The first five days of July are quite festive in our home as we have 3 birthdays in that time.  The birthday met with greatest praise and fanfare is the first birthday, which belongs to Venus.  I like to think I show no favorites in my doggy love, but when it comes to birthdays, Venus gets the best celebration.  She gets the cake, she gets the song, she gets the pictures and she gets lots of love.  After all, the old girl has been with me 12 years, and she’s been the absolute best friend for which I could ever ask.  As she gets older, birthdays have become bittersweet.  This year, she didn’t seem as excited for her birthday treat…perhaps she suspected pills were hidden inside.


Bailey and I share back to back birthdays, with her turning 5 and me now over 30.  I must say that out of the 3 of us, I have the least amount of gray, small victories.  For me, each year brings less and less excitement for the actual birthday.  Celebrations have went from all out affairs, to just a normal evening at home.  In this house, it seems the dog birthdays have taken over as the thing to celebrate, and that is just fine by me. 

This year, Dustin seemed much more excited about the birthday weekend than I.  We made plans to fish and camp and do some hiking on the way back to Fort Collins.  Dustin had a good morning/afternoon on the stillwater, hooking into some heavy trout, one was “unofficially” 20+”.  It was fun watching him get into big fish; sometimes I like watching him battling as much as I like hooking into one of my own.

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Unfortunately, no matter how great the fishing, the mosquitoes drove us right back into town.  As soon as either one of us were within 10 feet of shore, we were attacked.  It looked as if our clothes were moving because they were crawling with mosquitoes.  Dustin and I still wear the battle welts from bite after bite after bite.  No way in hell were we camping in this! 

IMG_5703After appeasing Dustin, I got a day to fish for native trout.  Don’t get me wrong, hooking into big fish is fun, but pulling up cookie cutter rainbows is cool only for so long.  I guess I am learning that I am not a big fish gal.  My heart races when I have got a heavy on, but my heart races just the same when I have on a smaller fish as well.  Perhaps I just like catching fish, no matter the size.  Anyhow, we made a day of fishing for greenbacks in the park.  Dealing with all the tourists throwing snow and logs right into where I was fishing proved to be quite the challenge for me, but I held my tongue and was rewarded with more greenbacks than I could count.  Once we found what they were eating, I could hardly get my line in the water before I had another one take the offering.  Each one of these fish had unique characteristics, and all were equally beautiful.  For me, this blew away the days chasing big fish on the stillwater. 

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I think getting into such a large number of greenbacks is the best birthday present I could receive.  Crystal clear water afforded me the opportunity to see each fish take my offering under the surface, and aggressive takes allowed me to relish the top water action. 

Another year in the books for all three of us, each of us getting older, and handling the challenges of that in different ways.  Venus has really adapted to her condition – she knows where to step and how to step to keep herself upright.  She even captured a bit of her youth this past weekend, climbing the steps to sleep upstairs with us.  Bailey is as nutty as ever, enjoying her new trim figure while harassing all things winged.  As for me, I still struggle some days with the late start I got on life, but then I remember that I am doing it now and only good things will come.  I hope the year ahead is just as great as the year that passed.


Written by Stephanie Mullins



Nice Stephanie. I felt a little guilty as I read this. It sounded a lot like a page from your diary! Beautiful photos and words as usual. Over 30?


I loved reading this post….so much inside…and at times it was like reading my own thoughts. I too am finding I'm not a "big fish gal." I'd much rather hunt down tiny, beautiful wild browns than anything else in this world. And, I too was a bit late to finding finding my place in life, but I like to think that the late-blooming wildflowers are always the most beautiful — they take their time in coming, but they last the entire season…


Happy Birthday to all! Venus does look like a loyal and fun dog! I always enjoy your fish photos and stories. Thanks for sharing!


I'm laughing that you sound so much like me…starting late with all of this "living"!! The thirties were my most fun years…until…I reached the next level. It only gets better. I'm sure that it will continue on as you both journey together and share your zest for life!


Happy birthday! Your house sounds like ours…hats and parties are reserved for the dogs, as we try to wrestle with the fact that getting older is just part of the deal. Glad you got out and chased some natives around, they are certainly worth the effort. Great post as always!


Happy late birthday to all 3 of you! May your next year bring you plenty of fish. Looks like you already have a head start:) Those photos are excellent. Gorgeous fish!



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