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Repeatedly, I assured myself, I have been raptured and this is heaven.  Turns out, I was not; rather, I was just in Rocky Mountain National Park, enjoying the only Heaven I know, nature. 

For us, it seems like we are on vacation every weekend, and this weekend was no different.  Saturday, we had to do some rather un-vacationy things, such as mow the yard and pull weeds, but after our house duties, we treated ourselves to a little warm water fishing.  The camera did not make the journey, as this was our first time in the float tubes.  At first, I struggled a bit, and nearly had a panic attack when I got to close to shore.  I FREAK about snakes lurking about.  After awhile, I got used to it, and Dustin and I got into quite a few little crappie.  When I say little, I mean little, about 9”.  Dustin had a blast, but catching the crappie really didn’t do much for me.  I don’t like to eat them(mushy!) and they certainly aren’t a fun fish to catch, not compared to other species that have my fancy, smallmouths and trout.  Granted, I still had fun, catching fish is catching fish.  The float tubes were entertaining, except that mine had a leak.  By the end of the night, I had water up over my lap, and a pontoon almost halfway submerged.  It was a pretty nice evening, however, so I didn’t mind the leak too much.  As for the leaking equipment, I expect nothing else from something that is supposed to keep water out (or me out of the water in this case)– I have the worst luck with brand new gear (leaky waders, leaky rain gear, leaky boots, leaky tent…).  We plan to fix the leak, or take the float tube back this week, as we are anxious to get out in them again.  We love how much more water we can fish in the tubes.

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Sunday, we decided to take the day and spend it in RMNP.  It had been awhile since we hiked, and I really had the itch to do a little exploring.  There is still A TON of snow in the high country, so we chose a hike at lower elevations so we could see the signs of spring.  Black Canyon Creek was flowing well, and had a little bit of a mud tint to it.  There were only remnants of winter clinging to the shade, and spring made her presence known all around us.  It was a beautiful and easy hike to Bridal Veil Falls (lead in picture).  We climbed the rocks next to the falls, and were treated to the falls above the falls.  It was spectacular, and recommend it to anyone that can make the trip.    

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Here and elk, there an elk, everywhere an elk.  With the introduction of warm weather, swarms of people dotted the park’s landscape and the wildlife was out in force.  Many people were out of their vehicles trying to get as close to Big Horn Sheep and elk as possible, quite a few people were VERY close.  I’m not an advocate of this, but such is the nature of the beast.   It is one thing when you encounter wildlife while backpacking/hiking/fishing etc, and taking a few pictures and move on.  It is quite another when people exit their vehicles on the street and clamor up to whatever ungulate has their fancy.  Dustin and I snapped a few shots in the car of some elk and mulies, and even were treated by a bachelor elk group that kept us company while we fished, and while we changed out of our waders.  Two photographers were there as well when we got back to the car, keeping a respectable distance from the boys.  How I wish everyone took a page out of their book. 

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Dustin and I did do a bit of fishing in the park.  After hiking a mile and a half or so up Lawn Lake trail to fish the Roaring River, sanity set in as we realized we left our gear behind in the car.  A cloud bank was looming just on the divide, and the air temperature was cooling.  Now was not the time to get stuck in a storm at 9500 feet, so we descended to grab our gear and fish a meadow.  Meadow fishing is tough in the park, so Dustin and I approached in a crawl.  On his hands and knees, Dustin hooks into a little brown that was feeding under the cover of the willows.  He released him without much fanfare in order not to spook other fish.  A few minutes later I hooked into a tiny brookie.  He was adorable.  The water I was fishing was so shallow, that when I put my hands in to get them wet to handle the fish, they got gravely as well.  Not only was this little guy my first fish in the park, he was also my first fish on the despised San Juan Worm.  Lucky me, I got a photo because after this guy Dustin and I were moving on….see below.   

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Unfortunately, heaven let in a few unsavory characters.  Again we ran into rude fishermen; what is so disconcerting is that this state is full of fisherman, and we’ve ran into our fair share of disrespectable people in this region.  Dustin and I were stealth fishing to extremely spooking fish (belly crawl stance), when all of a sudden here comes two fisherman, pounding down the meadow and walking right along the bank, not 10 yards upstream of where I was fishing.  Not to mention, the first fisherman parks himself about 15 yards away and 30 yards away stands the next fisherman.  They stand on the bank and throw in.  I could not bite my tongue.  I told them to brush up on their fisherman’s etiquette, and said they obviously have no idea what they are doing.  I also asked, Why here?  There are miles of meadow to fish!  At the time, Dustin and I were the only people fishing for as far as the eye could see.  Easily, they could have taken their loud boots elsewhere.  They didn’t apologize or anything – just kept fishing, and then the dude put his feet in the water.  Are you f’n kidding me – these are spooky fish!  Dustin and I moved on, as I saw fish take off as the a$$hole fisherman stomped next to the stream.  It wasn’t 10 minutes, and they gave up, packed up and headed out.  They wonder why they didn’t catch anything.  When a person purchases a fly rod, the rod should come with a quick class on fishing etiquette and proper catch and release methods.  At least that way, a person could not use the I didn’t know excuse!  One thing is certain, Dustin and I will fish in bad weather and hike to get away from the people.  It is just too much for us!  This state is a fisherman’s playground, and we don’t mind seeking out the not-so shiny playspots.  Pardon me as I climb down off my soap box. 

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As normal, we had way too much fun and stayed way to late.  Pulling in the drive at 830 pm we were exhausted.  It was a long, but terrific day.  We still pinch ourselves nearly every weekend.  Have we mentioned how much we love it here?!

-Stephanie

Written by Stephanie Mullins

12 Comments

Mark

Wow, Steph. Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous place! Sorry to hear about the rude guys you encountered. It is always a bummer to try and get away and have some peace, and then run into people like that!

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Midge Man

Dustin and Stephanie…. Finally found those brookies! On your bank stompers, you've really got to consider that most of those folks are of no serious danger to the fish as they have no clue how to fish that water, but people being what people are, you're always going to find that bunch. The good news is you're still fishing tourist water and there are literally thousands of little blue lines on the map where you can have some privacy. It's all about topo maps!!!! Glad you got out and enjoyed the walk…

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Cofisher

I'm seriously in love with RMNP. I don't go as often as I used to due to high tourist (idiot) volume. Check out Fall River and let me know what you think.

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Sanders

You picked a great spot to be on permanent vacation! Bridal Veil is a great little hike, did you fish the creek on the trail(cow creek I think…) at all?

good to see that life has returned to RMNP. glad you were able to fool a few trout as well!

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Fontinalis Rising

Yes, you do live in heaven, a heaven with weekends. I just spent an hour poking through your blog- very nice!!! Very down to earth and your enthusiasm for all things outdoors shines through. I'm heading back through your posts now to see if I can find some on archery hunting, my other true love. My apologies for taking so long to find you, I can be very dense.

by the way, I hate the San Juan worm as well. FR

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Bigerrfish

Sweet day out in the Colorado Wilderness, and a great write up to go along…
My take on rude fisherpeeps is, They make us look better! They dont do anything more than give a fish a breif scare making them less likely to jump if somebody else is just lying on there belly watching…

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Tianna

We plan to fix the leak, or take the float tube back this week, as we are anxious to get out in them again. We love how much more water we can fish in the tubes.

Reply

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