A Spring Day in the Mountains
It was a gorgeous day in Colorado today, it was in the high 50’s, mostly sunny until some clouds came in this afternoon, but a pleasant day in general. My son Kyle and I headed to the mountains to do a few things. First I wanted to check out the cabin I reserved for my Uncle and two cousins who are coming out to fish next weekend, I also wanted to see how the South Platte River was flowing, I wanted to teach Kyle how to drive my Jeep (it is a stick shift), and I wanted to explore a new area that I am hoping to hunt the week after next. It has been a while since Kyle and I spent a day in the woods together, and I enjoyed every minute of his time, even when he was tearing up my clutch learning how to drive the Jeep.
I drove to the South Platte, and it was flowing surprisingly low, especially with all of the snow we have had lately, but there is still a lot of snow on the ground, so it will pick up as it warms up in the coming week. It still looked good for fishing though, and as we followed the river through the valley to Deckers, I was checking out good places to take my relatives. I always look for fishermen who are being guided because that tells me where the guides think the good fishing is, and they know better than anyone else. It’s easy to spot a fishing guide; he or she is dressed just like a fisherman, only they aren’t carrying a rod. There seems to be more guides working on the South Platte these days, I guess that’s a good sign.
As we drove through Trumbull I looked for the cabin I reserved and found it. Trumbull isn’t really a town, it is a small cluster of cabins and a volunteer fire station, and that’s about it. If you sneeze while you are driving through, you will miss it. The cabin I reserved through Flies and Lies Fly Shop in Deckers sits on a bluff right above the river, with a path to get down to the water, it is going to be very nice for my Uncle’s birthday present, and I am excited for those guys to get here.
We drove on to Forest Road 211 to ascend out of the valley and headed for the area I wanted to scout. The first two miles of that road are pretty intense; it is very narrow in spots, and it drops off almost straight down on the down slope side of the mountain for several hundred feet. Once we got to the top of that and veered off onto another Forest Road, I stopped and let Kyle drive. We did practice a little bit in the church parking lot close to my house before we left, but this was his first time driving a stick shift on a dirt road.
Kyle was excited to drive the Jeep, and he only killed the engine a couple of times getting started. After that, he did just fine, although he was going a little too fast a few times for a road of that condition, it’s really not a road at all, more like a trail. In the past 11 years Kyle and I had gone on many camping trips in the area we were driving through, and as we drove we reminisced about those times. It was fun to talk about those memories and all the things we had done together, like the massive lightning storm we sat through for three hours, sitting in the Jeep, and I taught Kyle how to play Gin while we waited out the storm.
And the time we had some annoying people set up a camp about 50 yards from us one night, they were loud and blasting some of the worst sounding music I have ever heard. So Kyle and I sneaked over to a ridge above where they were and we started throwing rocks in their vicinity, not to hit them, but to scare them. When the first rock hit in some bushes about 15 feet from where they were camped one guy yelled “Dude turn off the stereo! I heard something! Something is out there man!” We threw a few more rocks, and they were out searching the surroundings with their flashlights, it was hilarious to watch them. We continued with that for about thirty minutes, and then went back to our camp site laughing. Ironically, the next day those guys got their little sedan high-centered and stuck trying to get out, and they came to me for help. I took the shovel off of my Jeep, dug out an area under their car, then hooked up a tow strap and pulled them out onto the road. Kyle and I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing at these guys, but they were extremely grateful for our help.[nggallery id=19]
We continued traveling on Forest Road 560 and got into the new area that we had not been to before. I had Kyle stop on a hill a few times to practice starting again from a dead stop, and he was getting the hang of it. We crossed a couple of small creeks that were kind of deep, and he did fine. Then we got into the area that I wanted to scout, and it was just beautiful; mountainous terrain, with some aspen trees mixed among the pine, some open meadows, a few small creeks flowing through, all the right conditions for turkeys. From the research I had done through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website, I knew there were turkeys in this area, so we spent our time checking out places to camp. It was so gorgeous in that area, and with Kyle driving I was able to enjoy the view.
We stopped at several places as potential camping areas, and I picked out a few that will work well for my trip on the 15th. At one place we got out the turkey gun and I let Kyle shoot it for his first time. As always he was deadly accurate; he is one of the best shooters I have ever seen, maybe even better than me, maybe. My turkey gun is a short-barrel shotgun with a long choke, something very different than a normal shotgun for upland birds or waterfowl, but Kyle nailed a paper plate at 50 yards on his first shot, and repeated that a few more times. As his father, I have to take credit for his ability; otherwise I would feel intimidated by his prowess with firearms.
We continued the drive out of the wilderness, and eventually ended up back in Deckers, where we had a late lunch at a restaurant in the resort there. I also checked in with the Flies and Lies Fly Shop to get an update on the fishing conditions in preparation for next weekend. I feel a lot of pressure to make this a good trip for my Uncle and cousins, but I am sure it will be fine. I will have some pictures of that and a story to write after next weekend.
It was a great day!