Time Well Spent—Arkansas River

Life provides many unique and different opportunities to spend time. We talk about spending time like it is something that can be kept and held, to be used at a later date in time. We all know this is not the case some days it seems like the hands on the clock don’t move and then time can move like the winds of Wyoming, fast and relentless. Then there is time on the river, and as fisherman we know what this feels like.

It took two days on the Arkansas River to rediscover how to measure the way time moves on the water. I went down fishing by myself and shared the drive with a good friend who was going to kayak the river. This meant that we had to set a time to meet, to shuttle to different sections of the river. I am the type who would not dare to wear a watch on the river, if I’m lucky, I seldom am, my cell phone stays in my pocket and I can check back into reality that way; but when wet wading all electronics get left behind in the car.

So, I found myself measuring what time it was by means of the river. I timed myself through the river; thirty minutes up this run, fifteen minutes of pocket water fishing, five browns and a rainbow later an hour had passed. Like clockwork at ten thirty the yellow sallies would start to pop off and the dry fly fishing exploded. That hatch ended and it was time to fish hoppers off the banks. I would work up the last run, and then make it back to the car by eleven thirty to get the shuttle to another spot.

As I climbed the hill back to the road I passed a group of kayakers heading down to the put in and asked if they had the time. The replied “three o’clock.” I guess that it was an exceptional day on the water seeing as time stood still, or flew by, for me as I methodically worked through a hefty chunk of river. Without the presence of other people my time became endless and I just lived for the moment, the time when the healthy brown ate my hopper and gave fight, to the time when I pulled more browns out of one run than I could count, and then there was the time when my buddy ditched me because I missed the shuttle.

What a great time it was.