WALDEN - As the bright orange sun rises over the mountains, around 5:30 a.m., at approximately 8650 feet above sea level, I rub my sleepy eyes and scratch my balding head at Colorado State Wildlife Area Lake John
It has been a enjoyable summer except for the powerful wind flare ups that happen each day at the lake, I call Saint John. Yes I have missed games that I wish I had attended over the summer, but I have not missed the extreme hot days in the valley, nor have I missed West Nile virus. One might ask, "Why stay the majority of the summer in the mountains?" My answer, as a writer and photographer, the time spent here allows me the solitude to hone my craft. Yes, I am a solitary man, and as I figure, I was born alone, grew up as an openly child and most likely, I will die by myself. To some, it might seem a lonely life, but to me, this is the closest to god as I can be here on earth.
John Denver was right when he spoke of the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake. Yes, I am an addict, an addict for the outdoors and the mountains. I need the fix just as a drug addict needs his dope. My days of hard drinking are long over and my days of wild crazy parties are just a faded memory, but the reflection of the sun of the glistening water mesmerizes me, not only bringing up memories of the past, but dreams of the future. For me, a fresh catch of trout cooked in aluminum foil with a slice of lemon, butter, paprika, salt and pepper over a fire ring of warm glowing embers is what I live for.
This year. I have trolled mostly in my old 14-foot boat using various lures and baits. Wild Snake River Cutthroats with pink meat have been on of my goals along with rainbows of course. When a supply run is necessary, it is off to Walden, via County Roads 7A, 7, and 6 to Cowdrey, the long way to Walden. Fifteen miles of dusty roads until I reach Highway 230, where I turn toward Cowdrey Lake
to fish for rainbows. Then on to Walden for a quick meal at the Moose Creek Cafe, grab some groceries, then head west to Delaney Buttes for a few days, where the mosquitoes cannibalize humans and the browns grow big. After a few days fishing each of the three lakes (by the way where few people fish these days), its back home to the Greeley area, via Zimmerman Lake
, Joe Wright Reservoir
, and of course one of my favorite lakes, Chambers. Chambers Lake
, where the water is deep and the lake trout grow. From artic grayling at Joe Wright, to lake trout at Chambers, I fish what is left of my brain out.
Totally exhausted, its back to the valley as I head down Poudre Canyon to watch the rafters as I pass by. As an outdoor photographer, I have witnessed many a beautiful sunrise and sunset. Though, I am not rich money wise, as the majority of my high school classmates, the riches I have experienced as a outdoorsman, have far exceeded their wealth. And to me, there are not many things better than enjoying a cup of coffee in an old tin cup around a campfire.
Outdoor Writer since 1987, Nominee to Texas Freshwater Hall of Fame, Former Denver Radio Outdoor talk Show Host, Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers Association, Outdoor Writers Association of America, and Texas Outdoor Writers Association
anglerwannabe, CO 8/20/2014 9:45:04 PM
Jim - thanks for sharing the story. Next time you cook your trout in the foil bring along some cabbage to line the foil with. It keeps anything from burning, adds a little moisture and when your done you throw the foil and the cabbage away.
walleye jerker, CO 8/20/2014 10:03:10 PM
Right on,loved the story
Ajax5240, CO 8/20/2014 10:16:08 PM
If someone asked me to close my eyes and picture heaven, I would see Walden. Although I don't make it up there as often as I would like, the time I spend there is pure serenity.
In my heaven version, there is much less wind and skeeters. Minor tweak.
team FMFO , CO 8/21/2014 9:47:31 AM
Great read ! It's my favorite place and after reading this I'm going over this weekend. :-)