We started hiking around 1p.m. on a sunny afternoon, our packs stuffed to the gills for an overnight fly-fishing mission, pun intended. The destination – a couple of lakes in the Holy Cross Wilderness of Colorado.
We moved up the trail at a decent pace, but in the distance, we kept an eye on the dark clouds that crept over the adjacent peaks. Inevitably, the first few drops of rain pattered on our brims. It became clear very quickly that we were in for a good old-fashioned, Rocky Mountain, midsummer deluge. And so it goes, on any adventure, one of us forgot an important piece of gear – a rain shell.
Traditionally Bryson and I center our weekend trips around mountain biking, so when we made plans a couple of weeks prior, we had our ride all mapped out… until about midnight the night before our departure, although it was still no excuse for the forgotten rain gear.
First things first, we set up camp and then got to work rigging our fly rods so we could throw some casts before the sun disappeared behind the surrounding peaks. After getting skunked by wily brook trout, we retreated back to our tents while another alpine system made its way through. The catch of the day was a net full of beers, now perfectly chilled to high alpine lake temps, a victory we could both get behind.
Soaking up the stillness as we boiled water for dinner, I turned to Bryson with a thought, “if traveling with all of your gear on a bike is called bikepacking, and walking with it on your back is called backpacking, then wouldn’t this be called fishpacking?” Bryson grinned, laughed and took a sip of his beer, acknowledging that my reasoning seemed logical enough.
We awoke to bluebird skies, brewed our coffee and went back for round two. Back at the water’s edge, Bryson demonstrated exactly what the word redemption means and landed a fish seconds after his fly hit the water. As I watched him rope in fish after fish, I fumbled my way through tying basic knots and throwing amateur casts. Finally, I reeled in a beautifully vibrant brookie. I was hooked.
We spent hours pulling fish out of the lake and enjoying the morning sun. As the afternoon clouds began to build, we broke camp and enjoyed our last beer with lunch, rolling the cold cans on our sun-chapped faces. We may have unofficially coined a new sport or recreational activity that weekend, but whatever you call it, fishpacking has officially been added to the rotation of our epic summer adventures.
About the Author: Eric Hockman – Adventure Seeker.
Since childhood, Eric has developed a profound love for wild places and exploring what nature has to offer. He enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle centered around cycling, camping and philanthropic projects to protect our environment. He hopes to inspire more people to get outside. Follow Eric’s adventures on Instagram @hockdub