Friday, April 25, 2008
Three Days, Two Nights
In the fickle Rocky Mountain spring, that's all I could squeeze out of my trip but it was enough. It was great. It was the mountain fix I needed to tide me over for a week or so.
Per my last post, I left on Wednesday morning and was at my destination by before noon. The destination was a campground on the Arkansas River just north of Buena Vista, CO. I had never been to this campsite before so I didn't know what to expect. What I didn't have to worry about was people. This time of year the area is deserted.
The main attraction of the river these days is white water rafting. At this time of year the water is really low...because it's still very cold higher up and the snow hasn't melted to provide the water that the rafters pay to ride. At this time of year the weather is also "iffy" and people do not want to gamble on "iffy". "Iffy" is the reason I only squeezed out three days and two nights. Iffy was 28 degrees this morning with winds of 35 mph. Being as how I'm not tied down to a regular schedule, and being as how I didn't want to spend a cold windy day inside the RV, and being as how I planned only a few days out anyhow, I decided to get back home before the work a day people invaded the windy mountains.
Wednesday and Thursday however were beautiful. Highs in the 70's with a moderate wind. I had a lot of things on my list to do and I kept pretty busy during the daylight hours.
I fished a lot. Unsuccessfully unfortunately. I have not done much river trout fishing in the last 30 years so this was an exercise in reacquainting myself with the techniques. The biggest thing I learned was that at my age not only is my physical stamina reduced but my sense of balance and my "fishing eyes" are not as good as they used to be. It was a challenge not to fall into the very cold water while wading in fast moving water over slippery rocks. This is a challenge for the young and athletic too but it's just a mite more challenging for a guy like me and it made me uncomfortable not to have the ability I once had.
I also found that my eyesight is more of an impediment that it used to be. I have mentioned that I have been wearing reading glasses for a number of years now. Not only is it more difficult to follow the movement of the fishing line and lure in the water, when I needed to retie my line it became much more of a big deal.....seeing and doing while trying to balance in the fast moving water.
Before you break out the hankies to dab the tears from your eyes, I still had a blast. Just being there and soaking (not that kind of soaking) in the beauty was worth it all.
There is an old saying, "When one door closes another opens.", and so it is for me too, I think. I mentioned in the last post that I would also do a little gold panning while I was there. The Arkansas River is still an area where you can find gold and there are still people who "prospect" along the river. This is just a fishing of a different sort. This sort allows you to be more stationary and even sit.
My problem is that while I had a gold pan and had read some articles about panning for gold, I really didn't know gold panning from shinola.
That problem was partially solved while fishing on Wednesday. As I was making my way along the river I spotted a man who was panning in the river. I made my way to him and asked him if I could watch. He not only said yes but he proceeded to give me quite a little lesson on the basics. This was a hobby he had for some years and it even supplemented his income a bit. With gold selling now for $1000 an ounce this is a hobby that actually can pay....unlike the other type of fishing which normally costs me a bunch in equipment and lures.
Thursday I took a hike, rode my bike, did some birdwatching and sat in a chair at the edge of the river reading. I could just feel the city evil oozing out of my pores and being replaced by the mountain beauty.
Friday morning broke very cold and very windy and as I mentioned earlier I just decided to quit while I was ahead and return home. When I was still part of the work a day world I always envied people I saw heading down from the mountains, as I was going up on Friday or Saturday. I always thought that it would be neat to have the time to be able to avoid the hordes on the weekends and you know what....It's neat! In spite of the less than beautiful weather there were still swarms of people headed up to cram in a night or two of camping before returning to their labors. I just had this warm smile spread over my face as I headed down into the Denver area.
Thanks for visiting.