My nine year old, who’s been fascinated by superheroes and superpowers for a while now, has a reoccurring question that seems to come up at least a couple of times a month at the most bizarre moments.
“Papa, if you could have any superpower, what would it be?”
Like most children’s questions, it’s easy to casually dismiss a question like this with a quick response they’re looking for, such as “X-ray vision”, “laser eyes”, or “napalm brain wave”.
However, if you’re asked enough times, or take the appropriate amount of time to actually consider it, you might just find that the power you desire the most is that which you lack in your current un-superpower human form.
Thus my answer since day one has always been, ”The ability to slow time.”
The old bait shop at the entrance to Eleven Mile. It’s still “For Sale” if you want to open a fly shop there. By a strange coincidence, i’m still willing to manage this hypothetical shop, but we MUST keep the exterior paint job.
Over the last two weeks, while exploring the familiar and unfamiliar in the Colorado Rockies, i actually felt like i possessed this power. For the first time in memory (which would be at least the last couple of decades), the days passed slowly and i actually found myself being more in awe of the amount of time left on my trip than the time that had passed.
It kicked in early during the first stop of my three legged trip, at Eleven Mile Canyon near lake George, Colorado. It’s an area i know fairly well having fished it numerous times over the years, and a spot that never ceases to amaze, with boulders the size of houses looming cliffside, and an abundant fish supply carpeting the rivers path. It’s also a great place to work on remembering your cold water fishing skills after months of gar and bass.
Day 1: The great thing about fly fishing (and life…which really is one and the same) is that you never know what to expect when you cast a fly (much less slip out of your sheets). While i figured i might catch something on day one, i was thinking that the first fish would be a tiny rainbow that had yet to be fooled by a hook and some thread. I never would have guessed that the first fish landed would be in the first twenty minutes on the water, much less the healthy and robust brown pictured (above). The vivacity of the fish alone made the three weight struggle to hold it’s own, as the battle unfolded at the tail end of the pool that spilled into a cascade of falls that collected again twenty feet below and some twenty yards downstream.
A few more fish, less glamorous, but no less beautiful, rounded out day one as i met back with my father (a fellow angler that did quite well that day as well) who had joined me, along with my mother and my son, for a night of camping and training on how to set up the pop-up trailer i’d borrowed from them that would be my home for the next couple of weeks.
The day had felt abnormally long as it had stretched well into the still darkness, since all that was needed after night fall was a two minute walk back to tree ensconced trailer, instead of the lengthy drive back to my parents house. As i fell asleep stuffed contently on my mothers cooking, and sheltered comfortably in the trailer, i drifted off to sleep with vivid dreams of massive fish, and large quantity’s that would be sure to fill out my following days…
Day 2: After a few hours of fishing with my father in the early morning there were a few hugs and encouraging words before everyone left and it dawned on me that i was suddenly alone. No responsibilities. No timelines. No cares, other than feeding myself and taking care of the obvious outcomes of full-filling that obligation. As a husband, father and large retail store manager, i suddenly felt dazed by the fact that my obligations came down to these two most basic concerns.
The water suddenly appeared deeper and faster. The colors of the fish more vivid and glowing.
As the day continued and the fish came to hand, i heard a figure work it’s way out of the brush behind me. As he approached he asked how the day had gone. Giddy from both the solitude and the incredible fishing, i responded with what restraint i could muster, that it was going fairly well.
Danny (I think that was his name), a congenial fellow, asked what had been working for me as i drew my line from the water for the first of three false cast.
#1 “It seems most of them…”
#2 “have been interested in…”
#3 “the white midge dropper..”
No more had the words come out and the line settled on the water than i had a wonderful rainbow (below) on the line showing off his aerial skills for me, my guest, and the 3WT. I have to admit that as a Leo, it was more than a little bit of a rush to have it all work so perfectly in front of observing eyes.
In that moment the joy was was overwhelming, the day’s fishing peaking before the sun had barely traversed half way across the sky. So much had happened already, and there was so much more day to go before being forced to retire by exhaustion and lack of light back to the Casita.
Already i was harnessing my long lusted powers, after just two days on the water, and there were so many more minutes and fish to go.
To be continued…