|Grendel on Grouse Creek|
|Todd Casting, Grendel Sniffing|
|Fishing with GSPs|
|Cool, Clear Water|
|An Itty Bitty Fishy|
|Bobo Sniffing out the Good Rocks|
|Waiting for Trout|
|Drooling on Grouse Creek|
|Our GSP Water Sprite|
|Seriously, When Did This Dog Start Liking Water?|
|But What's Not to Like About This Water?|
|My Feet Are Submerged in a Mountain Spa|
|That's a Dog Smile|
|Driftwood the Size of a Small Car|
|Bobo and Her Best Buddy|
|Casting Over Dog|
|Trout are Biting|
|Beautiful Afternoon Skies|
Instead of driving into the maw of the Pack River canyon with its massive peaks of weathered granite, gneiss and swift-tumbling waters, we go the opposite direction, heading east into the Cabinet Mountains that span across northern Idaho and western Montana.
We get lost.
If it's not battery cables, it's a wrong turn, but such is the stuff of great adventures. It's not like there's a lot of roads in Kanisku National Forest, so we explore the ranch-lands and make a mental map to make up for our lack of one on paper. Before long we cross the forest service road and travel along a meandering creek, smaller and not as turbulent as the upper Pack River.
Todd can't stand it. He's seen too many fishing holes, so we cut short our drive to go to Big R in Sandpoint. A fishing license turns into an elk and deer tag, too.
Somewhere between the canning supplies and the gun counter, I take a wrong turn and come face-to-face with a retail wall of "bear deterrent." For cross-promotional purposes, Big R should sell "Depends" on this aisle. Seriously, if I come close enough to a grizzly to annoy it with a spritz of cayenne, I'm also going to need an adult diaper.
The attendant at the gun counter is helpful. He even suggests that I shoot the buck eating my strawberries, as it is a known fact in Bonner County that the circuit judge refuses to try locals for poaching deer. He doesn't even try to sell me a license. It seems I have quirky rights as a local gardener; the local deer have none.
Yet, leaving Big R, I realize that I've spent more on pectin and jars than Todd has on his multiple licenses to pack our freezer with protein.
Thus we return to Grouse Creek armed with fly-rod, elk-hair catis flies and dogs to point the way. I have packed my essential gear, too--book, camera, picnic food, kibble for "good dogs" and a walking stick that also serves as my imaginary bear-nose-buster.
If a creek were ever perfect, Grouse Creek would take top honors. Gurgling clear water, melon-sized rocks of metamorphic minerals and biting trout.
Grendel, our male GSP, used to loathe water. Somewhere between Lake Superior and northern Idaho he morphed into a water sprite. The dogs splash every potential hole and riffle for Todd. Nonetheless he catches (and releases) a dozen trout and only loses one fly to a willow.
We walk back to the Blue Goose happy for our day. The dogs are blissfully exhausted, my pockets are full of rocks and my feet still tingle from soaking in a cool mountain spa. We eat tuna fish sandwiches and peas from the farmers market, watching the sun set behind the mountains.
Life is good even 10 miles from the pond.