Friday, July 3, 2009
Freshen It Up 2009
A week ago my Dad, my Brother-in-Law and me set off for an adventure to the unknown. Our destination was the legendary "Million Dollar" highway of Colorado Silver Rush fame. Our goal was to rest, relax and take in some beautiful scenery. We were successful on all accounts. We took two cars on the trip. One car for hauling (the Bronco) and the other for sun tanning while driving (the Mustang). The two car option was perfect as we could ditch either of the cars for the other go pretty much anywhere our little hearts desired, which included the near-tops of a few mountains. To begin with, understand that the Silver Rush lasted about 20 years at the beginning of the century, so the hundreds of prospector settlements that sprung up ALL over the Colorado mountains were short lived affairs; in fact, most of them ghost towns with rare survivor turned into a tourist attraction. With that as a background, we started our adventure in Ouray, a pretty little tourist town, inhabited by some 1,000+ people with the sole purpose to make us feel at home. The city was pretty, the KOA clean and hospitable, and the hikes, drives, and explorations in the surrounding mountains sublime and given to unwinding, except for the parts where you were close to the edge of a cliff with a 300 foot drop-off, but even then, we never found ourselves in any danger nor did we seek it. Days one and two were spent in and around Ouray. On the third we drove the length of the million dollar highway. It was a beautiful drive through mine dotted hills and wide vistas of mountains. We were surprised to see the openness in comparison to the boxy, surrounded feel of Ouray. Both were nice, but I liked the openness better. We found a spot to camp just outside of Silverton, near a river. This camping was free, but the facilities were adequate and the site itself clean and large. Again, openness. We took a drive up the Silverton canyon and noted some very large mines with many superstructures still in place, though very dilapidated. At the top of the canyon was an honest to goodness ghost town. It was fascinating to walk through the crumbling homes and think about the winters and other hardships they must have endured living at the tops of these mountains. I especially enjoyed reviewing some newspaper from 1907 that had been stuffed into the walls of one home as insulation and since discovered and put on display. Day four found us in a mood to fish, so we did. We purchased a license (day three) and headed for Lake Molas (day four). We found Lake Molas to be a lake surrounded on one side by a day-use campground, the other side for day use by anyone. We tossed in two lines and my Brother-in-Law promptly caught a beautiful, near 12 inch Rainbow Trout. I was ecstatic, due to my desire to cook a fish over the campfire later that evening, and we both continued to fish. A couple of hours later another fish was caught, again by my Brother-in-Law. It was almost identical to the first fish, and I knew we would have a good fish bake later that evening and happily gutted and cleaned the fish. My Brother-in-Law then proceeded to attempt to pay me for half of the license, which he had earned. The rest of the day was gravy from a fishing stand-point. We fished two other lakes in the beating sun and the pouring rain (and thunder and lightning), but we didn't seem to care too much, each lake was beautiful, with incredible mountain-top views. We didn't catch anything more that day. Catching a fish was almost second priority. I almost caught one, but it was truly "the one that got away." It struck my line as I was fixing a mess of line that had unthreaded from my spinner. I saw the bobbin go under a few times, only a few feet away from me in the water, as we were fishing from a peer, and grabbed the line with my bare hands to reel in the fish. It sprang from the water, a nice plump morsel of a fish, and back in the water it struggled to free itself and a very short time later was successful in doing so. Don't cry for me though. Truthfully, that was enough for me. To be so close to fishing glory and yet to have the prize denied me is a common fishing story for me. If you want to have success at fishing, fish with me, because you will invariably catch something from that watery world and I will only congratulate you heartily and gut your fish. Such was my lot that day as well as the next fishing trip the following day, where eight fish were caught in a party of five, with me the only one to catch nothing, not even a bite. Sniff, enough about that! Day four found us waking from a previous night of incessant rain that drowned everything in camp and nearly drowned us had we not been so meticulous in our camping preparations. We brought enough equipment for an army, yet found use for every stick of it in some manner. We awoke very early on this very rainy day four in order to get me home for another camp that evening with the scouts. I was grateful to my travelling companions for their heroic, yet safe, driving that did indeed deliver me home on time for the camp. It was unequivocally a great trip! The companionship, food and good-times had by all made it a great and lasting experience that will need to have a sibling in the future. My only hope is that more of the male side of my family will escape with us next time and make some more fun and epic memories as those we made together on this trip. It was truly refreshing!