The White River at Ducey’s Lodge

Flat Tops Trip 2013 Part One

I will be posting stories of my days from my past trip to the Flat Tops Wilderness Area and the White River Valley, this was my first day. It’s 8:00 PM and I am sitting outside of my cabin at Ducey’s Lodge on the White River.  I’ve driven past this place a million times on my way to the Flat Tops trail head or Buford, and I have never stopped to check it out.  When I come to this area and stay in a cabin, I usually stay at Buford, but it is closed this summer for the first time in 50 years or more.  Ever since the owner, Harry Tucker, died, his kids just haven’t been too interested in keeping the place going.  First they closed the store a few years ago, and now the cabins.  It’s hard to come to a new place when I am so familiar with Buford, but I guess it never hurts to try something new.

This place is right on the White River, and it actually does have a lodge building, which is a log building about 50 ‘ x 25’, it has a pool table, ping pong table, shuffle board, a satellite TV, lots of seating, and lots of wild life mounts and pictures.  There are eight cabins here, and I got the smallest one, but I guess that’s OK.  It’s a nice little cabin with a full kitchen and cold running water from the well, no hot water though.  The property is filled with tall, old cotton wood trees, with some pine and spruce trees here and there.  I am the only one here right now, but Ducey said a couple is coming later tonight.  Ducey is a nice guy, probably in his late 60’s, and very friendly.  He came out to greet me when I pulled in at about 2:30 this afternoon.  He showed me around the place, showed me the river, the lodge, and where I can shoot my bow in an open field right near the cabins.  I was excited to get here for a long-needed vacation.


My cabin at Ducey’s White River Resort

After I unloaded all my stuff and got situated in the cabin, I went to shoot my bow, knowing that I was going to have to sight it in again since my sight came loose on the trip home from the last time I shot it.  It took me about a half an hour to make the adjustments and getting the bow shooting on target again, I was very pleased with how easy that was to do, and how well I was shooting after got it adjusted right.  When sighting a bow, as with a rifle, you move your sights to where the arrow is hitting, and that took a while of adjustments.  After a while I was shooting consistently out to 30 yards, and my goal is to be doing that at 40 yards by the end of this trip, maybe even 50 as well as this bow shoots.  I shot for about 90 minutes, and then decided to fish the river for a while.  Here is a video of me shooting, click here.

It didn’t take long to get rigged up with my favorite White River combo; a bead head Prince Nymph with a Pheasant Tail nymph trailing it.  The river kind of meanders along the property, a little slower than what I am used to for the White, but that’s OK, the water looked promising.  I waded into the river and began casting my flies, and on the second cast I caught a huge white fish.  I love white fish for their strength; they fight as hard as any trout.  He took me for a ride downstream, peeling line off of my reel as I tried to keep up following him, stumbling along the large rocks in the river bed, while at the same time pressuring him towards my side of the shore.

The rocks were slippery and I was getting into deep water, but I was gaining ground on the fish and getting him to slow down.  After a five minute battle, I had the fish close to the net, but white fish are notorious for taking off again at the sight of a net, so it took another five minutes to finally land him.  He was huge!  I would guess he was over four pounds, and much longer than my net.  What a way to start the fishing on this trip!  I caught four more white fish in the next hour, all of them big and strong, but not as big as that first one.  They all took the Pheasant Tail, and they all gave me a good fight.


My first fish of the trip, a big white fish.

I got off the river at 6:30, went back to the cabin, put my gear away, and tried to find the Rockies game on my radio, with no luck.  Oh well, I decided I would just listen to the humming birds, the crickets, birds, and the sound of the running river.  After dinner I decided to sit out on the picnic table by the cabin and write for a while, and kind of unwind from the day.

I had a couple of very stressful things happen right before this trip, one was trying to get my website to have products load from a new supplier, which didn’t happen, and the other was a difficult text conversation with someone I care for very much.  The website stuff is not that big a deal, but the other incident really upset me, especially knowing that I won’t be able to communicate with her for several days.

I’m not even sure what happened in the conversation, she got upset at something I said or did, which upset me because I didn’t know what I did to upset her, and it just kind of snowballed from there.  The funny thing is she is not even my girlfriend, we are just very close friends, and I couldn’t believe how much it upset me that it happened, especially since I wasn’t even sure why.  In the end we got over it I reckon, but the fact that it even happened still bothered me quite a lot.  I thought about it all night as I tried to fall asleep, and I even had a weird dream about her where she tried to explain what I had done, but I didn’t understand it.  I didn’t call or text her today, I figured I would leave her alone.  I did send her a text just as I was leaving phone coverage to say good bye, I don’t know if she responded or not.  But we are good friends and I know things will be fine when I get back, I’ll just be thinking about that, and her, a lot on this trip.

It is getting dark now, I am writing by candle light.  I can hear horses nearby whinnying about something, probably feeding time for the Sombrero horses across the river.  It is so peaceful here, I’m kind of glad I couldn’t find the Rockies game on the radio.  I think I will quit writing for the night and get things ready for tomorrow.  I am going to hike up to Marvine Lake to the spot where I spread my mom’s ashes last summer; it will be nice to spend some time there and think about her, as if I don’t every day.  It will be a 12 mile round trip through beautiful country, and I’m hoping my back feels better in the morning, but I’m going regardless of that.