“Hey man, when you go hit up that breakfast buffet, if you take some bagels, throw some peanut butter on them and grab those little jelly packets, we can have lunch for free.”
I roll over, thinking to myself that clever little idea sounds pretty damn good for breakfast too. Who am I kidding though, I’ll eat that for breakfast and lunch considering that I’m paying $25/night to stay in the beautiful town of Salida, Colorado with my friend John. We had left Denver the previous morning on our yearly quest to search for the fabled Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch. We rolled into town after a long day of fishing and grabbed a 30 pack of Busch Light and a family meal deal from Pizza Hut. The hotel is as cheap as we are, I know this because the HBO channels were all really fuzzy, they clearly paid for a single cable package and then split it 21 times, cuttin’ down on overhead.
After I watch John systematically pillage the continental breakfast bar I follow closely behind, carefully meal planning for the next 14 hours. We thank the 50 year old couple managing the hotel, they ask us in some European accent, “you here for the fish?” John casually replies that indeed he is, but he is also in the market for a good take out joint that serves orange chicken. They look at us and in their eyes you can see that they just want to say, “You aren’t from around here huh?”
No matter, the hotel is a sweet deal, fits our personality and the management seems to not really care if we pack our lunches at the breakfast bar. Turning on the car it smells musty with a hint of porta potty and I chuckle as I now officially know I’m on a fishing trip. Finishing his coffee John cuts open a fresh can of Copenhagen while looking at the map, “Nate, get on this road, go right and I’ll tell you where to stop.”
Fifteen minutes later we arrive at an unsuspecting bend of the river. As the day wears on and we work our way upstream the overwhelming feeling of completeness overwhelms me. While it may not be the day where I catch the most fish or the biggest fish of my life, it certainly is my favorite. Since my friend has moved away I often think back to the days where we would explore unfound treasures together. We developed a great friendship on the water together, one that continues to this day and I hope well into the future.
We had a great day fishing, bugs flew in our shirt and up our nose until we decided to head back to our favorite hotel. For some reason of all my days on the water that one day sticks in my mind as being my favorite and I’m not sure one will ever replace it. Perhaps that day I realized how much fishing was a part of my life and how fortunate I am to have fishing in my life.
I remember hearing someone once say that we do not own the land, but rather borrow it from future generations. The conservation and management of our fishing resources is paramount if our children are to be afforded the same luxuries as we have. Time and time again fishermen and organizations like Trout Unlimited have fought to conserve and rehabilitate our fishing water, ensuring its existence into the future. Why is this important? Well, without this resource my story and many others like it would not exist, and that is something that no generation can afford to miss.
Thanks to TU and the OBN for sponsoring this essay contest! I have gotten to read some great entries and follow some new blogs. If you are interested, there is still one day to get in a submission for a chance to win this great trip! Check it out.