Thursday, September 26, 2013


elk smoke on the ridge

don't matter, so long as it's hot

The next morning dawned bright and clear...
...somewhere far, far away from my small valle.  My morning was met again with squalls punctuating the steady downpour.  Slowing to a drizzle after breakfast, I made the most of the opportunity to gear up, boot up, hit the trail for that feeder I had my eye on.  

I wasn't a half mile up the trail before a monumental squall breaks over the far ridge.  There I stand in the middle of the trail, exposed as the day I was born, rooted in complete fascination as the squall envelopes the head of the valley.  The clouds slink down the rock face like elk smoke, while below the rain sheet is a moving, quavering, curtain of battleship grey.  

I'm shaken out of my boots by a peal of flash/thunder/flash/thunderrr, and I'm thinking oh sweet jeebus, this ain't gonna be good. But a minute, and I'm getting hammered by rain, sleet, grapnel, the trail now a veritable river. I hoof it into a clump of spruce, hunker down under some big boughs, and wonder aloud just what the hell it is that I'm doin' up here. 

In the far backcountry, in the pouring rain, lightning all around.  Without a lick of sense.
So I had some time to ruminate and thank dog for what Awesomeness could be found in the moment.  Like Gore-Tex.  And Redington waders.  And loved ones.  And oatmeal-raisin cookies, don't forget those.  And cutthroat trout, without whom I would not be in this fine mess.  ;-) 

cutthroat waters

All kidding aside, nothing quite like those big boomers in the high country to make a guy feel alive, amirite amigos?
the box in a brief lull between storms

Well wait ten minutes and the weather will change adage proved dead-on dontchaknow.

I soon found myself at the foot of the canyon, stringing my favorite 3wt.  That stealth black 3-piece, crafted by an old rod maker, sorely missed, who will never make another.  

It is there, peering through the gloom to where my first glory pool awaits, that I find...myself.  Once more.  

For I suddenly realize, despite the steady downpour, the numb fingers, the cold trickle down the back of my neck- that most all is Right in my World.  

And so it is, with a murmured- Well, let's get after it, I make my first cast into what is to be another glorious day in the high country. 

why we fish

the fall backpack 2013 series:
fair warning
elk smoke


  1. I love to read your blog and see all the great photos! Especially now since shattering my ankle on a fly fishing trip to the Costilla in early August. Sooooooo no mountain biking or fly fishing for me, for a while anyways. Again great Blog!

    1. Dangit Scott, that gives me goosebumps just thinking about your ankle. Thx for the supportive words, here at the end of our season I'm wishing I had more tales to tell. Heres hoping we're both back at it nextt summer~ mike

  2. Those high country electric storms scare the snot out of me! I'm glad you can enjoy them. There is nothing like the high country in September - thanks for taking us along. That is one beautiful cutty!

    1. Right now I'm thinking nothing like the high country in Oct....hmmm wonder if I can get that done...