Featured Photo: Football Brown

Featured Photo: Football Brown
Showing posts with label Gateview Campground. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gateview Campground. Show all posts

Saturday, December 02, 2023

Colorado 2022: Day Thirteen, Fishing One Last Nice Day and Battling Rodents

While the overall Colorado trip was great, the end was definitely a slog. This was because the weather turned sour for an extended amount of time. I had made the mistake of bragging to my wife about how, while it might rain, it would be nice a few hours later and definitely no later than the next day. This set us up for the obvious result: days and days of dreary weather that was increasingly colder by the day. And yes, I'm still reminded about how much fun that part of the trip was. Deservedly I might add...

When we woke up, it was fairly chilly. That was to be expected. The canyon we were camping in was sheltered by high walls to the east and west. That meant the sun wouldn't hit the campsite until at least 9:30 or 10 in the morning. With the late season, we were already pushing our luck by camping, so we hoped it wouldn't snow. After sleeping late to stay warm, we finally got up and fixed breakfast. While Leah and Little Bit were busy in camp, I grabbed a rod and fished just a few steps away. The camp pool had been kind to me before, and I was hoping that might be the case now. Sure enough, a couple of good brown trout were ready to play. Nothing huge, but it got me excited by the prospects. 

Lake Fork Gunnison Brown trout at Gateview Campground


Lake run fish ascend this system from the large reservoir below. Kokanee and large brown trout move up in the fall. I was hoping for both. Unfortunately, there were no signs of the salmon, and we saw very few brown trout over the next couple of days. I'll have to return another time to try again. What we did find were rainbow trout and plenty of them. 

After breakfast, we all got ready and wandered down the trail to fish. Naturally, the day progressed as one would expect. Leah caught the big fish and Little Bit got bored quickly. That meant back to camp to play and enjoy what would feel like our last glimpses of sunlight for the trip. 

Lake Fork Gunnison rainbow trout at Gateview Campground


As the sun dropped below the canyon walls for the day, the temperature started dropping quickly. We bundled back up, and I hit the camp pool once more. One more brown trout came to hand. While I expected to find fresh fish in this pool every day, that wasn't meant to be. This would be the last fish I would find in the camp pool, although we would find more fish downstream on future days. 

Late Day on the Lake Fork of the Gunnison at Gateview Campground


lake fork gunnison streamer eating brown trout


As the shadows lengthened, we started getting supper ready. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the scope of our problems became abundantly clear. I had never had problems with mice at this campsite, but it had become obvious the night before that at least a couple of the critters were around. Not to worry, I had come prepared with lots of sticky glue traps. I had deployed them effectively around and throughout our car. When I had found two that morning, I had hoped the problem was solved. Apparently I just made them all mad. 

It got darker and darker. While we were eating supper, mice were running around everywhere. It appeared that this campground shared the fate of some of my other favorites in Colorado. I'm unclear on how these things get around, probably in people's cars. The fact remains that they are almost EVERYWHERE in Colorado now. I've had big time problems in Elevenmile Canyon and the Black Canyon. Now I can add Gateview to the list of campgrounds I'm paranoid of staying at.

The worst part about the mice (other than the fact they absolutely destroyed our car every night in all ways imaginable) was having a toddler along. In an environment that already wasn't super sanitary, trying to keep Little Bit safe from rodent borne disease suddenly became priority number one. Leah was less than thrilled about the whole deal. I deployed more sticky traps, hoping for the best. As we crawled into our tent for the night, mice were running all over. I knew we already had some in the car. I had seen them through the rear windshield. Not knowing what else to do, I finally crawled into the tent. It was too late in the day to pack up and start home, so we would spend another night and hope for the best. We had plans to stay two more nights, so time would tell how that would work out. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Colorado 2022: Day 12, Moving Day Again

While we didn't know it yet, our trip was seriously starting to wind down. There were still some great moments, but things were headed in a negative direction. First and foremost, the Crystal Mill hike was going to be hard to beat no matter what. Unfortunately, one of our group was set on trying to beat the happenings from the morning of that big hike, as you'll begin to find out in a moment. Even further, we woke up to yet another round of rain, and the weather wasn't going to get any better until it was time to go home. 

We were still optimistic, however, as we broke camp at Bogan Flats Campground and headed out to enjoy another day of fall colors we hoped. Our goal for that evening was to find a camping place within an hour or so of Gunnison. That is one of my favorite areas of Colorado, and I had high hopes to finish the trip doing a little fishing on the Gunnison and some of its tributaries. To get there, we planned to drive over one of my favorites, Kebler Pass.

We made the quick jump over McClure Pass from the Crystal River Valley, and were soon approaching the turn onto County Road 12. This unassuming gravel road winding back through the hills towards Crested Butte features some of the most stunning fall scenery I've seen in Colorado. When the aspen are at their peak, this drive is very hard to beat. We were just a week or ten days early on our trip, at least for the best colors. However, as you'll see, we still saw some very nice golden aspen.

Golden aspen fall colors Colorado


Not far along County Road 12, a now familiar stench hit us. Looking at my wife with concern, I asked if we should pull over. "We probably better," was her reply. Sure enough, we had our second blowout in two days. This was a full mess requiring professional help and cleaning. We cleaned up as best we could, then continued on our way. The nearest laundry facilities were far off and we had a long ways to go.

The clouds were mesmerizing, looking like it was about to storm at times, with the sun trying to come out at others. Against the dramatic sky backdrop, the fall colors were special even if not at peak. 

Golden aspen near Kebler Pass


Driving along our route, I remembered another road that I had enjoyed in the past. We turned off on County Road 730 to enjoy Ohio Pass. Unfortunately, we were now in too much of a hurry for another favorite along this route. The short hike up to the beaver ponds just south of Ohio Pass can net some gorgeous brook trout, not to mention a hike through a phenomenal aspen forest. On this day, we were already short on time with the need for an unplanned pit stop ahead, so we kept pushing on. The brook trout would have to wait until another trip. 

Golden Aspen near Ohio Pass


It was probably somewhere on this drive that we started to realize that our trip was winding down even if none of us admitted it or voiced it. There were too many things starting to conspire against us. If we had been smart, we would have called it a trip and headed home right then and there, but we still had almost a week of adventuring left and persisted in our plans.

As we hit the lowlands, I pushed the little car harder to get into Gunnison as fast as possible. Leah started searching for laundromats on Google maps. Thankfully, we found something quickly. I grabbed everything that had been soiled yet again and raced in for a quick cleaning. An hour later, we were debating whether to grab food in town or race on out to camp before dark. 

The pull of one of our favorite Italian restaurants was too much, so we stopped at Mario's Pizza and Pasta in Gunnison. Little Bit was really starting to enjoy the concept of eating out, and the waitresses all loved her to death. We enjoyed a hot meal in a warm dry place, and then hit the road in the gathering shadows. 

Our goal was the Gateview Campground. I had experienced some incredible fishing there many years before. Even better, I had the tiny campground to myself. I was hoping to replicate that great time with my family. Unfortunately, yet another complication was about to rear its head, but at the time, we were tired and just wanted to get to camp.