The Fishing Trip

You never realize how many times you pee in one day until you have to walk half way down the river and hide to do it. But I am starting in the middle…

For those of you who didn’t know, I went fishing with five of the DH’s fishing buddies last week. Not just any fishing trip, mind you, but a coveted, amazing fishing trip down the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon. Oh yeah, baby.

The trip has been affectionately nicknamed “the Groover” by its former participants. You see, everything that goes into the canyon must come out. Think about that for a second. Everything. The ammunition box they use for a latrine leaves grooves on your ass. Now, however, they have added a toilet seat (thank you thank you):

The Groover

I was looking forward to having my inaugural visit to the Groover, but once again, the airlines almost screwed me out of my vacation. My first flight was delayed due to a “mechanical” and after three gate changes and an hour and a half I made it onto the plane. This was after making friends with Ranger Rick (a National Parks employee who studies the effects of wildfires on flora) and Dennis (a kind older gentleman who happens to live in Montrose, my ultimate destination). Upon hearing that my connection had been blown, Dennis offered to give me his seat on the full late flight to Montrose. Can you believe that, a stranger offering to spend the night in Denver so I could take my dream fishing trip? I am truly a lucky girl.

Luckily for both of us, they managed to get me on the late flight. After 20 minutes of white-knuckle terror through thunderstorms and turbulence I made it to the charming Montrose airport, where Dennis proceeded to make his wife drive me to my hotel.

The gang (Chief, the Sommelier, The Hulk, Bonfire and Dallas) showed up at the hotel bright and early the next morning, grabbed me and my gear, and headed off to meet the guides and the van that would spirit us away to the canyon and away from our smart phones.

I had been told that the canyon was always so hot you couldn’t wait to jump into the ice-cold river water. I had brought a pair of long pants against the advice of my husband. I had brought the kick ass rain coat only thinking “if I bring it, I won’t need it.” I was wrong.  There were three inches of snow in the mountains the morning we hit the river. It was raining on and off and cold enough that one member of our party bought winter gloves at the gas station and the rest of us were jealous we didn’t think of it.

The cold and wet situation might not have been such a big deal if you didn’t have to take a 7 mile four-wheel drive road and a 45 minute walk down the side of the canyon to get to the boats. My shoes were so caked with mud I wasn’t hiking so much as skiing down the trail. I only fell once, though it was really more like taking a knee. Brownie, Super Guide, told me to go ahead and leave my pack and they would come back up for it. I thought to myself “I’d rather fall a thousand times than leave this pack behind.” I was not going to be that girl.

We all managed to make it to the river intact, and packed everything into the boats. The Sommelier drew the short straw and had to ride with me the first day. I took the front in an effort to stave off my usual seasickness. We pushed off the bank and started fishing the shit out of that river.

My Chariots

I hadn’t cast a line in over two years, so I feared that The Sommelier would turn into a pin cushion on my back cast. But the rust began to shake off and I found myself settling back into a decent rhythm.

I caught three fish that first day, my first one being a nice 19 inch rainbow. Sweet. The scenery was beautiful when I remembered to look up.

One of my rainbows

I got to spend three days on this river, nymphing and bullshitting and watching my new fishing buddies drink like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The rest of you are all amateurs. Seriously.

Part of what was left in the boats at the end of the day

Everyone caught fish in great quantities and some of impressive size. One day I managed to catch six and lose two more before even getting on the boat. There were some amazing catches, my favorite being when Dallas laid his line in the water to take a picture and release the brown he had just caught. When he pulled the line out of the water there was another fish on it, just like that. Of course, The Chief catching Bonfire was a nice bit of fishing as well. Hey, you can’t go through  that much beer without getting a little silly.

The food was good and the company was better. The stories flew thick and fast around the table each night. I haven’t laughed so hard in I don’t know how long. The boys were all so sweet, never once making me feel like I wasn’t welcome (though I’m sure they had some concerns about sharing the trip with one of the wives).

Best of all were the guides from Gunnison River Expeditions, who showed endless patience and boundless knowledge. They steered boats, replaced stripped flies, unwound wind knots, set up and broke down camp and made us all forget our cares for a few days.

Three days of fishing bliss, a night of luxury in Telluride courtesy of Chief, followed by another crackerjack job by the airlines (can you sense the sarcasm…a four hour delay) put me firmly back on the ground in the good old Midwest.

A GIANT thank you to the DH for taking charge of the Terrors so I could have this amazing experience. I really couldn’t have done it without him and I still can’t believe he went through with it just for little old me.

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