September 25, 2017
Fishing Wild Basin Trail
It was Friday morning. The plane had just landed in Colorado and I still didn't have much of a gameplan in place. The red Kia Soul rental was acquired, and I couldn't check into the hotel up in Estes Park until 3pm, however, in the meantime, I had a few hours to burn and wanted to get a line wet.
In between the airport and the hotel, I knew I wanted to stop at two of my favorite places in Boulder, McGuckin Hardware (to obtain a fishing license), and Rincon Argentino (to obtain lunch). While eating my empanadas and referencing a Rocky Mountain National Park guidebook, I decided I wanted to head up to the Wild Basin area and try my luck at some brook trout, and perhaps, if I was lucky, some greenback cutthroat trout.
License in hand and belly full, it was a short hour or so drive to the Wild Basin trailhead. Everybody must have had the same idea, as the parking areas were very full, but I was fortunate to find a spot in the main lot near the ranger station. Most of the foot-traffic was not fellow anglers, rather hikers, sightseers, and those of other outdoor pursuits. Hastily grabbing gear from my suitcase, I thought I had everything I needed, but more on that in a bit.
The first spot I dropped in at was a short walk from the trailhead, and for those familiar with the area, not quite as far as Lower Copeland Falls.
Fortunately, the brook trout were eager and quickly came to my fly. Unfortunately, I had left my waterproof camera back in the car, and with a long weekend ahead I didn't want to accidentally dunk my phone in the water in the name of a few fish photos. I took a few quick snaps with one of the brookies in the net and then resolved to keep the phone stashed away, with the exception being the occasional landscape photo of my surroundings from dry land.
Fishing each run of boulders and corresponding pocket water methodically, I found the time was passing extremely quickly. I had arrived at around 1PM, and before I knew it, it was almost 5PM. It was a damn fun four hours though. I brought many brook trout to hand and got to fish some of the most gnarly, yet beautiful stretches of water on the way up to the Calypso Cascades and Cony Creek.
With the sun getting lower in the sky, and about a 45-minute hike back to the car, (to be followed by an hour drive up to Estes Park), I decided to turn back, unfortunately before getting up to the altitude and water where the greenbacks reside, but man, what a day, it was still damn worth it.
While it's always a little bit sad (and tiring) walking back down the trail knowing that fishing is over for the day, I couldn't help but feel more than a bit energized. I'm standing in Colorado, cool water rushing beside me, knowing there's trout everywhere and also two more days of fishing fun ahead. Man, I love the Rockies.
The drive to the hotel went faster than expected, and having been up since 3:30AM East Coast time, I collapsed on the bed in a heap. Finally, hunkered down in the room, I slept well that night... although Saturday (and the Summit) couldn't come soon enough.