Happy New Year! As I begin 2006, with high expectations, dreams and hopes, there are some selected personal outdoor memories from 2005:
Snow Flowers along the highway to Davis Lake, Calif.: I have never seen so many beautiful snow flowers as we did in mid-June. They were everywhere. The flowers were mixed with large patches of blue Lupine and yellow "Skunk Cabbage." It was a breathtaking display of Mother Nature's beauty.
Catching a Harbor Porpoise in Sitka, Alaska: While bottom fishing for Halibut at 425 feet in the ocean, west of Sitka, a school of Harbor Porpoises swam past our boat. One of the Porpoises became entangled in my line and all hell broke loose!
Before it finally broke my line and swam away, it put on an awesome display of leaping, twisting, diving and swimming. Geez, I would have given it a "10" at the summer Olympics!
Elaine's first deer hunting trip: I took her on a deer hunt in King's Canyon, west of Carson City. The memories of that trip include: 1. Elaine constantly looking down for snakes on the ground, while in an area where I have never ever seen snakes. 2. Slyly conning her into carrying my heavy backpack, while all I carried was my deer rifle.
Fall colors of the Quaking Aspen leaves: This year was one of the most-ever impressive displays of Fall colors in the Hope Valley area of Calif. Each time we went there, it was more and more enjoyable and the colors were more vivid and more photogenic.
Harvesting the first-ever crop of Horseradish at our cabin: Last year, we planted four horseradish roots, and waited patiently for them to grow, only to see the deer eat the plants down to the ground.
This year, we surrounded the plants with chicken wire to foil the deer, and it worked! The horseradish took your breath away and made you cry when we had it with Prime Rib. Whew! Was it ever hot!
October trip to visit special folks in Tennessee: We spent a memorable five-days, visiting with Jerry and Mary Herbison of Dellrose, Tennessee. The two of them and I have served for a number of years as Moderators on the Internet website www.ModernSportsman.Com, but had never met eye to eye.
It was old-fashioned Southern Hospitality combined with old-fashioned Southern cooking. It doesn't get much better!
Replacing My Little Red Pickup: I tried twice in 2004 with disastrous results.
The first time, a hailstone storm trashed my new, bright yellow, little 4X4 pickup in Denver. The second time, I had two heart attacks, just before leaving for Denver, again.
So, I wised up and bought a brand new 2005 bright red little pickup right here in Carson City. It pays to shop at home.
Visiting the Bass Pro Shop Headquarters: This is located in Springfield, Mo., and was one of the highlights of visiting friends in nearby Carthage. Sadly (Or perhaps very fortunately!), I was unable to purchase all of the big, bulky "Goodies" I lusted for, due to having to fly home.
Watching buck mule deer fight from our cabin deck: In late October, while watching a 6x4 buck playfully locking antlers with a 3x3, we noticed a yearling buck with tiny horns, curiously watching the action. Unable to contain himself, he charged in and banged the big buck in the side, which resulted in the little guy being chased all over the mountainside by the big guy.
Geez, never pick a fight with someone bigger than you!
Watching that 6x4 buck: He was the grand daddy of all the deer that visited our cabin this year. And, I strongly suspect that based on the shape of his antlers, he was also the 6x5 from the previous year.
He visited us on many occasions, we learned to enjoy his visits and were crushed when we found out he had been killed while trying to cross the road to Davis Lake.
He will be sadly missed.
A member of the "I'll get even with you, Norm Budden, club": Susan Hallahan of Reno, who asked him why we did not catch any fish while ice fishing at Chimney Creek Reservoir.
That fork-tongued, practical joker looked her right in the eye and solemnly replied: "First of all, you need an ice auger to drill a hole in the ice. Then, pick out a lure, put it on your line and walk away from the hole for about 50 yards. Turn and try to cast your lure into the hole. Ice fishing is very difficult because it is so hard to hit that 8-inch hole from that distance. That's why we don't catch very many fish."
And, she honestly believed it, until everyone began to laugh.
n Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you which of my 2005 Resolutions I did not accomplish.
If he grins and says, "Don did not get a Royal Flush on a video poker machine," he could be a close friend of mine.
n Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.