Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 15 - Memories

Today, was a day of hanging pictures at the homestead. We moved into our new place in late July, but haven't pounded a nail into the wall until today. If I counted correctly, we hung an otter doorknocker, 3 mirrors, and 19 picture frames. It took quite a few hours, but in the end the house feels like a home.

During the process, I ran across some old photos of me fly fishing Windsor Lake, above Leadville, Colorado. It was during the first summer that I was learning how to fly fish. I remember the lake quite will. I had waded out on a sand bed, and had drifted a #20 orange scud into a rocky area. When the strike indicator twitched, I set the hook on a 14-16" greenback cutthroat. It was magical. Unfortunately, this was before I learned to take pictures of great fish and the trout only exists in my mind.

The photos of me were taken by some members of the group that I was with. Don't ask me their names as I don't remember. I had been asked to attend a "Christian" retreat known as Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. The outing was an annual event that started out with only a handful of people in the first few years, but by the time I attended there were close 200 people in attendance.

I had brought my gear in hopes of doing some fishing, and managed to bump into a fellow angler. He was much more advanced than me, he had topographic maps. The night before the trip, I remember sitting down with him and discussing about where we should fish the next day. He had been in the area before and did quite well on a few lakes. This time however, he wanted to try a different lake. Not knowing was I about to get into, I said whatever he decided would be fine by me. Little did I know that this lake had a 1500 foot elevation gain in less than a mile. Have I mentioned that I am a gear addict? It was tough going.

In my mind's eye, I remember a long car ride on what used to be an old railroad bed. It was bumpy too. At the end of this road, and I use that term loosely, we pulled into a parking lot. There was about a half of dozen different members in our group, but only two anglers. I grabbed my backpack and we started up the trail. The sky was a gorgeous blue color, like the kind you get from a late October sky. The scent of decaying pine needles was brought to my nose as we kicked up clouds of trail dust on our ascent up.

After rounding a rocky bend, we came into an opening that had a small lake, that obviously came about from the melting snow. I was informed that this wasn't our final destination and we continued on. Our destination came over the next rise. It was beautiful. The mountain seemed to curve around the lake and stretched up and kissed that blue cloudless sky. On one little slope, last winter's snow was still there. The lake was so clear and pristine, that it mirrored the mountaintops. It was definetly cooler here than it was at the parking lot. The lake was close to 12,000 feet as the trees stopped growing only a few more feet up the slope.

There are only a few places in this world that seem to be truly magical. And when we find these places we must do everthing in our power to identify that moment and hold onto it. As I grow older, this place is one of those places for me. Even now as I type, I'm getting emotional about how peaceful, tranquil, happy the place was for me. It is my desire to fish this place one more time before I die.

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