Outdoor Bob Describes Joys Of Getting Lost In the High Country

Ideal Summer For “Into the Wild” Explorations

~ by Bob Volpe ~

You don’t always get where you’re going.

A couple weeks ago I tried to find a spot I used to Mountain Bike and XC-ski north of Divide. I also took part in SAR (Search & Rescue) survival training down there when I was with the Teller County unit.

There were some large beaver ponds at this destination. Back then, (15 years ago) I didn’t fly fish and I’ve often wondered since then, if there were fish in those ponds.

Last week I tried to find the place, and like a dummy, I didn’t take a map. I thought I could find it from memory. Ha! I missed the turn on the Forest Service road and wound up driving 8 miles back on the wrong ridge. I did eventually find some beaver ponds and caught some nice native brown trout and brookies in those ponds. Even though it was miles from the section I wanted to check out, I still had a good time and caught fish.

This morning I went back and brought a map.

The pull out at the trail head had changed dramatically, but I did recognize it. The trail used to be off limits to ATVs but is now open to them and the single track down to the ponds is now a well-worn
double track.

I put on my pack loaded with waders and boots, picked up my three-weight rod and started down the track. It was a 2 mile walk down to where the ponds were and the walk was beautiful. The only sounds
were the breeze and the birds and the rhythmic crunch of gravel underfoot as I walked.

A wet winter and spring is always good for a spectacular wildflower display and this year did not disappoint. Monks hood, flea bane, buttercups, yarrow were all in bloom and the odd hummingbird chirped and buzzed my head making me smile.

The one constant in nature is nothing is constant. Nothing is static. I reached the meadow I was looking for and the beaver ponds had all reverted back to meadow and marsh. I didn’t get to fish today, but the
hike was a nice way to spend the morning.

It’s ironic that my mistake two weeks ago lead me to fish and the spot I had hoped to find fish and missed was no longer there.

Exploring can be a fun way to spend an afternoon. Today there are excellent maps and route finding software you can download to your phone. Always be prepared for the unexpected by carrying ample water, food, a first aid kit, foul weather gear, and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Another great thing about spontaneous exploring is that you often find things along the way that you never expected. It has been a great summer so far, so get out there and enjoy the Colorado wild places.