Sunday, June 14, 2009

Plates, Wind, and Pat Spain's Memorial Wildlife Park and Beer Garden

Every once in a while your standard day-trip to the lake turns into something completely different.

Sometimes things go bad. Your boat sinks, you forgot to remember the beer, you end up in the woods with large hairy rednecks who think your mouth is "purdy". Bad times.

But occasionally and with a bit of luck, the gods smile upon a lowly fisherman and guide him to the high life.

The day started off like many others like it, windy as hell. The bass fishing was slow, and every cast and gust were followed by a string of obscenities. Aaron forgot his fins, and ended up catching some plates from the shore, in between laughing and filming my sorry wet ass out on the water. A few hours later, tired from kicking but mostly from swearing at the mother that is nature, Aaron and I quit out early to hunt for better conditions.

As I was making our way back to the dock side of the lake, I came to a fork in the road. I have heard that when this happens it is a good idea to take the fork, as it might come in handy later, but in this case after a short mental deliberation I decided to leave the fork and make a left, taking us away from the water and the wind that abused it.

Parker Canyon is a small lake surrounded by rolling hills and mostly shrubbery. There are a handful of cabins/houses that sprinkle the countryside to the east of the water. Most of the cabins are vacation getaways and stay locked up for a good portion of the year, but there are a few year-rounders like the famous Pat Spain. And Pat has a secret.

After a short dirt road jaunt and park, we were greeted by a smiling face and lead into the garage for a beer.

Movement caught my eye out the small garage window overlooking the side of the house. Aaron points his beer and says, "Hey Pat, there is a turkey in your yard!" Pat took a swig of Budweiser, and wiped his chin. "Yep."

We moved to the yard where, sure as shit, a young thanksgiving dinner on legs greeted us with little interest, obviously accustomed to the company of humans. And it even did tricks! (see video below)

As we made our way to the small covered table Pat waved toward the near hillside, "And then there's them." As Aaron and I followed his hand out into the trees we saw a handful of javelina nosing through the dirt.

Unbelievable. I have spent many, many hours in the past roaming the countryside with various types of weaponry in hand looking for these specific brands of wildlife, often returning with nothing more than a handful of dirt in my pocket and a bad case of monkey butt, and here they are side by side in the middle of a Monday afternoon hanging out in Pat Spain's Memorial Wildlife Park and Beer Garden. Amazing.

Pat told us there are also deer, and the occasional mountain lion and black bear that grace the Garden with their presence, and told a great story about a black bear that managed to break into the crawl space of his house, and chew through the wires that power the vent fan over his stove, leaving a large pile of smoking hair before making its hasty retreat. Pat doesn't fly fish, so I didn't ask if he has any bear fur caddis flys available to trade.

5 beers and a couple glasses of wine later, we moved inside for and a snack of ribs, brauts, cantaloupe, and yogurt covered strawberries (hey fat guys need their vitamins too) accompanied by show tunes on the radio. There is just something awesome about drinking Merlot and chowing glorified hot-dogs while Frankenstein's half-retard monster sings "puttin on the ritz" in the background. Makes me smile just thinking about it.

As the evening closed in around us, with full bellies and minds we wished Pat and his lovely wife a good night and made for the open road, more fulfilled than a couple bass on the fly could ever hope to achieve. And just think, if it wasn't so damn windy we would have never had the pleasure. Makes you think.

The Great Pat Himself.

"They never make ground-bird bird feeders."

Wind is a jerk.

-Alex who doesn't sail or fly kites.


  1. Alex, that is awesome.
    I met that esteemed gentleman a couple of years ago, after a nice afternoon floattubing with the wife and catching some nice bluegills and green sunfish. Around this time of year, but an early monsoon and pretty cool, lake full.
    I had been forewarned about his presence by the cabin owner we both know - a racontuer, bon vivant who,like all great storytellers, has never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn- I was told to look out for a distinguished elderly gentleman on a quad, possibly hanging around the dock.
    I dutifully asked him at boatramp, "So you're the guy known as THE MAYOR down here?"
    He replied, "No."
    Like if you asked the average 11-year-old boy if he likes girls. "No." With feeling.
    I said it was his parttime neighbor who told me to ask that and he replied, "That sunuvab***, he would say that" but quickly got over it and we chatted for a bit.
    No invitation to his place, though, for the wiseguy stranger messing with him.
    That troublemaker Dave G. got a great kick out of that story. And its mostly true.

  2. That's great. That Dave is a troublemaker.

  3. Whats the brand of Wader your wearing for Big Boys?


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