Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 25
I ventured out of the Adirondacks for a couple weeks and thank Sue Kiesel for her photos and personal story last week from the heart. My adventure took me to the mountains of Colorado, out near Kremmling, on a piece of private land called the Hendricks Ranch, where Matheson Reservoir backs up Troublesome Creek on the western side of the continental divide, surrounded by the Arapaho National Forest. Eight hunters, two trucks and two trailers full of gear made the trip. Seven of us had been there before, but for my grandson, Jake Bills, this was his first elk hunt. He was the last to be picked up at Exit 46 of the Thruway and westward we went for about forty- eight hours, stopping in Sidney, Nebraska, right in front of a Cabela’s store; where else would hunters stop!
After some shopping in Sidney, we traveled over the mountains to Kremmling for an overnight stay and a meal. We got there in the afternoon and they have a nice shooting range where everyone, but me, shot their guns to see if they hadn’t got off target while traveling. I didn’t shoot, as I haven’t changed my scope in over ten years and only shoot it once at home, where it has always been on target. Some of the guys made adjustments to bring their scopes in line.
While there, I heard that a former Forest Ranger, Jim White from Bolton, had moved to Kremmling a few years ago, so I gave him a call. He answered, but he was out hunting in the early season and said he could meet up that night after supper. He came in the Grand Hotel Restaurant, where we were eating, and called. He said “I don’t see you,” and I called him back “just turn around, I’m right behind you.” We both have changed a little over the years of retirement and we had a good laugh over that one. We had a nice visit about our hunting adventures and his housing development evacuation from a forest fire last year, twice. The fire was stopped before it reached his home or the development, but it was scary. He said the woods in the area are in for a big burn, as the spruce bud worm has killed about eighty percent of the softwood forest, and the standing dead timber and timber on the ground are ready to burn, which could happen at any time. He hadn’t had any luck while hunting, but almost hit a couple elk in the road while going in to hunt this morning. I told him I would get back to him on how we did for the week.
Up early the next morning, we made the frosty 15 degree walk to the Moose Restaurant for breakfast, then went to the Fish and Wildlife Offices for bull elk tag for Jake. We drove a few miles, parked the trailers and loaded all that gear into the pickups for the ten-mile trip on a one lane road, with chains into camp. It was the easiest trip in, as the road was frozen hard with only a little snow on the north side of the mountain. We saw several mule deer and a few nice bucks while driving in, but no elk. We did see a big herd of antelope near town on the way in. While setting up the camp, one truck went back out to get the stuff that wouldn’t fit in the first trip. The gravity-fed water that we had for several years wasn’t working, so we tried to get it unplugged, but had no luck. We became a bucket brigade to fill the barrels. The solar panels had charged the batteries, so power was no problem, and the full screen TV was working well; tough living right!
We had two days before the 2nd season started, so after trying the water problem once more, we all went fishing in the Matheson Reservoir, right near the cabin, and the brook trout were biting. Everyone had their limit and kept trying for that big one, but none were over 16 inches this year, which is a pretty big brook trout. The males were very colorful, ready for breeding in the stream that comes into the reservoir.
The next day, Brian Lowe, Grandson Jake and I took a walk downstream on Troublesome Creek to Glomerate Meadows, just below where Glomerate Creek flowed into the bigger creek. The trail is a little hairy to walk along and you have to cross the creek twice while traveling the little over a mile to the meadows. We fished along the way, only catching one brown trout and having a few bites in the swift water. I did see a dipper (a bird that fishes in the creek for little fish and invertebrates) working in the stream, but got no picture. We didn’t find much elk sign in the meadow, where we had lunch. The craggy rock formations seen along the creek are well worth the walk. There is a sign as you cross the creek the second time by the Forest Service, ‘No Motorize Vehicles Beyond This Point.’ You would have to be hell on wheels to get much more than five hundred feet below the dam on the reservoir on that trail.
The week’s hunt coming up, but that’s another story. See ya.
Dale Jones with brook trout
Craggy rocks at Troublesome Creek