A few days later I received an email from Ephemeral, who had also been invited to join Bruiser on this trip. I'd met Eph at the 2015 Luau, during which time he witnessed firsthand just how badly I'm capable of behaving. In spite of that, he offered to pick me up at the airport, put me up at his home, and provide me with a tent, sleeping bag, flies, and any other gear I might happen to need. Bruiser offered to let me use any of his camping gear as well. As I've written several times before, the people on this board always amaze me with their generosity.
At this point I thought, "How can I NOT go?" so I put in for the time off and booked a flight.
I arrived in Durango Wednesday afternoon, and as I was walking down the corridor to baggage claim a maintenance worker noticed the fly rods I was carrying and said, "So are you here to do some fishing?"
"Why yes I am," I replied.
He told me that he'd just been out himself, and then rattled off the names of some spots I should try.
"You should definitely fish Yukon Creek. I was there just last week, and man!" He then held up his hands and spread them roughly twenty inches apart and said, "I pulled a bunch of really nice fish out of there. Make sure you fish all the little creeks that feed into it too. You'd be surprised at how many big fish like to hide in those trickles."
He told me about a few more places I might like to try, the names of which I immediately forgot, and as we parted ways he gave me a broad smile and said, "Good luck!"
I continued on my way to baggage claim, and at the end of the corridor I noticed an attractive young woman standing off to the side. As I got closer she started to smile, and I thought, "Fuck yeah. I've still got it."
Then she approached me and said, "Hi AJ. I'm Mrs. Ephemeral. Eph is sorry he couldn't be here to greet you, but he had to work today and asked me to pick you up."
I gently shook her outstretched hand and smiled while thinking, "Well, at least you didn't embarrass yourself, you dumb old fuck."
Once my luggage arrived on the carousel we loaded it into her car, and then she took me out to lunch.
After lunch we popped into the local fly shop, where I purchased my license and some souvenir ball caps for my brother and Neil.
After a quick stop for booze and beer, we went back to Eph's place, where I downed a few drinks and washed the taste of modern air travel out of my mouth.
Eph arrived a short time later, and we quickly loaded his rig and hit the road.
Ephemeral is an exceptional conversationalist. The hours passed like minutes as we made our way across country, and the sun left us well before we reached our final destination.
Bruiser, his buddy Robin, and Carpe Tructa were already at the campsite when we pulled in.
We all shook hands and had a beer or two, and then Eph lit a fire so we'd have more light while we set up the tents. Or rather, while he set up the tents.
Bruiser then handed me a giant Paco Pad and said, "Put your sleeping bag on top of this, and I guarantee you'll sleep like the dead."
I spread it out in the bottom of my tent, and after a few more drinks around the fire, I made my way back to my luxurious shelter and slept until well after dawn.