Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to look at it more closely. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

The Pilot

The Pilot
The Pilot

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nature's Favorable Way; On the Upper Colorado River


I stopped momentarily on the side of the road high above the valley below. The blue ribbon that was the upper Colorado River fluttered across the landscape cutting through the valley and disappearing around the far bend several miles away. A light breeze cut through the altitude with a warm embrace. Rugged hills, sparsely covered in pine, broke the skyline into sections of blue which in turn were broken by white clouds hovering in the morning light. The sleepiness that had prevailed across my eyes during the morning drive vanished as I surveyed the scene for I knew this day was the beginning of a new adventure . . . an adventure I had dreamed about for many years. It was September, 1995.


It is good do such things . . . visit nature at its core . . . for it opens the heart to what it desires most. What my heart desired was to spend time alone fishing and observing a part of creation that offered a respite from the stressful nature of making a living. All I had was one single day, but it was to be a day filled with new wonders that calmed the heart and reclaimed the soul.

I completed the drive into the valley and found an access and near that access was a trail that wound its way along the river for some distance. For the next several hours I hiked and fished, then hiked some more spending more time seeing than fishing. The fall colors were just beginning their transformation with splashes of yellow interspersed among the green. A perfectly brilliant day carried me on its wings of warmth, color, and clarity. I saw only one other fisherman standing waist deep in the clear moving water of the Colorado. Beyond him the hills rolled toward the sky and the brilliance of the sun caused the landscape to glow with a fresh flavor.

Through the day I would sit in a shade and simply absorb the moments of stillness. There was a cleanness here that prevailed as far as one dared to see and I dared to see as far as my heart would allow me. Within all of us resides a need to connect with nature. That is why we feel so refreshed after spending time within its realm. Too quickly we lose that connection. Work, family, trials, events, conspire to prevent us from living out those desires.

Eventually I settled along the bank where a set of rapids emptied into a wider deeper pool tucked against a steep bank on the far side. With almost every cast I felt a hit . . . no takers . . . and with each hit my anticipation multiplied. Then as a dory guide boat drifted into view with three people on board, I made one long cast into the stiff water and a twelve inch rainbow trout tided into the small spinner. He immediately leaped and spun and tugged against the current causing my lightweight fishing rod to bend favorably against his fighting nature. The dory crew dropped anchor and began to froth the waters across the deeper end of the pool.


My rainbow cast a myriad of colors in the back light as he continued to fly from the waters embrace and when finally he lay exhausted on the bank, I lifted him in triumph displaying my trophy to the three in the dory. They waved their approval and weighed anchor and continued on their journey. Gently, I lay that noble fish with its fighting spirit back into the current allowing him to regain some strength . . . in a flash he was gone.


In all too short of time, the day drifted away and I began my return drive back to Denver . . . back to the society I sought refuge from. As the last vestiges of light cast its beams across that valley. I stopped once again and bid farewell to a most remarkable day. Surely, nature was favorable to me.

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