I spent Saturday in the backcountry of RMNP poking around to see what the recent storms have done to our snowpack. It was great to get out with some old friends I haven’t ridden with much this year, and also show the ropes to a newer backcountry skier. We toured around Lake Hiyaha, scoping out some larger lines back in the basin and simply enjoying being outside with each other’s company. It was a fun day of skiing, but nothing too eventful occurred.
On our way home, our group began receiving texts asking us where we were and to please check in. We checked Facebook and found out why. Five snowboarders killed on Loveland Pass, only one survivor. This hit home pretty hard.
I looked to my friends on my left and right at the bar thinking about the ‘what ifs’. What if that was us? What if something like this ever happened? What if just one of us sitting at the bar that afternoon would be the only one to come back home? I didn’t know any of the victims, but this one just hit too close to home.
This was the end of an already rough week. I found myself listening to the news on the drive home, constantly reading articles online, and even an hour or two in front of the TV with the news on. Boston Marathon. West, Texas. Loveland Pass. Watching the news all week totally wore me down.
I had no desire to go skiing after the tragic events that occurred the day before on Loveland Pass, so Alex and I decided to fish the Big Thompson instead. We’ve fished the tailwaters right below the dam a few times this winter, but have always come up empty.
First cast…and BOOM! A nice brown took my fly and pretty much devoured it. I laughed thinking that I would get skunked for the rest of the day. A few casts later, my indicator dipped and I had my hook set again into another decent sized brown. I looked upstream and Alex was laughing as well, having hooked a fish on his first few casts. But it didn’t stop there, they were hungry. It was the best day of fishing I’ve had yet!
We can try to make all the right decisions, but they don’t always pan out. My mother texted me today and told me to stick with fly fishing, out of fear for my safety in the backcounty. I replied, being the smart ass I can be, “I can very easily die in a car crash as well, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to drive”. We can always buckle up, use our turn signals, and drive the speed limit, but that won’t guarantee our safety on the road. When your time comes…well, its time and there’s nothing you can do about. You can only live your life to its absolute fullest, one day at a time.
Sunday was a much needed, and very unexpected, day on the river. It served as a good reminder that we need to always set time aside for ourselves in this hectic world we live in. Find that peace and quiet and unplug for that one day a week (or more if you can) and use it to refresh yourself. Fly fishing has given my just that. The opportunity to lose myself in the river and forget about the outside world for just a few hours. No Facebook, no Twitter, no constant news stream, and nowhere else to be. It’s just you and the river…