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    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Raising awareness of a serious issue

    There is a place in Alaska called Bristol Bay, it is a pristine landscape laced with fish-rich rivers and waterways. This area is threatened by the development of the worlds largest strip mining complex. The waste by-products of this operation will destroy this eco-system if implemented. To make matters worse- the companies are not even from the U.S. and they will be given public lands as part of the deal. I have never been to Alaska or Bristol Bay, however this is an issue that I have been studying. I have determined that as a Fly-fisherman and outdoors-man that this is something that I need to take a stand against. The bottom line is this: If the project moves forward the fishery will be altered forever, it will never, ever recover to it's pristine state. If it's lost, it is predicted that it will be lost for good- we have to ask ourselves what is this gold mine really worth?

    To learn more; log on to www.savebristolbay.org, this is a great website with a lot of useful tools and information. Also check out www.feltsoulmedia.com, they have created a film called Red Gold which will be released in May. The trailer is available on the web-site and has already won awards.

    I Got's to go Fishing! Spring officially arrived early this morning and I am ready to get out fly-fishing. I got the jones in a big way and feel the need to feed it. I have some outings planned and have bigger plans to camp by a river out on the east-side in a few weeks. The problem is that the weather here in Washington is colder than normal and we are expecting snow in the low-lands tonight, it doesn't look like it will improve soon(at least not in the next five days or so.) This may keep the fishing from getting better, trout are lethargic when it's cold. I'm ready to move on from winter & into the spring fishing season. I need to be out in the sun, knee deep in a wild river with a rainbow on the line!

    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    The Passing of a Hero

    Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest and stand on both the North and South Poles died today at the age of 88. We at the Vonk Report want to take a moment of pause to honor and celebrate a life fully lived. Hillary was an adventurer and explorer in the purest sense. Although he is best known for his achievements in mountaineering, Hillary spent much of the later part of his life in humanitarian efforts towards the Sherpa people of the Himalayas. I am thankful that this world was graced by the presence of such an individual- may you rest in peace.

    " Well George, we finally knocked the bastard off"
    -Hillary's first words, to friend George Lowe upon returning from the summit of Everest

    Monday, January 07, 2008

    Be Careful out there!

    By the way the weather has been shaping up we seem to be in for an epic winter. It has been snowing almost continually for over two weeks in the Cascades. This is all well and good except that here in Washington State we already lead the country in avalanche related fatalities. That is 8 deaths in this state alone. I heard on NPR this morning that there have been 14 avalanche deaths in the country so far this winter- this is the most since they have been tracking the statistics.
    We need to slow down here and really assess the current stability situation, no mountain is worth dying for. There should be good backcountry snow conditions well into the spring this year and it will get more stable down the road. If you chose to go, get educated, carry and know how to use the proper equipment and know the limits of yourself and partners. Pay attention to the weather and the avalanche forecasts. This applies to all users; skiers, snowboarders, snow-mobilers, snow-shoers and winter hikers. Take personal responsibility for your safety and understand the risks that you are taking when entering avalanche terrain during periods of considerable risk. Please be careful out there!

    Key Equipment:
    Avalanche Beacon
    Shovel- aluminium blade is preferred
    Ava-lung breathing avalanche
    Knowledge, Judgement, Training

    Sunday, December 09, 2007

    Disaster Response/Emergency Supply Kit

    Over the last few years I have been in the vicinity of both a few major and minor natural disasters; including Hurricane Katrina. As a result; preparedness has become a priority for me. In the event of a natural disaster or emergency I want the ability to survive for up to three days before assistance is available. Luckily, we have an abundance have outdoor gear around the house, however, I have been developing a more comprehensive and "official" family response kit, which is pictured above. This is also part of our family effort to be more self-reliant and responsible for our own safety and well-being as opposed to being dependent on external sources. The development of a plan and a kit can be fairly simple and inexpensive and I would encourage every family to do it in this uncertain day and age. The project is empowering and truly offers peace of mind. Feel free to contact me for tips on equipment selection and tip design. In addition; check out the book: When All Hell Breaks Loose by master survival instructor Cody Lundin. This reference will serve as an excellent guide.

    Saturday, December 08, 2007

    Ode to one of the greatest songs ever written: A Country Boy Can Survive by Hank Williams Jr.

    This song is about self-reliance, resolve, truth and a reduced BS way of living. The message here has been with me for a long time. After a hard day of complex urban living and dealing with endless issues; I crank this one up and get straight again- I have done this time and time again without fail. With that said; I wanted to take a moment and celebrate the brilliance of this tune on the blog. So here's to all the survivors out there! Thanks Hank!

    The preacher man says it’s the end of time
    And the Mississippi River she’s a goin’ dry
    The interest is up and the Stock Markets down
    And you only get mugged
    If you go down town

    I live back in the woods, you see
    A woman and the kids, and the dogs and me
    I got a shotgun rifle and a 4-wheel drive
    And a country boy can survive
    Country folks can survive

    I can plow a field all day long
    I can catch catfish from dusk till dawn
    We make our own whiskey and our own smoke too
    Ain’t too many things these ole boys can’t do
    We grow good ole tomatoes and homemade wine
    And a country boy can survive
    Country folks can survive

    Because you can’t starve us out
    And you cant makes us run
    Cause one-of- ‘em old boys raisin ole shotgun
    And we say grace and we say Ma’am
    And if you ain’t into that we don’t give a damn

    We came from the West Virginia coalmines
    And the Rocky Mountains and the and the western skies
    And we can skin a buck; we can run a trot-line
    And a country boy can survive
    Country folks can survive

    I had a good friend in New York City
    He never called me by my name, just hillbilly
    My grandpa taught me how to live off the land
    And his taught him to be a businessman
    He used to send me pictures of the Broadway nights
    And I’d send him some homemade wine

    But he was killed by a man with a switchblade knife
    For 43 dollars my friend lost his life
    Id love to spit some beechnut in that dudes eyes
    And shoot him with my old 45
    Cause a country boy can survive
    Country folks can survive

    Cause you can’t starve us out and you can’t make us run
    Cause one-of- ‘em old boys raisin ole shotgun
    And we say grace and we say Ma’am
    And if you ain’t into that we don’t give a damn

    We’re from North California and south Alabam
    And little towns all around this land
    And we can skin a buck; we can run a trot-line
    And a country boy can survive
    Country folks can survive

    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    " Sometimes when you run with the ball you get the crap knocked out of you; but running with the ball is fun."
    - Old Country Wisdom

    Seattle Half- Marathon

    Being the fool that I am; I decided to run in the Seattle Half-Marathon this year. I ran it two years ago after returning from Hurricane Katrina and had a good time- so I decided to give it a go again this year. Unfortunately, I did not have the best training plan, in-fact I only ran five or six times in the last month or so and was also carrying a bit of a cold two weeks ago. I even entertained thoughts of not running at all. However, I got out there and gave it a go. The weather was interesting, typically this run is completed during a chilly wet drizzle. Today it was cold and sunny. The temp. was about 33 degrees at the 0730 start time. The sunshine was great and lifted runners spirits. At about mile 2; I ran into a challenge that would hinder me for the duration of my run. Both of my feet went completely numb. It felt like I was running with bricks at the bottom of my legs. I had to pull over and adjust my shoes, take a break etc. In a few moments the feeling returned along with the pain. My feet have never been the same since my attempted climb on the Grand Teton back in June. I am afraid that I may need to seek a professional assessment as the problem seems to be persistent( are they getting wider? Is this because I am getting older?) Nonetheless; I pressed on. I completed the 13 miles in a land speed record of 2hours 42 minutes. I was so slow but proud. The best part was that I had a great finish- I was in a full sprint upon entering memorial stadium and was getting cheered-on as I flew to the finish line, this felt great as I have always been a fan of the big finish! That was the highlight of the day for me.

    Am I glad I did it? heck yes! would I do it again?in a heartbeat! This is a great event and Seattle tradition that I am grateful to have been a part of. Today's event also inspired me to challenge myself more and participate in similar events in the future( Of course I will implement a better training plan.) So what if I was slower than I wanted to be? what matters most was that I was out there. Stay tuned for a new challenge that I will be working on in the spring of 2008. This next one will be unique and require a team effort!

    " There two types of bodies out there- Gazelles and Gorilla's; and you Mr. Vonk? Well you are a Gorilla!"
    - K. Walters.

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    Waters Fished in 2007

    East Side:
    Yakima River Canyon
    Upper Skykomish

    Olympic Pennsiula
    Upper and Lower Elwha
    Dungeness River
    Dosewallips River

    Puget Sound Salt-water
    Point-no- Point

    Snake River
    Hoback River
    Gros Venture
    Private Waters

    Next up: Going after steelhead this winter!