It was almost like we had a real plan. The damp highway a deep black, lit up by lonely headlights wandering along its winding route. The fog settled in. A welcoming veil, a daunting, yet epic reminder of the day to come. In the distance, tail lights raced to somewhere. Tail lights I have seen once before. I followed the white rabbit, knowing we had the same destination. The whole time, checking my pocket watch, seeing how late it had actually become. Hearing words from somewhere behind me, “he went that way”
Somehow we had all made it on time as not planned at all. Sanders was missing his coffee cup to fiddle with. Erin was silently preparing, waiting. I “cooked” breakfast. Before not too long, we were off. On a perpetual six mile journey to nowhere, somewhere dreams are born. Somewhere that the three of us had never been. Somewhere between the fine line of life and desolation. The brink.
Sanders had been preparing for the journey by stretching for a month prior to this hike. Erin, a seasoned vet of the high country pressed on like it was easy. I had done this before, maybe once or twice. On the way up, we spoke of life and the people in it, where we were and where we were going, what we were passing. It was another one of those references to life. The hike being the journey, the destination unknown. “Six more miles, right?” All of us knowing it was shorter. Like trying to set all of the clocks forward in your house for the sole purpose of being early to those nagging appointments. It never really works, now we have the all-knowing judge of time in our pockets, the cell phone. For us, this judge was the map. I am not one for map carrying, but Erin is. Sure, you really need one in places like New Mexico, where the path is used once a year by a lonely fisherman and wayward hikers. Here in Colorado, someone is almost everywhere at any given moment. Even with that being said, the map came in handy multiple times.
Erin, The Navigator and our own personal sacagawea, lead us through a shortcut. Sanders also knew about this, something he read in a book somewhere. I remained in the dark. I knew the long route very well and we were far from it. When I saw the view of the opposing side of the canyon, I knew where we were. We had saved a ton of time. Sanders said, “Six more miles to go”.
Sanders was equipped with his ghostbusters pack, two aluminum rod tubes tucked away on either side. Although it was a joke, it was a real life version of a trips fore shadowing. We arrived after our six mile expedition to the lake. Walking around it, we saw no sign of fish and there was a point where I had thought the worst. I looked to sanders and his pack, something was mentioned about ectoplasm. If ectoplasm was a sign that ghosts were here, this lake was thick with it. The ghosts floated in the plane below, unknown to me. Ghosts of a time when Greenback Trout were a mystery gene, confused and possibly mixed with Colorado Cutthroat. A mistake that may be known to humans in a few million years as a precursor to a newly evolved trout.
Let it be known to the world that I fish with an indicator in the high country stillwater. It’s my way of fishing where the fish are feeding. Generally within that gap above a developing thermocline where the fish and insects can live with ease. Suddenly, after some time fishing a fish decided that my indicator was food. He was very wrong. It was this moment that i realized that there were fish here. My confidence returned.
Erin was the first, somehow she always pulls it off. She mentioned a soft hackle. I had nothing of the sort in my box. I continued on with the “hatchback”. A cross somewhere between a caddis, bwo, and scud. It paid off. Sanders’ magic bug was a… Well, it was a big dry. We were catching fish. Our trip had paid off.
Erin wandered off downstream, Sanders and I followed. We fished to the most weary fish. No magic for me there, but I was still drawn to it. Further down, brookies for days in a clogged stream. Sanders fished below me, Erin above, somewhere in the middle I realized that after being alive for this long, maybe I was a bit late to the party for making friends. Even late in the game, good friends (as weird as they may be) bring out life in the worst times and force you to crack a smile when you need one the most. I stood there next to the creek, fishing to fish I had already caught, smiling.
My phone doesn’t like linking, check out Sanders at “Up the Poudre” and Erin at “Mysteries Internal”, both amazing writers and great people.