Article and photos by John Lacher
I grew up in the hills just outside Boulder. That upbringing offered me the opportunity to ramble around the mountainside on little explorations. I was always thinking about discoveries just beyond the next ridge or rock outcrop. Perhaps I would find an abandoned cabin, an old Indian campsite, or maybe the next quartz vein would have a chunk of gold sticking out of it. This would certainly be a big supplement to my paper route money. Alas, I never found anything of worth, but would sometimes run into a dip on the mountainside or a secluded ridge line where no houses were visible nor sounds of humanity present. They always seemed magical somehow, and to me they were true wilderness areas. I still enjoy poking around less traveled areas in Colorado.
Last year my eyes fell on Badger Creek on a map. It runs into the Arkansas River from the north, and seemed like a great place to visit, fish and explore. Last fall I drove to the North end, where County Road 2 crosses Badger Creek. There were a few fish, and not many people. I camped one night. Unzipping the tent next morning, my eyes fell on a lovely mountain bluebird perched on a cow pie eight feet away. I took that for good Karma, since the bird was in no hurry to leave, and we enjoyed each others’ company for a few minutes.
That afternoon, three gentlemen from Colorado Springs appeared. They had hiked down a few miles to fish. One fellow stated that he had always wanted to hike down the whole canyon to the Arkansas, but had heard that there were no trails, and that it might be a little tough going. Much like a lake cutthroat rising toward a dry fly, I was hooked.