Silence echoed from our tent the morning of July 3rd as Brooke and Matt rustled about the campsite.  Apparently, snoozing was all Dustin and I worried about since we slept three hours longer than Brooke and Matt.  I sure hope we enjoyed it, because that was the last morning we overslept.  Feeling a tad guilty for indulging in extra zzz’s, Dustin and I hurried to shower, pack and grub.  The campsite was relatively quiet which provided for a nice morning at camp. 

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Well fed and well rested, we decided a day exploring Glenwood Springs, and chats with the locals were in order.  Appeasing our gear fixation, we spent hours in the gear shop.  Dustin, which many of you know is not a thrifty shopper, actually found some luck at the sale racks.  Unfortunately, it was not quite the stroke of luck he thought it was.  For those that don’t know, I have a desperate longing for an Arcteryx Alpha rain jacket.  Dustin has pish poshed the idea of me obtaining one of these saying it is an unnecessary extravagance (he’s one to talk about that!).  Imagine my reaction when I walk downstairs to see him examining a high caliber rain jacket, a Millet.  Cooing over the bottom dollar price tag, Matt and Dustin say to me it is a steal to get it for $18.00.  I scoffed at the notion the jacket was 18 bucks, but encouraged that if it was, he should indeed buy it, all the while cursing under my breath about a high quality rain jacket being unnecessary.  It didn’t take him long to make the decision to purchase, and for me to go over and examine it closely, hoping to see a reason for him not to buy it.  Envy I know is wrong, but I wanted a rain jacket in the first place!  Glancing at the tag to read a little more about the jacket’s water repelling abilities, I notice the price tag.  Oh, $18, eh?  Rain jacket envy clouded Dustin’s vision because the tag did not read $18.00, rather there was an extra number stuck in there, a seven.  Now with a leg to stand on, I mention how extravagant of a purchase a rain jacket of that price is, but the argument falls on deaf ears.  No matter the price, Dustin believed he found a steal.  I fell silent, and returned to my fruitless quest of trying to find a “steal” for myself.

IMG_0935Mt. Sopris towering over Glenwood Springs

The day of extravagance continued as we headed to the fly shop to purchase yet more flies, material and a guide trip.  Green drakes at dark thirty was the mantra, so we loaded up on those.  Now, in the crabbiest of moods (I don’t like to spend money), we allowed Crystal River to lead us away from civilization and money spending opportunities.  Aimed with no clue where to go, we saw a sign for Avalanche Campground and headed that way.  At the end of the road, a full campsite awaited us. Conversations with the locals and a Forestry employee helped us to decide to hike into the Maroon-Bells Snowmass Wilderness.  The trail followed Avalanche Creek, which Dustin and I hoped held some Brookies that were hungry.  However, with the melt off just wrapping up, the creek was raging.  Indicators were washed under, and dries didn’t have a chance of staying that way.  Being late in the afternoon with a 6 mile hike ahead of us, we decide to head back to camp.  After all, we were doing exactly what Matt said he did not want to do…journeying off on a high elevation, steep gradient hike before we were acclimated. 

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After getting settled at the campground, Dustin and I headed to the Crystal River (near the hot springs) to wet a line.  Again here, the water was ferocious, but fishable.  Unfortunately, while the water was fishable, the fish weren’t gulping.  Admitting defeat, we ran into some locals that frequent this spot year after year; they also have walked away empty handed every time.  Heading back to camp disappointment was thick in the cab of the truck, only one fish had found the end of my line.  As if Mother Nature understood our grief she blessed with a beautiful clear and starry night in our canyon campsite.  Tonight marked the first night Dustin and I were able to go topless (rain fly topless that is), and oh what a wondrous night of sleep welcomed us. 

Wishing I was still in that canyon,

Stephanie

Written by Stephanie Mullins

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