Sunday, July 24, 2016

A bitter sweet day on Clear Creek

I remember back about 1984 or so, there was a small high mountain lake I used to go to. The primary reason I went there was because it was pristine. There were three or four old log cabins that dotted the landscape; the only sign that man had been there. The fish, while small, were always hungry. The only human I ever bumped into was an old man that had to be pushing 80. For several years when I went up there I was always surprised to find my friend, whose name I never knew, casting a fly in the early morning hours. I always walked over to say hello, ask how the fishing was and talk a little about fishing and life. Those two subjects always seems to walk hand in hand to the old man.  One day after an absence of two years, I drove up and found a gate across the gravel road with a sign saying there was now a price to pay to visit what to me was close to heaven. I paid my fee and proceeded up the road and upon rounding a bend, saw an RV park filled with all manner of humanity...minus the old log cabins.  I was stunned beyond words for a few moments and then let out a curse word.  My wife looked at me and I said it's not the same.  I pulled up to the park manager's RV and met the manager, a pleasant man in his late 50s.  I told him that I used to come up here to fish with an old man that spent his summers here.  The man told me that the old man had died and his family had sold the property. The cabins had been razed and the RV park built in their place.

You're probably wondering what that little story has to do with my trip to Clear Creek. Those of you that know me will guess where I'm going with this.

The view from just past my house

This trip was one that I had been anxious to take since it had been several months since I had been there last. The weather at home was in the low 90s and as usual, I got a later start than planned.   The pictures above are the view I have as I head west from my house. The closer I got to the canyon, the cooler it got and the cloud cover was a welcome sight.

As I turned onto highway 6 entering the canyon my heart raced a little bit.  It always does. I love the canyon; the massive rocks, the water and the trees. They've been a part of my life for more years than I can remember.

I've mentioned before that highway 6 is also the route to Blackhawk and Central City, two old mining towns/tourist attractions turned gambling meccas. Traffic is generally fairly heavy going to and from; between folks just out for a drive and those going to try their luck at the casinos.  But, today was different. I can't remember ever seeing so much traffic headed west. A bad omen? Perhaps, but maybe not.

I also mentioned that the last time I was up there, there was a lot of construction going on. Pedestrian bridges and walking paths that would take one to the previously inaccessible "other side".  You know, the one where you imagined that if you could just get "over there", the fishing had to be much better.

The river downstream was full of rafters and kayakers

My favorite place to start out is not accessible.

Neither is this 

One lonely fisherman

There are three or four of these upstream

Some people say this is progress...I feel like someone razed the cabins and punched me in the gut. 

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