A guest post from FRA Guide Services Manager Ben McGee
All we could do was sit back and watch as Mother Nature put our city in a headlock last month. Panic and unrest prevailed as Boulder residents and our customers strained to hold on while valuables were being ruined and possessions were being lost. It's very unnerving when things that we care about are suddenly out of our control and destroyed before our very eyes. Some were directly affected, some not so much. Our hearts are with all.
Throughout the event we were bombarded by emotions and information that was so foreign that it was difficult to process, so much so that it has taken weeks to digest.
This event has given us a snapshot of our resilience and our fortitude, while we helped our friends and families pack up and pump out basements. Offerings of free beer and pizza for help were expected, but not necessary.
Before this event, no one would have imagined that our peaceful town and creek could be so close to disaster. We were all surprised and seemingly caught off guard as if there were something we could have done to prepare for this. What's even more surprising is the toughness that we have buried deep within us to resolve hardship.
Most of the traffic in the shop over the last few weeks has expressed similar concern over the future of what we value most. For decades, our Front Range streams have been a safe haven for us; providing stress relief, excitement, challenges, and most importantly peace, sometimes even worth calling in sick or playing hooky for.
Fast forward to Sunday Oct. 6th at 5 p.m. when Boulder Canyon was finally opened back up to the public
It was like visiting a long lost friend that you care about and had gone through rough times. Nervous, not sure what to expect, driving the canyon yesterday was incredible on so many levels. The colossal power that we witnessed in town has moved earth and in some cases completely removed earth that once held landmarks for those that knew Boulder Canyon well.
I drove up the entire canyon, rubber necking at 15 mph as so many others were doing. Pulling over at many of the places that were most memorable, taking in the shocking nature of what I saw and comparing it to memories and past experiences. I pulled over at Four Mile Creek and found myself so intrigued that I was running down the trail to the bridge ahead to visit the creek once again. An incredible sigh of relief exhausted as I quickly recognized the stream that I have loved. Water level was good, water clarity was good, and better yet a small Brown was out and actively feeding on a newly formed gravel bed. I could hardly contain myself. I began running back to the truck because I was so excited to see the rest of the canyon. From top to bottom, the canyon is in great condition!
On the way back down I was stuck behind a large, slow moving truck, so I decided to stop and fish. Incredible. Not only are there fish still in the canyon, the fishing is superb!
Arriving back to the busy fly shop, I was smiling ear to ear and jubilant with the news that our home water is alive and well. A gentleman in the shop was speaking to Wallace about fishing instruction and asked if we had any guides available in the next 24 hours for a trip... absolutely! I found myself not caring about obligations and playing hooky for the chance to guide Boulder Creek again.
Jim may never know it but his trip was more memorable for me than I can ever express. Fishing was great, as it always is on Boulder Creek. I encourage all to go see for yourself soon. Our stream and our fish have shown an incredible resilience of their own.
Make sure to check out our Fishing Report for the latest and greatest on where to fish and what to use!