Tuesday, September 23, 2008
It's not all floating and fishing and double hauling bunnies to the bank in the Fall at Hog Island. One of our recent customers from the Smokie Mountains had a mutual friend, Josh Stephens, head our way for the America's Cup Fly Fishing Tournament. The plan called for Josh to take our boat back to Etowah, NC after defending the USA from Poland, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, and others on Colorado rivers. The rendezvous would be in Durango at Brian Capsay's house. I must of called Josh in his words "30,000 times" in the days leading up to the rendezvous. I was working him to see if he would meet me in Montrose after his Elk hunt, so I would not be on the hook for the trip up and over the San Juans. I was telling myself "this is a six hour round trip odyssey from Montrose to Durango, and I have a demo boat in the Roaring Fork Valley, and I don't have time to be lollygagging ten miles an hour up and over Red Mountain Pass." I made one last futile call from Grand Junction, and pointed the Exploder South. Maybe because I was fighting the drive a good bit, but somewhere before Ouray my attitude did a fast 180. Fourteen thousand foot mountains are different than 10,000 foot mountains. If I could write a blues song about it I would. The short answer is this is 'be real careful not to drive off the road pretty'. With big 14ers you get several thousand feet of exposed rock above treeline. The contrast with the soft changing Aspens and scrub Oak below, and an endless blue sky above is humbling and incredibly inspiring. Before I knew it I am pulling over taking pictures like I just got off the Grey Hound bus from Yazoo City. The picture above is on the downhill slope from atop 11,018 foot Red Mountain Pass. It makes me daydream of being horseback on Thunder towing a pack mule named Bessy out looking for gold and silver.