Polaris Expeditionary Learning School, where we loaded up all our gear, 21 middle and high school students, 2 teachers and 3 parents (including me) into 5 vehicles and headed to Kremmling, Colorado for a week-long fly fishing adventure.
The winding Poudre Canyon led us to the top of Cameron Pass. The yellows, oranges and reds on the trees turned more vivid the higher we went. It some areas, the groves of aspens seemed to be glowing, showering us with bright colored leaves as we drove through. As we traveled over the pass, the colors intensified and took our breath away.
|Fly Fishing School|
Then it was off to town for fly fishing school. Kyle, the high school science teacher, who also moonlights as a guide for St. Peters Fly Shop in Fort Collins on weekends and in the summer, plunged right in and taught students about leaders, tippets, the parts of a fly rod and of course, flies. It was then time for them to put their fly rods together and practice casting (without a hook at this point).
While they were busy with this, I headed to the Kremmling Mercantile to pick up the necessary supplies for a big pot of homemade chili. Back at camp we all enjoyed Frito Pie (Chili, Fritos and cheese). With full stomachs we set out for the river. As we approached, the kids talking turned to whispers, then to silence and all we heard were our footsteps and the river.
Kyle got in the water and gave us a river anatomy lesson, teaching us about riffles and pools and typical fish behaviors. In the middle of the lesson, a bald eagle flew overhead on his way back to his nest. We all watched in awe.
Around the campfire that evening, after all the students had went to their tents. The five of us adults talked about the plans for the next day, while the coyotes serenaded us.
|Enjoying coffee and the sunrise|
|The view from the Deck|
So what does all of this have to do with writing? A lot.
Even though I wasn't writing, my brain and senses were filling with new experiences, sounds and images that will be embedded in my memory forever and can be used in my future writing:
- Watching my daughter display great fishing skills on the river with her beautiful casting and effectiveness in stripping the line as the indicator floated by.
- Listening to the sounds of the river for hours on end.
- Sharing the excitement of the kids as they caught fish.
- Being outside in the fresh air for 5 days, away from my computer
- Enjoying the fish stories each night
- Learning a new "language" (roll cast, tippit, leader, surgeon's knot...)
- Sitting wrapped up in a blanket on the deck after everyone went to sleep and looking at the countless stars while the river provided the background music.
- Experiencing a profound sense of calm.
Writing doesn't always entail sitting with pen and paper in hand or tapping away at our computer. If we are paying attention and being in the moment life can be our muse.
|Kyle and Delaney|
|Delaney and Luna tying on a fly|