Thursday, September 23, 2010

Poudre Camping 101.

Although these photos aren't the greatest, they tell a story.

Last week I went camping up in the Poudre Canyon, specifically the Upper Narrows Campground. It was the first time I had taken the new pop-up camper, and was really hoping to beat the weekend traffic up there in order to get a good spot to set up camp. It was just me, and I was really looking forward to some clearing of the mind and a schedule of my own.

As I approached the campground, I noticed that the spot that I was hoping was available was.

That set the tone for what was a flawless overnight getaway. The site was perfect, the weather cooperated, the firewood was abundant, the burgers sizzled, and the fish were biting.

I set up camp and checked out my surroundings -- fly rod in one hand, cold beer in the other. I chatted with some earthy folks setting up camp close by, preparing for the hippie concert down the canyon at Mishy. I explored some new water down stream around where more hippies were staying and plucked a couple rainbows from the surface with my red, deerhair dry. The hippies were digging it.

Just after dusk, I landed the largest trout I've ever caught out of the Poudre. A tenacious brown who grabbed hold of my nymph and took it directly downstream and into some small rapids. Being the heaviest object that's ever been on the other end of my year-old three weight rod, it took more than a few minutes to manipulate him back up stream and within reaching distance. I quickly scooped him up and cradled him in my left arm while palming his chest firmly. His spots and hues were vibrant, his eyes dark and wild. He was a male, with crisp, unscathed fins, and a kipe that made him look both wise and rugged. He was every bit of 15 inches, a trophy for these waters.

Luckily, I had left my camera back at camp. If I would have remembered it, I wouldn't have caught him. That's how it works.

That night brought grilled cheeseburgers, chips and salsa, and a grand campfire that drew my attention for about five hours. Normally more of a fan of microbrews, I opted for old fashion camping beer in the form of Bud Light. Fairly cheap, fairly tasty, and canned. Plus, I rarely have to worry about the after effects from BL, unlike a box of PBR or Oly from the night before. Better to play it safe when the closest toilet is 200 yards away.

The next morning I brewed up some coffee in the percolator and hit the river one last time. After a small mix of browns and rainbows, I felt completely satisfied and decided to break camp and head back down the hill.

The entire drive home, I smiled.


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