A sure sign of spring

I always anticipate the blooms of the trillium.  I first discovered a large group of them in the woods on our property when I was twelve or thirteen.  Ever since then, I make it a priority to pay them a visit every the spring.  It’s best to enjoy them where they live rather than pick their flowers.  Their blooms are very short lived and it can take a plant whose flower has been picked several years to recover.  I learned something recently about trilliums from Wikipedia that I did not know–  that their seeds are spread by ants.  How could such a beautiful, delicate, and specialized wildflower happen through natural selection or chance?


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Filed under Photography

Shamrock 4 Miler

Nice effort by my brother Joshua this morning at the Shamrock 4 Miler in Charlotte this morning.  Here are a few photos from the last hill of the course.

Bert Rodriquez 1st

Paul Mainwaring 2nd

Joshua Boyle 3rd

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Filed under Running

Makings of a poncho tarp

As I’ve gradually upgraded my backpacking gear to lighter-weight options, it finally became cost-effective for me to consider a cuben poncho tarp.  Last fall, I sold my down bag, and with the proceeds I was able to purchase materials to make a down quilt and bivy.  I recently saw Matt Kirk’s recent design and was inspired to take a stab at making my own cuben poncho tarp (thanks Matt!).  Now that I have a bivy to somewhat shield my insulation from blowing rain and shelter condensation, I was able to sell my 8×10 myog silnylon tarp to buy materials to make this smaller and lighter tarp.

This new tarp made from cuben fiber is roughly 70×104 inches (much better coverage than the skimpy MLD 52-inch-wide cuben poncho I had considered purchasing ).  And it weighs 4.75 oz (I haven’t seam sealed the hood yet) of which I am very satisfied– this piece of gear will replace a 16oz rain jacket and a 16 oz tarp!  However, being substantially lighter, it does bring some “limitations,” and it will require proper use and care to work successfully.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to test the tarp out via some fishing trips or perhaps a smokies-section fastpack of the Benton MacKaye Trail some time this year.


Filed under Backpacking

Crowders Mountain hike

On Saturday, my younger brother and sister tagged along with my brother Joshua and I while we played at our favorite local state park.  The recent rain and cloudy weather must have kept most of the casual visitors away because the park was relatively quite compared to the average weekend.  My brother wanted do some hill running, and I used the occasion to hike several miles to judge how my Achilles was recovering from injuring it a few weeks ago.  Joshua incorporated the WNCTrailrunner’s “Crinnacle” fitness challenge into his 10 mile run.  As specified by the challenge, he began the challenge at the peak of Crowder’s Mountain and finished at King’s Pinnacle via the Backside/Crowders/Pinnacle trails.  And he did it in 36:27!  We met up at the top of Pinnacle for a finish photo.

And a little action from my other brother also documenting his presence at the peak of Pinnacle…

Right place, right time, with camera


Filed under Life, Photography, Running

Caleb’s Chimney Case Caddis


“Caleb’s Cased Caddis”

Hook: TMC 3761 #8-14

Thread: Olive

Weight: Tungsten bead (you can use brass for a lighter version) and .020-. 025″ lead wire

Body: Peacock crystal chenille

Case: Molted turkey

Last October I made a trip to the backcountry of the Smokies to hunt up some brown trout.  Jim Estes, a local of Bryson City and expert smokies fly fisherman recommended that I try some cased-caddis patterns (which he called Chimney Cased Caddis).  While in the larvae stage , these caddis build elaborate square-shaped cases to live inside of before entering the pupa stage and hatching into an adult.

Here are a couple websites with photos of these insects:



Back to my camping/fishing trip…  the short story is that I came up with this fly pattern to imitate the cased larvae and ended up smoking the fish which included scoring an 18 inch brown!

The thread rib tends to limit it’s durability (the fly typically lasted me about 15 fish before getting chewed up although the fish liked it even after getting shredded) and a  wire rib didn’t give the same look.  Feel free to improve the pattern and be sure to post any suggestions you may come up with!

Here are some step-by-step tying sequence photos:


1. After sliding the bead on the hook and wrapping the lead wire on the shank, secure the wire with thread and tie in the chenille just behind the bead. (Don’t wrap the lead wire all the way to the hook bend.)


2. Make 1 1/2 to 2 close wraps with the chenille and tie off.


3. Now, wrap your thread to the back of the hook behind the lead wire.  Tie in three slips of molted turkey feather (two one top, and one on the bottom), butts toward the rear and leaving the tips 2x the body length.


4. Secure the turkey feathers down along the body.  You can trim most of the fibers off behind the chenille, but be sure to leave a few for legs!  Now using thread, build a taper up towards the front of the fly before coating the body with cement or any type of fingernail polish.


5. Pull each slip of turkey up one at a time and tie each one off just behind the chenille.


6. As you tie the turkey down, make sure they are tight.


7. Wrap the thread back over the body to creating a rib and tie off at the very back of the fly.  Finally trim the turkey feather butts off, taking care to leave the legs underneath intact.  When trimming the butts off at the front, don’t trim them too close (this will give the illusion of the opening of the case).


8.  The finished fly.  Coat the thread wraps and tie-off point with cement.

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Filed under Fishing, Fly Tying

Caleb’s Bee

This is the current evolution of a pattern I created when I was 15.  I consider it one of my top 3-4 dry flies for the freestone trout streams of southern Appalachia.  The wily brown trout of the smokies seem particularly gullible to this imitation– I think this is because the orange eyes trigger their carnivorous instincts.  Or, perhaps they just like the spicy taste of wasps.  Try fishing this fly anytime April through August (May and June seem the best).

Caleb’s Bee

Hook: TMC 2499 #12

Thread: Black 70 Denier

Body: Montana Fly wasp body

Wing: Deer hair, stacked, crystal flash

Eyes: Medium round rubber, orange

Head: Superfine dubbing, black

Legs: Fine round rubber, black

Here are some rudimentary tying instructions:

Cut body to shape and cut slit to slide body onto hook.

After tying in the body, drop some cement into the foam slit to give extra durability.  Stack the deer hair, and tie the wing and flash in.  Then use figure-8 wraps to secure the rubber for the eyes.  Continue to dub the head in a figure-8 fashion.  Lastly, tie in the legs and whip finish.

The materials

Enjoy (letting the fish enjoy)!

PS- Check back soon to see a new cased-caddis larva pattern!

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Filed under Fishing, Fly Tying

Happenings and an Inspiration

This past week I took off from running while I continued to nurse my Achilles back after injuring it last week (a freak and stupid ordeal involving a poplar log rolling back onto my sandal-shod heel while helping my dad unload some recently-cut firewood).  I also to a few days off from my college studies, flying up to Indianapolis to help my grandfather assemble some products that he designed.

This week I have also enjoyed musing on a song that my sister and I will be singing soon in a trio at our church.

“Without Him”

Without Him I could do nothing,
Without Him I’d surely fail,
Without Him I would be drifting,
Like a ship without a sail.

Without Him I would be dying,
Without Him Id be enslaved,
Without Him life would be worthless,
But with Jesus thank God Im saved.

Jesus, oh Jesus,
Do you know him today?
You can’t turn him away,
Oh Jesus, oh Jesus
Without Him how lost I would be.

Here are some Scripture verses that spoke to me this week that relate to the song quite wonderfully–

Ephesians 2.4-6

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:


Hebrews 4.16

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

I thank God that he brought several specific trials into my life shortly after my time on the US Youth Fly Fishing Team in 2008 which brought me to my knees.  It was then that I accepted God’s redemption plan through Christ.  Without Him, I would definitely be enslaved, drifting, and dying.

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Filed under Life