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Posted By shefisher

Pronghorn flyfishcafe.comThe wildlife is a big part of the draw here. Once I'd finished a long day in the flyshop with the 2-legged variety, some of the guys invited me along on a remote drive to see the winged and 4-legged wildlife. Well, to be honest, put 4 guides and a little, uh, "Joy Juice", together in a pick-'em-up truck on a deserted 2-rut dirt road, and we qualified as a crate of wildlife, too.

These guys are all hunters. Every hunter I've ever known has an amazing extra vision for spotting animals. Since I'm nearly blind, it was both helpful to have and annoying to need my own 3 seeing eye dogs. But what a trip we had. Once we'd reached the remote target sighting area, we saw an amazing variety of animals in 2-3 miles and as many hours. There were the elk that were the originally sought quarry, plus deer, pronghorn antelope, eagles, prairie falcon, sage grouse, and a jackrabbit. But the incredible highlight came right at the beginning with the sighting of not just one, but two, mountain lions that we spooked off a kill. There are lots of cougars in this area, but to see 2 at once was very special.

That's all I've got for you today. For the 4 of us, that's enough. Oh, this is about so much more than simply fishing! Thank you, Lord, for your creation.

 
Posted By shefisher

Straight Road flyfishcafe.com
The road out of Loma rolled out like a plumb line bisecting the arid rise from the valley floor to the equally barren-looking distant mesas. Just dirt, cactus, barbed wire fences and that loooong straight road. You know how life sometimes cruises along, no big surprises, just smooth and straight? Believe it or not, that does happen. But more often, and much more interesting, is when those little surprises pop up. Those unexpected twists and turns can be challenging, frustrating, sad or even pleasantly serendipitous. They do make life more interesting.

Curvy Road flyfishcafe.com
The plumb line road soon climbed through twists and turns into high chaparral. That's when it got really interesting. The incline increased to a dramatic 10% grade and tighter turns over Douglas Pass. At only 8268' elevation, it may not sound like much when compared to so many of Colorado's 10,000'-12,000'+ passes. But the rise from the valley floor to the tight switchbacks carved into a crumbly limestone vertical face made even this mountain girl take notice. The real thrill came, though, when meeting up with the oil field equipment trucks coming from the opposite direction. The flatbed trailers they were towing were too long to make it around those tight curves. Nothing like coming around the turn to see a trailer cutting your lane.

The other twist greeted me at Dutch John. Last year I had stayed in a room above the flyshop. No frills, not even basics. No sink, no water, no cooking facility, and I shared a bathroom with the guides - all guys. Anticipating much the same experience this year, I packed accordingly - microwave with packaged and canned food I could prepare in it, dishes and utensils. And in case you wondered when I mentioned it in my preparation, that's also why I took the porta-potty. I'm not waiting in line at 6 in the morning!

None of that happened. There were too many guys this year for me to have my own space, so I am staying in a spare room in a house owned by one of the other guides. That gives me access to a full kitchen and laundry facilities. I still share the bathroom with a guy, but just 1 is a lot better than 5 or 6! And Gordon is polite, clean, and very thoughtful. This will work. A road with just enough turns to keep it scenic and interesting.

So that's where I am. I've already had one request to guide, but we'll see. I start in the flyshop on Friday.

 
Posted By shefisher

Storm Clouds flyfishcafe.com The big adventure has finally begun. Today I drove from my home on the east face of the Collegiate Peaks mountains to the desert country on the far western edge of Colorado. US Hwy 50 took me over the Continental Divide through rain, mist, drizzle and even a few snowflakes to the barren dry hills of the western desert. In between were greening valley meadows, gently rising passes, miles-long Blue Mesa Reservoir and a small state park lake set in arid sandscape. More shades of green than your mind can count stretched back in rising layers toward distant snow-covered peaks. Blue sky and sunshine gave way to ominous growing storm clouds.

 

The open country miles were punctuated by towns, some only a few small buildings, others busy little cities. The highway is still the central artery in these bergs. The "downtown" remains the center of citizen activity with businesses, restaurants, civic services, parks and schools. It is obviously still the focus of that human interaction that creates and maintains the real sense of "community." May they never build an outlying mall or a bypass.

 

Tree in Bloom flyfishcafe.com Spring comes late to these mid- and high elevation locales. In Gunnison - often the coldest spot in Colorado winters, even in the nation - the crab apple, cherry and plum trees are just now in full bloom. Mountain hay fields are flooded with the life-giving drink of snowmelt overflow. Further west, winter wheat is thick and green, just weeks now from harvest. The famous Olathe sweet corn is in its infancy, showing a mere few inches of green along the recently plowed and planted rows. In this arid west, there is stark contrast between the vibrant green of the irrigated fields and the natural arid land.

 

Friends flyfishcafe.com Alone on all those 214 miles, the day concluded in the company of long-time friends. I came home to a place I'd never been. Friends embraced, common memories recounted, tales of newer paths were shared. It was the very best way to begin this journey.


 
Posted By shefisher

Packed for Trip- flyfishcafe.com
This is D-day, the Deadline to be ready. Maybe it should be called "P-Day" -- last day of Planning, Preparation and Packing. Here's what my last day before departure looked like:

 

-Breakfast, check emails.

-Go to friend's property to check on possible gas leak. Seems better. Made note to call friend later as to status.

-Stop by storage shed to get suitcase for clothes and cooler for groceries.

-Go through closet and drawers selecting which clothes to take for work, fishing and hanging out. Sort them into definite and maybe.

-Fold, roll, pack. Gosh, this suitcase holds a lot! Will I be able to lift this thing once it's packed?

-Gather personal items: makeup, lotion, shampoo, vitamins, eye drops, etc etc.Set out clothes for travel overnight, as well as tonight and tomorrow.

- Shoes. Yes, this deserves its own category. Fishing, hiking, working in shop. Wet shoes, dry shoes, going out shoes, hanging out shoes. Then make sure to have the right socks, where required, to go with them.

- Gather trip's reading material and maps.

- Pack all electronic peripherals like power adaptors, cables, flash drives, etc.

- Gather and pack all the dry food. And wine. Gotta take wine. Also Cokes etc.

- Look at fridge and freezer. What will I take, what will I leave? How big a cooler do I need?

- A friend calls to talk about Ark River fishing and info for upcoming events, and good wishes for our summer adventure.

- Open the SUV and start visualizing what goes where. Mentally organize.

- Change gears: empty the hot tub. Get the new pump, attach power cable and hose. Plug in  extension cord. Hey, it works! Keep an eye on it, moving hose around occasionally to soak different place in yard. Fix a sandwich and eat that while waiting for tub to drain. Then wipe down tub, remove and clean filter. Pack everything away.

- New friend from church drops by. I am donating my Trek bicycle to their fundraising toward adopting 2 Ethiopian orphans. Good bike, but I don't use it now. I hope it helps them.

- Start packing the SUV. Gather boxes and other items from various piles around the house and in the shed. I've always been known to pack well. My planning is paying off as the big suitcase, all the food and drinks, all fishing equipment, microwave, porta-potty (yea, that's part of the destination story yet to come), even my pillow all fit in the back 3rd of the Explorer. Yea me!

- New neighbors who have bought up all the riverfront property in this area are here. I got my bike and rode out to go meet them. I intercepted them as they were walking back from a hike,. It was a pleasant, informative visit. Fishing access is still quite doubtful, but they are nice people. Will re-contact in the fall.

- Walk to other neighbor's house to deliver house and mailbox keys. Short visit.

- Have some wine and cheese with husband.

- Run calibration on computer to get it through summer.

- Get something out for dinner.

- Phone calls with friends I will stop to see in 2 different locales on my way tomorrow. Get directions; look up on Google maps.

 

Monarch Rain flyfishcafe.com
The rest of the evening will be dinner then some relaxing. This trip stuff is hard work! It has been a big day, but all went well. Tomorrow I start rolling the wheels toward Green River. Over Monarch Pass and on to the semi-desert west.


 
Posted By shefisher

Yesterday was my last guide trip before starting my summer leave. Today began the official organizing and packing.

You know that a two week vacation takes thought and planning. Many people make their reservations a year ahead. As the time of departure nears, there is mail and other deliveries to put on hold, yard and house care to arrange, bill paying and utilities to take care of, clothing to plan, launder and pack, travel route to verify, and on and on.

Fly Boxes preparing - flyfishcafe.com Try leaving for 3 months! Then divide that time into 2 distinctly separate segments: my work time on the Green River in Utah, followed by the adventure with my husband through Idaho and Montana. Plan the flyfishing equipment: Rods, reels, lines, waders, boots, nets, float tubes and their requisite waders and fins. And flies, lots and lots of flies. Sort, decide, re-box. Can't take them all. Too many? Not enough? Right ones? The floor was covered with flyboxes, each one holding as many as 200 hundred decisions.

Today's fish food choices will be followed this weekend by people food choices. Most of the trip will be in out of the way places where there is no MacDrivethru or grocery store. (At least we'll have a stovetop and water when camping. I'll take you through the Green River work scene another time. That deserves its own tale, and its own planning.) Take dishes, soap, towels, sheets, clothes, shoes, personal items. And don't forget the all-important TP.

Finally, fit it all into a pickup truck camper. Yeah, sure.

But when we are sitting at the edge of a lake or river listening to the birds, seeing the fish rise to the evening flies on the water, and watching the sun set over a dramatic mountain ridge, these few days will all be worth it. It will. It will.


 


 
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