The Muddy Trek To Gunnison Gorge

Sometimes you eat the fish and sometimes the fishing trip eats you. Almost...

The weekend before last I had the pleasure and privilege of floating one of the most amazing float fishing trips in our state, the Gunnison River, with three friends. We float an area towards the bottom of the Black Canyon called the "The Gorge." The logistics of getting a trip lined up down there is challenging at best. The shuttle is huge, it's aways from any population center and you have to have to hire a horse packer named Larry Franks to carry boats, beer, food, fishing and camping gear to the bottom of the canyon. You can do it yourself, but it would take all day - maybe two.

The trouble this time was that it rained - hard- for hours on end through most of the night and into the following morning. Our trucks were stuck, and we realized there would be no packer to get our gear to the bottom of the canyon. If we were going to float we would have to get almost 800-900 pounds of stuff down the trail that had now turned to 4 inches of liquid clay. It was a sustained beating, which I have not experienced in quite some time. We made multiple trips up and down the trail carrying up to 100 pounds each at a time. Luckily for our sanity and sore muscles Larry did show up around 3 p.m. for our last load of food and beer.

We didn't put on until 6 p.m. that evening and only floated a measly mile until camp, but the slog was worth it. While the last rays of summer sun filtered down the 1,000 feet of rock wall, I drank my first cold beer. The wild healthy fish splashed everywhere, and a solitude that is hard to find makes you realize that sometimes it needs to be hard.