Monday, August 15, 2011

Colorado Trip Day 1: Acclimation: Fly Fishing and Hiking

The drive out to Colorado was undoubtedly long and arduous. We drove straight through, taking shifts, but since we drove my truck and I was much more experienced at driving a manual than everyone else, I ended up doing about 16 out of the 24 hours of driving. Even during the time I supposedly had to "relax," I only managed about 4 hours of restless sleep.
I am notoriously bad at sleeping in vehicles, or taking naps in general. That, and I never realized how uncomfortable the back seat in my T-100 is until now.

But the reward of being in Colorado was so worth all of the effort it took to get out there!

For our first two days, we stayed with a couple of our friends who live on the Front Range. Shortly after we arrived, Rob took us out to show off his favorite fly fishing hole.

Hiking down to the fishing hole

Rob teaching Andrew how to cast a fly rod

Rob looking for the perfect fly.
Finding the perfect fly for the conditions is an art form, but I thought that just standing upright in this roaring mountain river was an accomplishment.

I initially planned to take a crack at the fly rod, but after I began to lose feeling in the lower half of my body from the frigid snow melt, I decided that I was good with just a few pictures.

There were some cool rock formations and hills around though... one of them just needed to be hiked!

Standing on top of a rock formation
View of the river from the rock.
View up the valley/canyon to Estes Park. You can barely make out some snow-covered peaks in the background.
One of these spiky bushes stabbed me in the foot and drew blood. Not cool!
The view was so worth it, though!

Rob and Andrew getting out of the river. Trying to walk in that rushing current was no easy task!

Well, it had been a very long couple of days and it was definitely time to head back down the mountain and get some supper!

We were heading out to the car, tired but happy. Rob was leading the group with Stacy following behind, Summer a little ways behind her, I was following directly behind Summer, and Andrew and Sydnah were further back. As we were walking along the trail seen in the second picture, Summer passed a rock and the next series of events happened in an instant:

I heard a startled hiss and a rattle and Summer screamed and danced back from the rock. I spotted the rattler lying on the left side of the trail reeling back to strike, his white mouth stretched wide open with his fangs ready to sink into her flesh, tongue flickering. I quickly jumped back as well, and yelled for Summer to get further back.

Wow, the second rattlesnake encounter in about 2 weeks, over 1,500 miles apart!

Click on image for larger view.
Unfortunately, this one was a much closer call than the first! But the common saying about snakes being more afraid of you than you are of them really is true. As soon is we jumped back and gave him his distance, the snake lowered down into a coil, and then slithered off the trail in the other direction. It was very close, but the rattle and hiss did give us enough warning to get out of the way and give him his space.

As he slithered off, Rob asked, "Do you want to kill him and cut off his rattle?"

I immediately responded with a venomous "HELL NO!" I didn't want to get anywhere near that snake again! Like I mentioned in my last post on snakes, I find the thought that something so small can be so dangerous extremely disconcerting. I was just glad that no one had been bitten, and I was more than happy to leave the snake well enough alone!

Coming Up: Day 2: Hiking in Eldorado Canyon


Kate Geisen August 15, 2011 at 7:18 AM  

Gorgeous pictures...well, except for the snake one!

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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