Fishing Weekend on the Green

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The Green River

Spring in Northwest Colorado has been cool and wet this year. Not that any of us will complain after last year’s fires, but still, where is summer?! We are limited where to camp at this point; too much snow in the high country. We don’t normally go to the same places week after week, but adjustments need to be made if we want to camp right now.

We headed to the Green River, again, this past weekend. Our timing was actually pretty good, since the release from Flaming Gorge will be increasing this Monday. Reports say it will go up to 6,000 cfs. Rafters will be happy.

BT looking for the big Brown Trout

Saturday we headed to the river stretch just below the dam (Flaming Gorge, UT). A little busy, but you could still find a spot on the river where you didn’t have anyone close by. Fish were biting, and water was pretty clear. While Bill fished with another friend that joined us for the weekend, I ventured along the river on the hiking trail that goes from the dam to Little Hole; about 7 miles. Beautiful, easy trail along the river.

Wild Flowers along the river trail

Fish were caught, and released! Everyone was happy. We left our campground early afternoon on Sunday to 80 degrees, it was 57 by the time we got home. Glad we had a couple of nice summer days in Utah.

Camp ~ Lily Pad

Fly Highway, Idaho: We meet again

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Between Idaho Falls, ID and West Yellowstone, MT one finds Highway 20 on the eastern part of Idaho (north/south). This 108-mile stretch is part of a 500-mile route also known as the “Fly Highway”. As you drive along, you pass through some farming communities, several small towns, but the main attraction is the Henry’s Fork River. South of Henry’s Lake, this amazing river snakes through beautiful canyons, Island and Harriman State Parks, down the Mesa Falls, and it continues south a bit further until it joins the Snake River just south of Thornton, ID. The Henry’s Fork is premier trout fishing river in these parts; a well deserved title.

We waited until the little angels went back to school to make our trip. Very glad we did. After the Labor Day weekend, things were nice and quiet and we were able to enjoy the area without having to “fight the crowds”.

Fishing the Henry’s Fork is not easy. Those with patience are eventually rewarded.

A variety of accommodations are available along the route. Several inns, lodges and cabins are available along the highway for those not wanting to camp. As far as camping, many options available too; primitive camping, State Parks, RV parks, and forest service campgrounds. Some of the campgrounds have river or lake access.

Our first few days were spent on the Henry’s Lake. The State Park has full facilities, hookups, bathrooms and showers. Very clean and friendly staff. If you are looking for shade, you will need to bring it with you. Very little to no trees at the campground. The lake was wonderful to kayak and fish. We did need to be done by 11am at which time the wind picked up to tropical storm strengthen. Most days it died down in the evening after the sunset, but not always. After a few days of this, we opted for a primitive camp area with a bit more protection from the wind; Riverside was a great option for us. A quiet campground along the highway with great camp spots and access to the river. It was also centrally located along Hwy 20 for our many day trips.

Mid week, after a day of fishing, our traveling partners treated us to a fabulous lunch at Trout Hunters. Not only does the Bar & Grill have a great terrace overlooking the Henry’s Fork, but the food was fabulous. The standalone building also houses the fly-fishing store and guide services. Great friendly staff all around. Worth the stop.

Another trip comes to an end. Great times were had by all. The gentlemen will have fish stories to tell, at least for a year or so. And, no, a case of red wine was not too much for a 9-day camp trip. Cheers!

A few of the must see attractions while in the Island Park area, along with some tips:

  • Island Park Dam: wonderful spot to kayak, bird watching, and if you are lucky, moose can be spotted. There is also a boat ramp just by the dam if you want to go down the Box Canyon. (2-4 hour float to Last Chance)
  • Box Canyon Campground: nice hiking trail along the Box Canyon ridge. Easy trail. Campground is nice but you have to hike down to the river; less than 1 mile.
  • Mesa Falls By-way: the falls is a must, especially the upper falls. ($5 entry fee@upper falls. No fee required at the lower falls)
  • Groceries: not many options, but Robin’s Roost @ Island Park was a great spot with good variety of meats, vegetables and even wine/beer. Please note: no liquor sales on Sundays. (Really, Idaho?)
  • For those traveling with RV’s or Travel Trailers: Island Park has two free dump stations along Hwy 20; one just north of Macks Inn and another just by Last Chance boat ramp.
  • Buy a Forest Service map. Too many forest service roads with great river spots that you can only find with a good forest service map.

We drove, we hiked, we fished…and, drank wine!

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What an adventure we had visiting southern Colorado this past month. I survived Red Mountain Pass; really wanted to get the sticker, but couldn’t find one. I literally held the armrest of the truck the whole time. How silly is that. Like if we went off the road, that would really help…

Our home based was Molas Lake Campground.  A great central place to stay, along Hwy 550, where you can easily access Durango to the south or Silverton just 4 miles away to the north. You can also access the Colorado Trail (eastbound) at Molas Campground; the northbound trail is at Little Molas just a couple of miles away.

The Million Dollar Highway is not for the faint at heart, but you are rewarded with the most amazing views as you drive the winding road north/south between Silverton and Ouray.

Note to self, when visiting small towns, check to see if they have special events going on BEFORE you go there!

We hopped over to Telluride and got stuck downtown in the aftermath of their bluegrass festival traffic. We went to the falls, took a picture and ran. We will leave Telluride for another trip. It looked like a great little downtown, but we are not ones to fight the crowds, so we will leave the exploring for our next trip; we will return.  Did find that the ski area had free gondola rides. So, if we had known better, could have parked at the free parking and taken the gondola down to town. Who knew?!

Lizard Head Pass was pretty awesome too. It’s hard to say which pass had the best views. Heading south towards Dolores, we came across gorgeous vistas along the highway. Saw several potential future camping spots. We will have to visit again for sure. Too many great places to explore, so little time!

While driving the southern highways, we also saw the devastation of the multiple fires currently burning in the area. Glad there wasn’t lost of life and that the courageous firefighters were able to keep the structure loss to a minimum.

Mid-week through our trip, friends joined us as we gathered to celebrate friendship and someone’s birthday!! Happy 29th my dear friend 🙂 We hiked, we fished… but mostly we drank wine. There was a mean game of Bean Bag Toss going on too.

HappyHourSelfyHikingMolas

We ended the week along the Arkansas River just North of Salina, Colorado. A bit busy since they are at the peak of their rafting season, but still wonderful to be on the river. Beautiful water.

As always, fun was had by all. Until we meet again at a forest near you…

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Note: Excellent mexican food on this trip with a few brews in the mix…

  • Dolores, CO – Chavolito’s Mexican Restaurant – on the southside of town along the hwy. Great service and the food was excellent. ♥♥♥♥♥
  • Leadville, CO – The food is always great at Casa Sanchez 2. ♥♥♥ (service was a bit off this last time because of how busy they were)
  • Silverton, CO – Natalia’s was a unique place. A mix of American and Mexican food with good friendly service. ♥♥♥
  • Silverton, COAvalanche Brewery – Great place to have a cold beer and pizza. Worth the stop. ♥♥♥♥

 

The best memories are made camping!

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The mountains are calling! June is upon us. It’s one of the best months in northern Colorado to enjoy the great outdoors (my opinion, anyway!). With all the chores done at home, we are heading to the high country. Most weekends we are hiding away as remote as possible. It’s not that we don’t like people, we just love the wilderness and the solitude more. Sorry, by Friday afternoon, I can’t do people anymore!

The more we explore, the more we find ourselves realizing how lucky we are to live where we live. Within a couple of hours from where we call home, we have many options to camp, fish and hike. We are truly blessed. Can’t take it for granted one minute.

Always looking for the next great spot to spend the weekend. I have a hard time going to the same place all the time. It’s a big world out there to not explore new places; maybe it’s my heritage! I joke that Magalhaes (Magellan, as he is better known) was my cousin.

This past weekend took us to Rainbow Lake Trail in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. It’s a 8-mile round trip, moderate/hard hike with about 1,200 feet elevation gain. Once you arrive, you are met with a beautiful crystal clear alpine lake; breathtaking. It’s a bit early in the season, so we came across snow on the trail and on the lake; some floating icebergs too. It’s a beautiful spot to fish or just enjoy lunch; we did both. Plan on 4 to 5 hours for this beautiful hike. If you feel more adventurous, you can backpack in.

Real freedom lies in wilderness not in civilization. ~ Charles Lindbergh

The biggest accomplishment this weekend, other than our big hike, was our successful attempt with solar! We are officially off the grid. What a great invention.

Our next big camp trip will take us south to the San Juan mountains. Reconnecting with some old friends and meeting new ones.

My real job gets in the way of my travel habit! Cheers to more travel.

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss

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This past weekend was the “soft opening” of our camping season. It felt appropriate on account it was Earth Day weekend.

After having stored our little Lilly Pad (camper) for the past 6 months, it was wonderful to once again wake up in the middle of nowhere, with just the birds for company… and my books! More than ever, I treasure the times we are totally disconnected from the world. And, do not take for granted the luxury it is to be in a place where you can’t see another human for 40 or 50 miles. More and more it’s a rarity, but still exists.

BrownsPark

Spent the weekend at Brown’s Park Wildlife Refuge among the birds, deer and moose. I’m thinking I need to get a bird book. I can only name birds by color; the blue bird, the orange bird… you get the picture. Maybe I could even go on one of those “Big Year” trips all around the world, looking for that elusive bird that escapes everyone. How interesting with that be?

For now, we are just enjoying spring; the cool nights and the almost warm days. 2018 has the potential to be a great year, with lots of trips planned all over the western U.S.. I’m sure we will revisit some of our usual “secret” spots, and explorer some new ones. Some trout fishing will occur on a sleepy river or two.

For now, we go back to work in order to support our travel habit!

Note to self: next trip, bring more wine!!