The Brothers Hike of 2004

Meet the Schaefermeyers

Curtis and I camp in style.  It wasn't always this way.

Here is a little gem that I posted on an old blog that I used to keep.  This trip is still talked about at family dinners and get-togethers all the time.  Sorry for the grainy pics on this one...  I was running solo with a Nikon Coolpix 3.2 MP camera.


The crew with dinner
The famous “Brothers Hike” of 2004 was set, and through research, my father in law and his wild bunch of brothers remembered a place up in the hills that would make a great base camp with close fishing opportunities.  Last year we decided to go explore the Timothy Lakes because everything looks good when you are just looking a squiggly contour lines on a topo map.  The most important things I learned that trip were that the maps we had used 40' countour intervals, and that there were a lot of lines that were really close together. We didn’t want to go back to the Timothy lakes because we found out that the destination was really 10 miles as the CROW flies… That’s the last time we let uncle Robin play with the GPS. 14 miles later I found myself too tired to fish for the first time in the history of sliced bread.

The Brother’s Hike is an event in which the crazy Schaefermeyer family delves deep into the woods for a few days to remember the good ol' days of gallivanting
Uncle Mike and his Zebco 33
through the Uinta mountains. It’s a great group to spend a few days in the backcountry with, and there is usually an inappropriate story told by Uncle Neal around a campfire big enough to heat a small skyscraper. There are 6 crazy brothers who used to do this all the time back when they weren’t so… well, OLD. The eldest brother happens to be my father in law - the one who first stuck a fly rod in my hands.

Now that I have FULLY explained that, The 2004 trip was all planned out, and I was along for the ride.  My father in law had a 2WD Ford Ranger that had the ground clearance of a Yugo.  I know this because the trail coming into the meadow where we set up camp was full of oil pan rattling boulders and sink holes of mud that were not Yugo friendly.  We got a late start that day, I ended up walking in front of the pickup at 11:30 at night feeling around for oil pan eaters.  Long story short, we ended up sleeping in the back of the truck halfway down the trail that night until reinforcements arrived the next morning. The camp took place close to where I grew up on a chain of lakes that we will call lake X, Y, and Z. I usually don’t have any problem listing names, but these are true gems that held HUGE fish. Not just huge fish, but huge
4WD is a MUST
BROOK TROUT. You will have better luck getting me to wear a pink dress fishing than getting the names of these lakes.  The best part about this trip is that we had no idea how big the fish really were because none of them had fished it for over 20 years.  We were expecting the normal run-of-the-mill 6 to 10 inch brookies that make excellent camp table fare.

The grueling hike up to the water from the base camp tested my ever fit and trim 6’5” 250 pound frame because it was straight up the side of a mountain with no trail, but an abundance of Volkswagen sized slide rock and downed timber.  What a great day to hike up it in shorts and Tevas. I came around the final corner wanting to sit on a rock, eat some jerky, and pound a Mt. Dew and I heard Uncle Greg yelling to see if I had a net. I thought, “why in the world would you need a net for 6” fish?” I looked and saw a MONSTER! Big brooks! I strung my rod as fast as I could and proceeded to get skunked for the next hour as I flogged the water, casting for distance, changing flies... etc. Then logic hit and told me to start fishing them like smallies.  I really like chasing smallmouth bass, and I think that brookies and smallies have kind of a similar "hide in the rocks and ambush" mindset.  The whole lake was lined with boulders, so a few parallel-to-the-shore casts later, I saw my first red flash. It was BIG. 19.5” is what my
I ate this sucker
tape told me. The fly-o-day happened to be a plain jane brown conehead bugger.  The fishing wasn't fast and furious by all means, so we moved from lake to lake trying to find a pattern that was consistent.  One lake shined above the rest, and that's where I spent most of my time chasing smallies but landing brookies. My father in law caught a fish that was just .25" smaller than mine, and I was sure to let him know that. Of course, I was the one driving the measuring device...

I’m usually a C&R fisherman, but this was the Brother’s Hike for Pete’s sake. We’re eatin’ fish (which explains the fingers in the gills and the pic of trout on a stringer).  These trips create memories that will never be forgotten, and over the years we have reminisced many times about the surprise of big fish, the stories around the campfire, Bill Jr. disturbing the ecosystem and our eyes by trying to bathe in the crik, and me escorting a Yugo pickup through enemy territory.  These are the trips will forever be in my memory, and are a vital part of the fishing journey for me.

~ Cheech