As a Nineteen year old college student like myself, waking up at 6:00AM on your day off is like a swift kick to the balls. But at 6:00AM on this Saturday morning when my alarm blares Taylor Swift’s hit “Shake It Off” (My alarm since I was a Junior in High School) I sprung out of bed with a smug grin on my face… Today was the day.
It was a restless night for me. My dreams the night before were full of buttery browns, bodacious bows, and that high feeling you get from a bent rod and a tight line. I opened my blinds and see the Rocky Mountains off in the distance taunting me, freshly dusted with powder. I sit on the end of my bed and start putting my armor on for battle today. My trusty wool socks with a hole in the left big toe, my lucky sweatpants that have what used to be a silver nike swoosh on them, and finally my gently used quarter zip north face...Best combination in the game. I walk down the stairs from my room to find my brothers already geared up and waiting for me in the dark. “You’re late cat,” my little brother PJ whispers to me. I look at the microwave clock in the kitchen that reads 6:17AM… Late? Piss off. The three of us shared a moment of silence, but in that moment we all knew exactly what the other was thinking. Not the early morning, not the negative temperatures outside, nothing was going to stand in the way of our voyage today. Not today… Today was the day.
We loaded up my 2007 FJ Cruiser with enough Fly Fishing gear for a small army of people. The trunk was packed to the roof with rods, waders, boots, and turkey sandwiches we made the night before. Finally at 6:26AM we were off... Today was the day.
The drive from our house to the South Platte River in Deckers, Colorado is full of two lane canyon roads and tremendous wildlife outside. Inside the car, our ride was full of wishful comments, pleading with the fishing gods to bring us a “hog” or a “horse” or a “buick” or my personal favorite to let us meet “Barry Bonds.” Every group of people who has ever been fishing together surely has their own metaphors for describing the fish, my brothers and I just have more than usual. We talk strategy of what “sauce” we are going to put on the end of our lines, we joke about the temperature gauge in the car displaying a balmy 1 degree, and we talk about the “honey holes” from previous fishing trips where happened to have some luck. As we laughed our way through the canyon, we started to catch a glimpse of the sun. I find there is something incredibly peaceful about watching the sunrise… Today is the day.
After heavy debate the three of us decide on a spot, hoping that it happens to be the home of some hungry river monsters. As we step out of the car the cold Rocky Mountain air fills my lungs, and the new fallen snow sneaks into the cracks of my Birkenstocks, my shoe of choice on the water no matter the season. We waste no time gearing up our rods, tying double surgeons knots in the brisk wind and joking about what combination of flies is going to attract the buttery bruisers we all desire. Waders on, rods rigged, boots tied, and spirits high thinking of the endless possibilities today brings. The busier our lives get the more I learn to appreciate these trips with my brothers. The busier our lives get the more I learn to appreciate being out in the unknown, exploring new water, and the endless pursuit of fish on flies. In this moment I count my blessings, and smile. Just as it crosses my mind, my brother Adam says… “Today is the day!”