As part two came to an end, I had just told you about my recent 3 day early October car camping trip, fishing the high country streams of the Creede Colorado area with my 23 year old son Rick and Bernard a rod builder and both fishing fools… … and like all of us heavy on the fool part. I believe that I had just indicated that we were all ready for and truly needed in order … a hot bath, clean clothes, a **** good store bought dinner, and a loud night in a crowd at Tommyknocker’s Tavern in Creede and most importantly a good night’s sleep in a soft bed, before we get started on the backpacking portion of our adventures. Well I woke up warm and comfortable buried under the covers, I wasn’t hungry and I didn’t stink so I was pretty sure I had accomplished all of those things. As I got out of bed, my head was a little “foggy” from all of the liquid fun at Tommyknocker’s but I had a smile on my face and lots of new friends and memories …… although a few of those memories might be a little foggy as well.
Today was the start of a three day back packing trip into one of the prettiest streams I know of, which just happens to have a ton of big fish which equally match the scenery, a truly impressive feat. This is the stream where several years earlier I had dropped my waterproof camera into some whitewater and had been unable to find it, only to have my fishing partner come back a year later and stumble on my camera still underwater in a backwater eddy. He had mailed me the camera and I for some strange reason charged the battery and was amazed when it fired right up and worked perfectly. The case was dinged and banged but still functional. So from there forward this stream will always be called “Lost Camera” Creek to me and my friends. A few shots of a camera after it has been lost for 13 months under a white water trout stream at nearly 10,000 feet.
The hike is long and almost straight down going in and likewise straight up coming out and definitely not a hike my fat, 50 year old, weak hearted self should be taking … … which is exactly why I was heading there… after all my life is proof that I don’t listen to the warnings from myself or others very well. We managed to get our backpacks stuffed with nothing hanging out unlike our current hung over personnel statuses. I had trimmed mine down significantly for this trip but it was still pretty heavy as I lifted it into the SUV for the ride to the trailhead. The ride up is pretty short but the road is as steep as can be and the sides drop off to tree tops below on the downhill side and the uphill side is solid rock. As as we rounded a curve there was a large moose standing in the middle of the road he turned and looked at us with a dismissive head shake and began an ambling jog right up the middle of the road looking from side to side for a place to bust into the brush but none seemed to appear so we drove slowly behind this lumbering hulk for almost a quarter of a mile. It was amazing to watch him that closely. The moose seemed calm and relaxed and we kept our distance but it was an experience for me to stay that close to him for that long. They are amazing animals stately and commanding but with a running style that can best be described as a gangly, awkward shamble. I would have given anything to be able to get to a camera but all of ours were already in our packs buried in the back of the SUV, so I had to commit the scene to memory and trust me that wasn’t too hard to do.
Soon enough I was struggling into my pack, and starting down the trail. We kept a slow and easy pace heading downhill. In some ways I think steep downhill hiking is actually harder on my legs than uphill hiking and my legs were definitely screaming “what the ****, you told us no more of this stuff” over and over. I got a little annoyed with Rick and Bernard trying to watch to make sure that I was doing okay. I am not sure what they expected but obviously I wasn’t dropping dead on the trail, so I sent them on ahead and just got into a rhythm of the trail. We dropped down through the open “park” with relative ease which is about half the distance but that last half is about an 1800 feet elevation drop, but I just kept my rhythm, slow as a dirge I might add, but still a rhythm and I rolled slowly and peacefully down the trail … … … I felt a little like the Moose a little gangly and awkward but making progress down the trail never the less. Soon enough we found ourselves down by the stream arguing over where everyone wanted to make our campsite but at that point I would have settled for anything that let me get the dang pack off my back. We eventually found the perfect place. I think these pictures will show that we did a pretty good job picking our camp site location even if it did cause a little discussion.
In short order we had the tents and Eagle’s Nest Outfitter Hammocks set up. Those hammocks are pretty nice and they set up in a hurry, I may be switching to one of them in the near future I have been shown the light. It was getting late in the afternoon and everyone was enjoying the view and recovering from the hike but I couldn’t stand it anymore and rigged my rod and headed down to the pool 100 feet down from the cliff top where the camp was set up. I had caught several large fish from this hole on my previous trips and looking down on it from above just didn’t seem as if it would be able to stop the twitching in my casting arm. It is a gorgeous spot even if it didn’t hold big fish … … which I was pretty sure it did. And if you look close enough you can even spot my tent in this picture. It feels kinda like a “Where’s Waldo” book for those of you with kids the right ages or who just like to be a kid themselves.