We call ourselves weekend warriors, but we often take advantage of these long summer days during the workweek, too. But no matter how long the sun stays up, a 12 mile hike just isn’t in the cards for a Monday through Thursday jaunt.
So, this past Sunday, we packed up our fishing gear and headed for Frisco Creek. You’ll find the trailhead at the end of a long dirt road on the east side of our town with ample parking but few vehicles present.
::Photo by Sam Scavo::
It was my first time hiking Frisco, but I was immediately impressed. This multi-use trail features more wildflowers than I’ve seen in a very long time – lupine, columbine, blubells, iris, Indian paintbrush, even pink lady slipper! But I have to admit, we weren’t there for the flowers. Our goal was to reach Frisco Lakes before the afternoon storms moved in…
::Photo by Sam Scavo::
::Pinks, blues, reds, yellows, and greens::
The path to the lakes meanders through aspen and pine forest with only a few water-crossings – likely from a spring up above that feeds into the creek. And as soon as we got under the canopy, I thought we were in a completely different part of the state. In fact, it felt more like lush northern Colorado (Steamboat, to be specific) than the outskirts of our dry southern valley.
The trail was rocky in sections, smooth in others. The switchbacks were impressive, but I especially like the smooth, muddy portions with tire, boot, and hoof tracks. It’s fun to see who’s been there before us and know that all different kinds of user groups can share this place.
We passed through two beautiful meadows and the trail stayed creek-side until reaching several switchbacks to a trail intersection – that’s when you know you’re on the home stretch to the lakes (so I hear). See, typicaly, Colorado mid-day storms are like clockwork: 3PM, almost every day. Of course, on the day we get a later start than expected, the storms came early – two hours early!
As we neared the trail juncture, a booming blast of thunder made us stop in our tracks. Sam looked at me, I looked at Forest, and we corraled the pups for an about-face.
If I’m being honest, I guess I’d admit that the turn-around was well-timed. After 3 miles of uphill hiking with an 11 pound kid on my chest and a few pounds on my back, I was ready to walk back down the mountain.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m determined to keep this wild child outside as much as possible. But, knowing we already succeeded in climbing 3 miles uphill and we have that same 3 miles trail back to the parking lot (in the rain), I was ready to stamp this hike as a partial success and make our way down the mountain.
But not all was lost! Though we didn’t succeed in fishing some high country lakes on this Sunday Funday, we did succeed in fishing. As the light rain subsided, we were passing the one nice pool that caught our eye on the way in. Forest was getting hungry at that point, so I told Sam to rig up and make something happen. He was hesitent – since we left our 3wt. rods at home and only brought 6 and 7wt. setups – but when you’ve got trout fever, you do what you have to do, right?!
::The best part about this shot is as Sam was pulling the reel out of his bag, the rain started again and thunder was directly overhead. But, Forest was already diving into his late lunch – we were committed.::
Three casts in and Sam already got hung up on the trees lining the tight creek. As I’m nursing Forest, all I see is Sam throw his head back and viciously reel his line in. He’s giving up, I know it. But, as any stubborn wife would do, I said we weren’t leaving until this kid was done eating (that’s code for quit feeling sorry for yourself, sweet husband, and fish!). By the fourth cast it was FISH ON! An 8-9in. native cutthroat was on the line and Sam was in the water.
::I may not have gotten a shot of the fish, but I think the look on Sam’s face tells the story pretty well, don’t you think?::
All-in-all, I’d say our Frisco adventure was a success – and Forest, well, he was a rockstar. The kid handled 6 miles like a champ with the last mile of it in speed-walk mode in the rain.
So for those of you reading this that have young kids, are thinking about having kids, or are in the process of baking a kid up, know that adventuring doesn’t have to stop. We must simply adapt – the trails and fish will still take us as we come.