A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

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LA Fly Guy
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Location: SELA

A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by LA Fly Guy » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:32 am




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.

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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.

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I managed to catch a few as well.

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After catching a few brook trout each, it was time to continue.

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Until we arrived to our first campsite.

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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.

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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.

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As the moose walked away, the fishing continued

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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.

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The time behind the vise and suggestions from a couple of drakians proved to be all we needed for most of the fishings.

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Our trail took us over passes, through brush, and over creeks.

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As we hiked higher, the trees got shorter and the storms got closer.

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Still, the views continued to surpass everything I imagined.

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The views surrounding our campsites were ok.

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As we got higher, the creeks got bigger

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We hiked high enough that the trees all but disappeared.

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The last remnants of snow were also evident.

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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.

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All of the heavy breathing and lack of oxygen seemed to be all worth it when one of these came to hand.

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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.

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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.

... there are two kind of anglers, sight fishermen and the rest of you. If you don't see it first, it doesn't count. - Long Haired Dave

Bait fishermen and flatlanders that can't catch redfish spend more time fishing for specks - Redchaser

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markl
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Location: Toronto

Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by markl » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:58 am

Great TR and nice pics. Love the Goldens!

Heero[CntRmbrPwd]
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Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by Heero[CntRmbrPwd] » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:14 am

Nice!

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421sd
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:26 pm
Location: Ozarks

Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by 421sd » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:38 am

Well executed. :cool Getting high is a bit different out there for sure.

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Bigguy
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Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by Bigguy » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:10 am

Awesome! Thanks for taking us along.

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Fubar
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Location: Central Cali

Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by Fubar » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:47 am

That was enjoyable.👍

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Da Ax
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Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by Da Ax » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:29 pm

Fan-fucking-tastic. I hate the term bucket list, but this would be on it.
The difference between decency and indecency is opportunity...

One could search their entire lives for the perfect drift, and it would not be a wasted life.

"If I owned this place and Hell, I'd rent this place out and live in Hell." -Toombs

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Transylwader
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Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by Transylwader » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:30 pm

Well the fuck done, Chewbacca Jr!
I see you sporting an Os-Bray pack, good carriers, them ones.
Meeses Pieces will fukk you up! Just ask SOBF whilst driving through Rangeley!
:cool
If assholes could fly, Raleigh would be a fucking airport - my Mum

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stripstrike
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Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by stripstrike » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:11 pm

Strong work. Man points for you both. Thank you for sharing.
"No, I'm not a pessimist. At some point the world shits on everybody. Pretending it ain't shit makes you an idiot, not an optimist." Justin's dad

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LTFI
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Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by LTFI » Tue Jul 30, 2019 6:40 pm

Only 10K?....pussies :coffee




I need a trip like this, sadly it will not happen this summer. This will help tide me over until next year, thanks for sharing.

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The Wandering Blues
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Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by The Wandering Blues » Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:22 pm

High altitude equals solitude. Well done!
"We're a cross between our parents and hippies in a tent...."
180 Degrees South

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Ruddy Duck
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Re: A Flatlander's Journey to 10,000 ft.

Post by Ruddy Duck » Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:59 pm

I can tell you with remarkable accuracy when I will wake in the morning, leave the house, and take a morning shit. The weather, food supply, and routes are predictable. The roads I take are beaten and paved, so it appears I cannot own the journey. Many struggle in life to achieve symptoms of a “rut”, but living them creates an uneasiness. The cure has always been to pole a skiff or paddle a canoe with a fly rod aboard. But when the cure becomes just another symptom, other experiences call; and other experiences always involve fish.

Programmed for stupidity, the opposite of my symptoms involved wilderness trails, uncertainty, and discarding the majority of the safety nets that guard me on a daily basis. It didn’t take a tremendous amount of convincing for Corey to deal with his own symptoms and join me out West. After a year of planning, filling holes in gear lists, and tying flies; I travelled to a town with equal parts cowboys, hipsters, and hippies. I travelled with excitement and nervousness, unsure if the adventure ahead was an ideal cure or a death wish for inexperienced southerners accustomed to life at sea level.

We stepped out of the rental with cleanish shoes and began walking with the enthusiasm of Lloyd Christmas driving to Aspen. The weight of our packs was irrelevant as we steadily gained altitude and experience. Within a few hours we saw a glimpse of what was ahead and were hooked up with large Brook Trout colored up in beautiful hues of purple. Every fisherman wants to catch but is slightly unfulfilled if the catching is too easy. These fish were almost too easy.

Packs a little heavier, we pressed on to the next lake and campsite. “Walk, fish, camp” became the new cycle. Each day our packs grew heavier and the fishing more difficult. The effects of altitude slowly and steadily manifested in our physical wellbeing. Loss of appetite, flu like symptoms, and insomnia went from an annoyance to things that could not be ignored.

Laying in my tent awake at 3:00 am, I waited for inspiration that the mountains and trout were supposed to deliver. Instead, they highlighted an emptiness inside that I brought with me from sea level. The idea of life without safety nets is far different from actually living without them. When faced with the reality that uncertainty is more prevalent than it was days before, I lay awake thinking only of my loved ones back home and the symptoms of the rut I ran from. However, exhausted and ill, the symptoms now represented a life well lived and full of love.

I am eternally grateful for mountains and trout.

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