tax and go straight to the gate where they were just ready to start boarding my 747-400 plane to Los Angeles. I’m not crazy about these late departing flights. This one doesn’t depart until 11 PM and that’s just too late for me.

So, next stop Los Angeles where I will have to clear customs and return my luggage for my flights to Salt Lake City and then on to Butte, MT where I won’t arrive until 11 PM Monday night. This means around 36 hours on the road from door to door. I’m really looking forward to seeing my dog and not being on a schedule for a while!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sunday cold and wet

Well, today was an exact repeat of yesterday weather wise, with one actually rained a bit on us. Once again visibility was horrible trying to spot fish. You simply must have sun to have much of a chance at spotting fish in these streams. When dealing with faster moving water and riffles, where the fish often are, without sun you can’t detect a shadow and often all you can see is a dark spot. You can stare at it until you get a headache trying to determine if this dark spot has a tail and moves!!!

So, I went out with a different guide today and we stayed close to home, which also meant lots of people to contend with. Being a Sunday, we ran into people everywhere we went in the holes we wanted to fish. If not other fishermen, then it was kids and dogs playing in water, or 4 wheeling in cars and ATV’s so it was kind of hopeless. We fished blind which I hate doing and I only picked up a few very small fish on dry flies.

It was another day of tons of walking and unproductive fishing. I finally called it a day around 3:30 or so having had enough of blind fishing which is not what people come to New Zealand to do, and no fish. If we’d gone to the high country, the weather would have been sunny and clear and it would have made for a nicer day. Probably would have had fewer people messing with the water too. Well that’s it for fishing for this trip. I’d have to give the North Island the gold star for fishing on this trip. It was far superior to the South Island this go round. I think the South Island streams are getting way more pressure and there don’t seem to be as many fish as there used to be either.

Well, only one more sleep in New Zealand and then it’s homeward bound.