Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bye Bye Colorado

Last Day Fishing - A Pretty Little Arkansas River Cut-Bow

After 9 magical days on the Conejos River I returned to the Sugarbush campground in Salida for a much needed hot shower and a taste of civilization. I was also looking forward to some easy dry-fly fishing on the Arkansas River. The hot shower was grand, but it turns out the wind popped up on the river along with the afternoon monsoon activity. Fishing was hard, and I soon realized how tired and worn out I was after my Conejos River adventures. I was suddenly yearning for the comforts of home ... making coffee without boiling water on a Coleman stove...enjoying ice from the showers...the British Open golf tournament and the Tour de France on TV. All that said, I also remembered last year driving back to TN, being there one week, and then wishing I was back in CO. So, I went out fishing one last time to see if I could work myself out of the tired rut I was in. Well, it was another windy morning and the fly-fishing was tough - hard to land a dry fly lightly when the wind is blowing like hell. I did find a nice bend in the river and tucked in out of the wind. I caught a few fish including a pretty little cut-bow (see picture above) which, out of perhaps 150 Arkansas River fish, was one of only two non-brown trout (the other being a rainbow). I fished awhile longer and eventually found alot of trout in a shallow grassy bottomed stretch of river and had some fun. Eventually I lost my fly on a fish (too lazy to re-tie the fly after catching 10 or 12 fish with it), the wind came whipping up again and I decided that was it. I was done. Finished! I was tired of fly-fishing and camping. Yes, it IS possible, especially after 5 weeks, much of it in wilderness areas.
As I was about toexit the river and climb up onto the bank out of the waste high water, I reached up to grab a rock to help pull me out. Suddenly I had a premonition that I shouldn't grab the rock. I have no idea why I had that feeling...I just did. I paused, glanced down, and there about a foot from my arm, was a coiled rattlesnake which was absolutely motionless except for its tongue darting in and out of its mouth. Yikes! I have no idea why he didn't strike as I was about to grab the rock right above him. I backed off slowly and waded downstream a bit. I took a couple pictures. Click on them to make the pics larger as the snake is kinda hard to see. Anyhow, that was it. I took it as I sign that my trip was over and I would head home the next morning. A great summer for sure, but as the saying goes, all good things come to an end, and this summer trip to Colorado was over. . Time to jump into my old reliable truck and grunt it back to TN.

Click to enlarge these pictures. THe rattlesnake is hard to see.

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