There is a particular section of the South Platte River in Colorado that they nicknamed “The Dream Stream”. Who are “they”? I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that they need a stern talking to. Granted, in this context, dream simply means a state of perfection. Boring. With that being said, my mind automatically races to the irrational. For example, a place where the tables are turned, and while underwater you fish into the atmosphere for hot air balloons with gargantuan insects leading the way like reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh. With this thought, I really had to see what I was missing out on.
The grass broke away before me. A slow downhill slope created by millions of years of water flowing through a nearly level valley. No trees, rocks, or marmot here, just a long slow walk into the unknown. The path arrow straight, from fence following fly fishermen, and a damn fine fence to boot! Trust me, you’ll have time to appreciate it on the hike in. Did I say hike? I really meant walk. The long plains grass issued forth moths and no big terrestrials, just boring, normal grass. Looking forward, the trail pinpointed into nothing. Much like a long straight road in Arizona or Nevada, it seemed to get smaller and smaller until disappearing into some void of another dimension. Truth be told, it might be a tenth of a mile, but it feels longer when you are awaiting Dali’s “Persistance of Memory”. Keep analyzing the fence, it helps.
Upon arrival, you won’t be awestruck by what you find. No melting clocks, no insects pulling hot air balloons, and you didn’t even forget your pants. Lucky you! Just a plain old boring river with gigantic trout. After catching a few fish, I wondered what exactly makes this place dreamy. I sat on the bank next to a quiet bend pool, quietly pondering the dreamy origin of the river. Slow water, no cover, tons of fisherman, big fish (plus), quiet, slow flowing, relaxing… quiet, trickling water… relaxing, quiet… My sitting turned to laying as I was lulled to sleep by the river. That was it! I had found the reason for the dream part of the stream! It gently sails you off to sleep, to dream of the place you thought you might visit. The river was so quiet that the splashing of fish was my alarm clock. I woke up to the sound. My eyes cracked open to a perfectly clear blue sky, with little black dots. I rubbed my eyes, blinked, still there. I tried to focus on one, but there were blankets of them drifting in the breeze. I sat up and Amy’s Ant splashed the surface and was gulped in the same moment. The fish waited for these bugs. Fish after fish for a good 20 minutes and the blankets of bugs were gone, so were the fish.
This continued for the rest of the day in the same bend. Sleep, alarm, bugs, fish. Every single time, I looked at the sky for those bugs. If they weren’t there, I went back to sleep. When I woke up for the last time, I smiled a smile that you can’t wipe off. The sun was setting as I walked back to my car. I didn’t even notice the fence. It wasn’t the most beautiful scene, as would be a high country sunrise. It worked as my lone cowboy ride off into the sunset and away from a place that I might never return to.