Wednesday, July 2, 2008


We breakfasted at the Sunglow Cafe in Bicknell, long a stop on the trail to the Aquarius Plateau. I was still involved in things other than the moment, half glancing at the menu while my mind raced on the subjects of where to best go to find the pond to motorcycle-lust brought on by the three parked outside the cafe. The sun really did glow just outside, and the Thousand Lakes and Boulder Mountain basked in that effulgence just outside, but in hindsight, I hadn't given them yet a second glance. The mountain would have her figurative pound of flesh for that lack of reverence, though.
We made a few choices amongst many less so in our decision to head across the Parker and Awapa toward Posey. The road skirts the Aquarius to the west of the mountain and rewards even the most casual observer with beauty inexpressible.
When we arrived at Posey, we moseyed back and forth figuring out our approach. We decided to start from the established picnic area, thinking that the trailhead would lead us to our destination, or at least toward it for a ways.
After three quarters of a mile in a direction away from where the GPS unit identified as the likely place for the fishery and straight up an incline, we struck off through the bush. The area had been burned in recent history, and much of the dead wood had become deadfall, obstructing our movement in almost any direction over hill or through dale.
After hiking for a half mile or so, I stopped to reaffirm our general direction. My dumb GPS had been jumping to and fro for much of the hike. I recalibrated the electronic compass and checked the direction, and it still varied by at least thirty degrees. Walking only a little further, I stopped again, much to the annoyance of my companion Ryan. "This stupid compass is a full one hundred eighty degrees turned around. North is reading south and vice versa." I thought that even if the poles weren't reversing in rapid succession, the GPS should be able to figure things out from the satellite's triangulations. I wasn't sure what to think. He stated that his machine had to be moving to work, but I explained that mine shouldn't need to move in order to show a course assuming that the compass was working.
I don't usually follow the danged machine so closely, choosing to use it to mark special spots on the map or to aid in navigation, rather than enable it. I began to follow the machine only a little less rigidly. I tentatively scanned the terrain for indicators of water and shed, and after another half mile, we found the spot that we were looking for.
In theory.
The ponds were a bog with a fifteen square yard area covered over by lily pads and another completely dry. We weren't sure what to do or think, since this was obviously not the area described by our float tube wielding angler friend. The map and GPS said yes, but our disappointed eyes and spirits said no way.
Ryan lead the way off to the west to look for the real spot that had to be close by...

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