Colorado – Day 3
August 24, 2008
Setting out from the burbs of Denver, Matt Shockey tagged along as we went for our first ‘overnighter’. We set up camp on the west side of the RMNP at Timber Creek Campground and began about a two mile uphill hike into some high meadows. The small creek that meandered through these meadows was filled to the brim with dark colored brook trout. At first, Matt and Chris were chalking up brookies and I couldn’t buy a fish. The #10 foam hopper was bringing strikes, but no fish. So I switched to a #12 tan EHC and more of the same. In the first 30-40 minutes of fishing I had fallen behind and I mean bad. I had exactly a handful of trout scored and Chris and Matt were putting up serious double digits. So I fumbled around and switched to a #18 EHC and finally dialed it in. Smaller fly dummy. Little did I know at that point I only had about 2 more hours of fishing left before, yep you guessed it, the storm clouds rolled in. In those two hours I landed twenty-seven brookies and lost at least double that to LDR (long distance release). What I wouldn’t give for a full day on this stream to see what kind of ridiculous number I could score. Matt caught 37 and Chris caught 52 and at that point the angry fist of death rolled overhead. I’m talking mamu storm.
Never in my life have I heard thunder that loud. Take a meadow at 10,000′ and line it with treeless granite peaks and you’ve got yourself quite a loud football stadium. Some of the closer lighting strikes nearly made my ears bleed it was so loud. We found a small rock cliff, just enough overhead to keep us relatively dry, and stayed put for over an hour. At least 5 times we thought the storm had passed and tried to retake the stream only to retreat from certain electrocution. Finally, we threw in the towel and hiked out. It was about a 4 mile hike back to trailhead due to the way the meadow struck out at a 90 from where we left the trail.
On the way back down the main trail we heard what sounded like a million bowling balls crashing through the brush and felled trees. We had spooked a herd of elk and the sound they made bumbling through the forest was pretty impressive. About another 1/4 mile down the trail we saw a cow moose and her calf in an adjacent meadow.