Monday, October 17, 2011

THE ADVENTURES OF KEITH AND ME byEUGENE

The Adventures of Keith Webb and ME
By Eugene
Donkey Lake, Boulder Mountain   Keith   Norm
Fishing the Uinta’s   Lightning and thunder was just showing us what it could do.  It was beautiful and scary.  We were well above “Timber-Line” sleeping under the only tree around.  We had our camp in the rocks just above the lake but our sleeping quarters was under a lonely tree. When it was time for bed we walked about 80 yards up the mountain, it was a wonderful spot, fairly level with some pine needles and cones to sleep on.  We had been sleeping here for at least a week and loved it.  A storm was coming tonight so we went to bed early; we had already eaten supper and were tired.  We watched the rain-clouds move in.  We had already made sure our plastic tarp was tied to the tree on one side and rocked down on the other.  Our bags were now warm and cozy.  Normally, we watched the stars, but tonight we would have the most beautiful lightning display.  We had seen the dark clouds coming we knew we were going to have rain and may be a little lightning but.  Never before or since had we ever witnessed a storm like it.  The lightning was striking cloud to cloud, big flashes of light and thunder just a second away.  Well cloud to cloud is normally safe, but we were camping on Rainbow Lake at 11,400 feet and we were in those clouds.   We did not have to look above the tarp but out the side and below it. 
Boulder Mountain Camp   Keith    Norm
We had both experienced lightning storms in the High County before and knew it was not good to be under a lone tree but neither one of us was about to move.  Where would we go anyway?   Well the storm passed and the sun was out in the morning.
We were talking about this and the old times.  When he told me he sure would like to go to Rainbow Lake, the one at the head of the Uinta River.  I had never heard of it.  Someone somewhere had told him about five and six pound Book Trout, what the heck, our wives were tired of us being under foot, so off we went.  We arrived at the trail head on the Uinta River about ten o-clocks that morning.  Our pack-racks were loaded at home with just the barest essentials, a sack of pancake flour, sugar, salt, bacon and Maple extract for syrup and sleeping bags.  Neither one weighed 35 pounds.  It was a long way, 20 miles to the first lake and that wasn’t Rainbow.  The trail wasn’t really that steep.  After about 16 miles up Keith lost me and called for me to hurry up.  When I showed up I had a hat full of Wild Strawberries, they were all over and all along the trail but I was afraid they would not be there to pick at the first lake.  Well soon after this there was stream just full of small cut-throats.  I told him it was supper-time, catch us some fish and I’ll get the fire going.  We must have eaten twenty of them, with biscuits topped with strawberries.  What a life.  The next morning we arrived at the Kidney Lakes (I think that was its name) where we caught some more fish for breakfast.  We fished a while because they were really biting.
There was a cabin here.  I think it was built either by the Forest Service or the Ranchers when they packed the camper in here.  It was too far to bring fishermen here and return in one day.  I don’t think it was locked but we were not interested in it.  In a couple of miles we came to another small good fishing lake but from the way the mountains formed we knew that we were about there.
Rainbow Lake was a beautiful Lake sitting in big rock basin.  The water was clear and deep, no vegetation, nothing.  There was nothing on the banks there to produce feed, so there had to be shrimp and hellgrammites or something like that in the lake.   The only thing growing was a small weather beaten tree and some brush in the fold of a canyon.  This was where we made our camp to sleep in.  We made our cooking camp just above the lake.  The fire-pit was already made and rocks to site and eat from, all the comforts of home but the fire wood was far away and at times windy, but it was our home for the next ten days. 
It took a while to learn how to fish the stupid lake.  It was deep; it was rocky to walk around.  During the day the brooks seems to go to the bottom where only metal lures work, I hate lures.  Big wooly worms on ten foot of two pound test leader worked mornings and evenings.  But even then the woolies only worked if you jiggled them or trolled them so very slow.  It was fun but a pain.  We explored and fished here and there and I liked that.  There was no grass and no Picas or Martins or for that matter, very little wild life.
Gene's  Dad's 1936 Ford    near Lower Bowns Reservoir  Boulder Mountain
Rainbow really was slow fishing; I believe the big ones had eaten the smaller one long before we got there.  They were at the end of the cycle; they were eating themselves out of house and home.  Then there were some really cold winters and being 11,400 feet, who knows how cold the temperature dipped to.  If the lake wasn’t so deep the ice cover and the cold would have killed them long ago.  Some of the Brookies we caught had two years of eggs, and one had three sets of eggs still in them; they would probably die next spring if they didn’t get rid of them.  That was why they were so fat.  The big heads told us that they were really old.     And I liked the smaller ones on the lakes below us.  The biggest we caught were about four pounds and I know there were bigger ones that that in there.  The biggest cut-throats were maybe three pounds and they were more fun to catch, they were in better shape and really wild.  
Fruita, Wayne County
Ten days later here comes a troop of scouts without leaders, I never did know even if they had a leader.  As soon as they spotted us up they came.  We are lost and we haven’t eaten anything in two days, they cried.  Okay, but I need wood and off they went.  They ate us out of house and home.  The entire pancake four was eaten up.  What syrup was left they drank it.  The big fish we were going to take home for show soon disappeared but we were glad to pawn them off on them, we were wondering what to do with them.  We did not want to eat them or take them home, but they surely loved them.  We had lots of wood leftover so Keith burned his sleeping bag and pack-rack and everything he had.  And down the trail we went.  It was dark or almost dark when we got to the car.  We finally got to Roosevelt where we ate and filled our gas tank for a long old drive home.  We always left home in the dark and came back in the dark, to get the maximum time fishing or hunting.  What a wonderful trip. 
Keith was born in Lark, Utah and started school there.  Keith’s mother, Olive Webb was one of the many Petersons living there.   In about the 2nd grade the family moved to Salt Lake City where he began going to school in West High School.  Norman Steele tells how he was so smart they advanced him one grade.   That’s how he got up in our grade, he was the youngest boy in our graduating class and I was the oldest.  Sometime during those early years Keith’s parents divorced and Olive married Everett Allinson and had two more children, Bill and Dan.  Both Keith and LaVae kept their Webb name.  Keith had lots of friends his own age and even cousins to play with.  Well, life in Lark was no different from mine; there were lots of things to see and do.  We were always hunting rabbits and shooting rats at the Lark Dump.

Kids were still having fun and getting in trouble.  Everett, Keith’s dad loved to go over to Nicolette’s to talk and eat his home-made goat cheese and have a glass of home-brewed wine with it.  I liked the cheese quite well but Keith got to like the wine too much.  One day he got so drunk he couldn’t stand up and was he sick.  So, he ended that problem, he quit drinking.  Keith was never adopted but Ev but grew to love Ev quite a bit.  I remember going hunting with the two of them, Ev was quite a wrangler.  I guess that was where Danny got his love of horses.  Ev got on his horse and off they went straight up this steep mountain in Butterfield.  I expected them to come tumbling down but they didn’t.    
Keith talked about where his dad took him up in Idaho, never about him or how much he liked him.  Keith and his dad, John Webb must have kept in touch, his father was an underground miner for the US Mine in lark and left there to work in Idaho.   Apparently Keith was with his Dad for a time and wanted to go back.  So, off we go.   I think we went in Norm’s Dad’s Buick, but Keith was definitely in charge.  It had to be in the late 1940’s when the roads and cars were terrible and unreliable.  We had travelled it seemed like forever and we finally stopped in probably Arco, Idaho and it was dark.  I was riding in the back-seat with Norm’s bottle of wine and when I got out of the car the bottle followed me and there it lay in the gutter red wine everywhere.  It also broke his heart; he being under-age had a hell of a time buying it.  We came to Mackay before noon and it was deserted.  The man running the service station there said, “The Forest Ranger emptied the town and all travellers to fight that fire over there.”  So we left town in a hurry.  The ride was boring nothing but low hills and sagebrush.  There were many signs of Big Lost River and Little Lost Rivers but I never seen any kind of water, sitting or running.  It was the called the Donkey Hills and I believed them.  I asked Keith if we were lost and I could see that I should have been quite.   Anyway we fished every body of water in the Lost 
River Range and the Lemhi Range.  In time we found the Pahsimeron River Valley.  Keith showed us the road where his dad used to live, but we didn’t go to see it.  We did catch and eat quite a few Dolly Varden trout in a few creeks that entered it.  They almost looked like Brook Trout; they had spots on them too but the big ones looked more ell like, long and skinny.  But we were after the “Big Ones” so we followed the river close to where it dumped into the Salmon River.  Flies were definitely not working so I put some salmon eggs on (I think they were illegal).  They must have been because something hit my eggs and off he went me running to keep up.  I lost him hook line and all.  It seems like we got to Challis I can’t remember Salmon City.  We followed the Salmon River its head-waters at Red Fish Lakes and Stanley.  This was where we found the remains of hundreds of dead Salmon that had died after depositing their eggs. Everything was beautiful all the way to Ketchum and then home.   
“Graduation Night”, was not a time for girls, dinners or drinking for us.  We piled in my car and off we went.  Dave, Keith and I had travelled here and there and now it was night and very dark.  We came to this river and had no idea where we were.  The tent was up in a few minutes, a fire going and we were cooking something or other.  We stayed up quite late talking and keeping the fire fed.  Then we had a stupid visitor, what it was we never knew.  It ran up the tent on one side and down it on the other side, all night long. We still had no idea where we were, not even what State we were in, Utah or Wyoming and didn’t even care.  There was fish to catch and rabbits to shoot, and we were having a good time.  One of us brought I a huge bird of some kind, it took a while until we identified it as a male Sage Hen.  “I can cook him”, so, Keith put him in this big pot of his and cooked him for seven hours.  After my potatoes that were glued together with Lard and a bird too tough to eat, we were in trouble.  We were also in the wrong State for our license; we were breaking the law with the bird. 
“Wayne Wonderland” Keith, Norm and I worked for Kennecott Copper Corp. and we used any excuse to go fishing, my boss threatened to fire me a few times.  I loved being on strike.  It was hard to get vacations at the same time.  Norm had all kinds of ideas on where to go he already been down to Southern Utah a few times before he took Keith and me there.  The plan was to go straight down to Fruita to get some frozen meat, so it wouldn’t spoil while camping at Donkey Lake.  Fruita was in “Wayne Wonderland” and it was truly a wonderland, I’ll never forget waking up in the morning and seeing for the first time. 
A few days later we pulled into Levi Bullard’s yard on his Fish Creek Ranch, beautiful place just back of the Cock’s Comb ridge.  The Cock’s Comb stuck straight up in the center of the valley.  Levi gave us all a horse, loaded up his pack animals and off we went.  This time we went to Donkey and other times we went to Blind Lake, Pear and Fish Creek Lake.  There was a good lake near Donkey called Shadow.  Time and time again we called Levi up, sometimes taking David Thorne, Nuffy Korologos and others.
The fish then were huge by today’s standards; they hadn’t been fished all during the war-years.  Lower Bounds Reservoir had an 18 pound fish caught out of it.  I caught several in the six pound range.  The outlet had a large pool where they could swim back into the lake.  We had many arguments on whose turn it to fish it.  One day it was definitely my turn and guess who was in my hole, “Keith”, I could have killed him.  “Help, Help he cried, I got a big one”.  You stole my fish, “Good Bye”.  Well I did help him, anyway and it was a good one.  One afternoon Norm went way down the stream and down Oak Creek.  Did you hear that, “I asked Keith?  Sounds like a duck to me.  Norm’s help did sound like a quack to me to.  A little later here comes Norm on the run and white as a ghost.  A mountain lion had been playing cat and mouse with Norm and just about had him.  The next morning we went down there with our rifles, of course there was no cougar when you want one.  He showed us where he climbed up out of the gorge.  No, it’s too steep impossible, but he made it.
The fish in Johnson’s Reservoir and for about fifty yards below it was just like that.  Some were so big they broke your line swimming up-stream back into the lake.  For years it was like that until they raised the dam it up the last time and put a screen in it.   
Keith Webb   Levi with 2 pack horses  Gene H  Nuffy K 
Fishing was hard, there was no such thing as a spinning reel and the bait-casting reels you could buy then was just a bunch of junk.  Fly pole and reels were ok.  In those days they poles were made of steel or bamboo.  The rafts we made could have killed us.  As soon as spinning reels and fiberglass poles were invented, we had them.  The invention of just bubbles that could be filled with air, water or sinkers made fishing easier. 
Keith was fun and always so full of enthusiasm, once on a subject he kept a going or should I say talking.  He sometimes got so carried away, he forgot we were there.  So, Dave and I made an agreement, just to see how long he could talk without us saying a word.  We went to SLC to see a movie.  He hadn’t caught on by the time we had gotten into the theater.  So, now after about two hours and a half, he was still going strong.  And we made it all the way to my house, three hours before he stopped to listen to my answer on the plans for tomorrow.  When I wouldn’t say anything and didn’t answer he finally caught on to our trick and he was not happy about it. 
Keith & Vivian's Wedding
Everyone back then had a nick-name.  I called him “Skeeter, mine was most often Halvey and Thorne’s was always Snuffy and he hated it, Kenny’s was Cougar or Swede.  We took all our classes in school together.  One day Keith brought a tea-pot to school and “The Boss” (a no non since teacher) caught him, first we saw the tea-pot sailing across the Shop, then Keith. 
One day, on the way to Saratoga, we found all these cute lively friendly Bluffdale girls out by the side of the road, of course we stopped.  Vivian and Keith hit it right off, love at first sight.  Viv lined me up with all most every girl in Bluffdale and Riverton but I was not ready to settle down.  They were married by the time the Korean War came.  Keith was sent to a Rail Transport Unit up in Ogden and then was sent back to Virginia for the remainder of his time.  They must have boarded with or made friends with a lady who made all these wonderful Italian dinners.  Keith told me a lot about his meals be never mentioned her name.  A couple of years later we all came home and he was living in a small house in Midvale, I think they had the two girls there, Pam and Janet.  The other children were born in Bluffdale.
Pam   Keith  Jan
Keith used his service time to become an Electrician while I went back to the machine shop.  He never stopped learning even after he became a Journeyman Electrician.  In time he became one of the best electrician up there, he repaired shovels, trains, sub-stations.  Keith was there when the Precipitation Plant was being up-graded and made modern.  When they left Keith and Moore were left to run it.  Lacombe and Baxter were fighting a battle for the top job and when Baxter lost Keith was now worried about his future.  Keith really suffered depression at this time of constant worry.  When it was time to go home, he would park his car up above Lark and sit there for hours.  This was driving Viv crazy and she was angry with him too.  Strange as it may seem, Keith found a new interest, he found “Black Powder Pete”.  So, now we were shooting Black Powder Rifles out at Tick Ville.  Pete, an old-timer had many new games to play and it was fun.  These games helped Keith to forget his problems.  He just tried too hard at times.  he loved anything electrical, Stan Crump, Vivian’s brother bid and installed wiring in many homes.
Bill
It was after mid-night and here we were parked on a dead end road down at “Stinking Springs”.  Everett, Keith and I came in my old black Ford.  It slept two easily and told Ev it may be crowded but we’ll make it.  “NO”, he said, don’t worry about me.  I told him it looks like rain.  We should have.  We found Ev, just sitting outside with his sleeping-bag hanging in a tree.  I found a soft spot in the road and was sleeping away soundly when all of a sudden my bag was full of water.  Well we all parted company and went fishing.  My creel was full fish including many Browns.  Keith said, “Let’s get out of this crummy place.”  So, I showed him a look in my basket.  “How did you do that”?  “Well, if you tipped your fly with a Rock-Roller, maybe even you can catch one, they were under every rock.”  And off he went, not even a thank you, he never came back until his creel was full. 
Keith with Alaskan Salmon
I watched this young kid across the river.  He may not any more fish than I did, but his were a lot bigger.  Soon I was across on his side sitting on a rock waiting for him.  He was a friendly kid, so we started talking.  First about the river.  Every spring the cut-throats in the Blackfoot Reservoir migrate up the Diamond River to lay their eggs and most of them return back to the lake.  But some of them have trouble getting back through the “Fish Traps” we are catching the slow ones.  Now, I was asking him about the fly he was using.  Would you sell it for a couple a bucks.  Yes, I would. It’s a local fly and I tie my own.  It was goofy looking fly on a large hook, a body with bright yellow and brown floss.  Well, when I got up to Keith, I flipped my fly in his hole and caught a big one.  The second cast into his hole caught another.  When I unhooked the fish, he demanded, “Where had I found a fly like that”?  He grabbed me by the arm and marched me back to the car to tie him one.  I still remember him cussed me up and down for being sneaky, he never even said, Thank you. 
Keith    Bill   Cousin at lodge in Alaska
We were in trouble, It was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.  We looked at the Indians and they looked at usThey were angry and everyone had rifle.  Keith and I sheepishly just looked at each other with our mouths open.  Was it us who messed up or was it the Indians?  Ballamis screamed, “God Halvey” get this Damn car moving, they’re going to kill us. So, I did.  We were a long ways away and they were still sitting on their horses looking at us.  All I got out of Keith was, they should have helped us.  I told Ballamis they can’t scalp you don’t have enough hair. 
This happened on the Farm Creek Road on our way to the “Upper Still Waters” of Rock Creek.  We used to go clear out to Duchesne and up, lately were cutting through the “Ute Indian Reservation” near Hanna.  It was a lot shorter but no one ever repaired the road.    So, after driving half the night we had just about crossed the Reservation on the Farm Creek road.  We were on a narrow, relatively straight road high above the valley.  The hill-side was very steep and scary but no problem until we saw two or three Indian Cowboys leading a herd of cattle with more cowboys prodding them at the rear.  Now, what to do?  So, I found a place for them to pass and waited.  Well, the Indians in front pulled off to the side, some of the cows kept going but most of them stopped too.  The Indians in the rear quit driving and moved their horses over to the other Indians to talk.  Well we waited a while for the stupid cows to move but they just stood there.  I was the driver and tried to push my way through the last remaining cows and they just would not move.  There was no help from the Indians.  All of a sudden the herd spooked and we were  in the middle of a wild stampede  one.  You could see the “Fire of Fear” in their eyes and off they went down a mountain so steep that I would be afraid to just walk down.   Could we may have been blamed for the Indians closing the road to all none-Indians.  There was big stand-off when deer season came and the road was posted as “NO Trespassing”, and means No Whites allowed.  Farm Creek road is no longer listed on today’s maps. 
Keith staying over-night in Clinton
We were fishing the Weber River working our way up to Wanship today.  Keith as usual up ahead fishing the better holes but I was doing quite well.  We were fishing with nymph flies and this stretch had lots of Browns and White fish.  I became aware of a black and white friend walking with me.  I crossed the river but he didn’t seem to go away, he needed a friend.  Maybe Keith needed a friend too, so I walked up to Keith and left him there.  When Keith came back to the car, he said, “Did you see that Damn Skunk, I had a hell of a time getting away from him?”  Nope!

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