This trip began almost a year ago as a dream. Ruddy duck wanted to backpack into the mountains to chase some high elevation trout. I was just the sucker to be crazy enough to tag a long and embark on a journey of the type that neither of us had done before. The dream changed paths several times before the end destination was set. The main goal was to backpack in the wilderness, view some breathtaking vistas, and catch a fish or two. Other than a family trip to the Grand Canyon many years ago, this would be my fist trip “out west”.
Months of preparation eventually ended and we finally flew from the flat lands of Louisiana to somewhere much higher and drier. With everything packed, it was time to hit the trail.
After a few miles down the trail, we arrived at our first lake – this one was reported to have brook trout. It wasn’t long before we spotted some fish cruising the shoreline and just like on a skiff, directions were given from one to another to spot the fish and cast to it. Ruddy was the first to catch one.
I managed to catch a few as well.
After catching a few brook trout each, it was time to continue.
Until we arrived to our first campsite.
With camp set up, we had some time to fish before eating supper. A moose we saw near our campsite continued along the shoreline and gave us some funny looks.
Ruddy duck, much smarter than I, realized we were in the moose’s way and instructed me to quit fishing and back up. After I backed up, he slowly passed us and walked away.
As the moose walked away, the fishing continued
until we left the lake to eat and settle down for the night.
The next day we packed up and continued up the mountain. The views of the lakes and mountain peaks did not disappoint.
The time behind the vise and suggestions from a couple of drakians proved to be all we needed for most of the fishings.
Our trail took us over passes, through brush, and over creeks.
As we hiked higher, the trees got shorter and the storms got closer.
Still, the views continued to surpass everything I imagined.
The views surrounding our campsites were ok.
As we got higher, the creeks got bigger
We hiked high enough that the trees all but disappeared.
The last remnants of snow were also evident.
On the second to last day of our trip, we finally made as high as we planned to go - somewhere around 10,800 ft elevation in search of trout of the golden variety.
All of the heavy breathing and lack of oxygen seemed to be all worth it when one of these came to hand.
After being chased off by an approaching storm, we hiked back down around 10,400 ft and settled into camp for the night after starting a fire.
However, the change in altitude proved to take its toll and both Ruddy and I were feeling the effects of the exertion and lack of oxygen above 10,000 ft. Between the two of us, we exhibited almost all the signs of altitude sickness. We collectively decided to head back to lower elevation the next morning and made the long journey back down to the waiting rental car at the trailhead.
With tired bodies, sore muscles, and half filled lungs, we limped back. A hotel, shower, and a few thousand feet lower helped and the recovery began.
Despite the pain and difficulty it was worth it and I would gladly do it again, well maybe not quite so high next time.