When we arrived in Arizona, the first leg of our 2017 River Ramble adventure, we were excited about more than just fishing. As a matter of fact, we spent the early part of our time in Arizona hiking, enjoying the outdoors, meeting up with old friends, hanging out with our daughter Kelly and yes, we still did manage to find a river to fish before our first “official” TU Top 100 river of 2017.
We set up camp at the Lake Pleasant Recreation Area in North Peoria, AZ, a burb of Phoenix. We took some time to hike around the area trails, stumbling upon some burros grazing on the side of the hill. Beautiful cactus of so many different types were everywhere. We also found some beautiful wildflowers already blooming along the trails. We especially enjoyed the yellow poppies that seemed to be the first up in the desert landscape.
We did find a river to fish just north out of Sedona called Oak Creek. When we contacted some of the local guides about fishing the river, we learned that the river was blown out by melting snow from the mountains around Flagstaff. Such news might discourage others, but Barb and I still ventured up Oak Creek Canyon to see the river and wet a line. It looked like a green veggie smoothie flowing downstream. While the fishing wasn’t great, the scenery was. The drive up and down the canyon was spectacular.
When we got back to Phoenix, Kelly was off work and we were able to go to a farmer’s market and a street fair. Later on, we attended an Arizona Rattlers Indoor Football League game as well as a Suns game. The fans in Phoenix are very lout and proud of the home team. We had a blast with Kelly, exploring Phoenix and just hanging out.
Some of our dear friends from Lincoln NE, Ted and Deborah Watson, came to Phoenix to visit their daughter and we had a chance to catch up with them as well. Its always so much fun to see them. We had the pleasure of going to their daughter, Katherine and her husband Brian’s home for burgers and beers. Then after they’d hit the links, we met up for BBQ in Cave Creek. We’re already planning a meet up in South Dakota as we traverse the US from west to east in August.
Next, Chuck and Marty Raplinger invited us to join them and their Benedictine College Raven college buddies for a weekend of baseball, BBQ’s and pickleball. Terry and Sandy Cullen were the ringleaders of our pickleball matches and helped us learn how to play the game. As you can see in the pictures, everyone had a lot of fun in the sun and at the ball game. While I whiffed at my share of pickleball shots, I’m already looking forward to seeing everyone next year if they’ll have us back. By then, maybe the muscles I’d not used in forever will be recovered and ready to play more pickleball.
Finally, we were joined by a couple of fishing buddies, James Kelley and Dan McCormack, as well as James’ son Andy to fish the Colorado River, Lees Ferry Reach. Before we fished however, we attended a game at Sloan Park between the last two World Series champs, the Royals and Cubs. The Royals came out victorious, but, it’s just spring training. Hopefully, this will carry over into the regular season. Who knows, maybe they could meet in the 2017 Series.
Once we got to Lees Ferry, it was fish on! We went out on the river with Skip Dixon and Kevin Campbell of Lees Ferry Anglers. We motored upstream from the Lees Ferry put in, where the Grand Canyon raft trips begin. We were in search of beautiful rainbow trout, not rapids. We found them in some of the most beautiful areas we’ve fished. And yes, while it’s really not about the fish, we DID catch some beautiful ones. We also had a chance to tour some of the cave dwellers ruins, more wildflowers and a picturesque view of Horseshoe Bend before the sun set on our Arizona adventure…. giving us memories that will be with us forever.