Scurrying about Friday late afternoon, Dustin and I packed the car, kissed the dogs goodbye and pointed the car south towards Eleven Mile Canyon. Caught up in the excitement of our last 11 Mile trip, we chatted throughout the drive and made a couple of pit stops. One of the stops being Charlie’s Fly Box to purchase myself a net. Charlie’s was a very stylish and well laid out store with all the needs covered. Pressing onward, a growl erupted from the belly sitting next to me. It was time to feed Dustin. Dinner sat in the bear canister untouched as his appetite craved a pit stop at Rudy’s BBQ in Colorado Springs. In my opinion, we should have drove right on past. The pulled pork, coleslaw and beans were dreadful, but Dustin enjoyed his brisket. I really should know better than to eat BBQ in CO. With the final stop in the rear view mirror anticipation to hit the water set in.
We pulled into a very busy canyon, but were quite pleased upon arrival to our campsite. Nestled on the hillside, the last spot in the campground, sat our home for the weekend. Unpacking and setting up rods seemed to be a blur, and we settled in riverside with about 20 – 30 minutes to fish. Dustin and I both hooked up on the top water – which I normally just love. I was pleased, but something wasn’t right about it. Darkness chased us back to camp, where Dustin took out the vice and I retired to the tent feeling weary, worried and nauseous.
Saturday morning, we hit the water early, and were joined by many fellow anglers around 730 AM. I watched the fish feed deep in the water column, hugging the slack water. With a rise in the cfs, I knew I would need to scout a bit better than last time. Even watching plump trout feed did not get my pulse racing as normal. Dustin hooked into a few, and I failed to get excited at his success.
The truth is my mind was on my baby dog back home. It seems Venus’s old skin is having a hard time adjusting to this dry climate – her lips and nose have cracked and her nose looked to be getting infected on Friday. Armed with antibiotics, the pet sitter promised to watch her closely and call me if Venus did not eat. This gave me absolute zero peace of mind. Venus is 12 this coming Friday, and I don’t like to take chances with anything that is ailing her. Distracted, irritable, feeling sick and not having fun, I pleaded to Dustin to go home. He understood my plea and agreed it was best to get back to Venus. Just another reason I love him so.
A happy girl, with a wet nose greeted us as we walked in the door. Her nose looked better, but far from healed. As if seeing her face was an elixir for good health, all my worry and irritability passed. I knew instantly I made the right decision to come home to her.
Trying to make up for Dustin having to abandon what was sure to be a good trip (our first camping trip together without storms!), I offered up a Sunday afternoon fishing adventure in RMNP. Dustin seemed agreeable to this, and we decided to try our hand at getting into some greenbacks.
As expected, the park was incredibly busy and windy. However, only one other angler passed a shadow on the waters we wished to fish. Casting to cruising greenbacks sure was a lot of fun. We got into a few, and missed a few while getting into that dry fly rhythm of allowing those hungry trout just a short pause before setting the hook.
Melting snow, 3-5’ drifts, a rescue crew and loads of people didn’t spoil our fun. We made the best of our circumstances and reveled in the beauty that surrounded us. Perhaps this quick afternoon trip didn’t make up for the weekend that could have been, but it was fun despite itself.
Sure it can be said we missed a great trip for seemingly no reason. However, to me, no matter how epic the trip in the canyon hoped to be, I never once questioned my decision to walk away from the trout and back to my Venus.