So, there I was, boondocking in Colorado. Not that unusual I suppose, were it not for the fact that it was in the high country and it was the middle of January. I was on my way to Arizona in search of warm weather and was just passing through Colorado for a couple of days.
Years before, a friend had told me about a boondocking spot that was fairly unknown to anyone other than locals and he knew I would really enjoy it since it had natural hot springs right next to the Colorado River. He was right too, it was a very secluded spot, the springs were only 50 feet or so from the river and it was the perfect place to set up a fishing pole and sit in the hot springs while I waited for a fish to rise.
The springs were in a canyon and on the other side of the river were a pair of railroad tracks and it was interesting to watch an occasional freight train loaded with coal pass by every now and then. Years earlier, I had taken a weekend trip out of Denver to Glenwood Springs on the Amtrak and I remembered this stretch of the trip along the river as being one of my favorite parts of that train ride.
I stayed there for three days and never saw anyone come use this place while I was there. On the second day I decided to try my luck fishing, so I set up my two poles with river rigs and I took a camp chair out to edge of the river to lean them against while I lounged around in that beautiful hot spring.
Since I hadn’t seen another person there, I figured I would just strip down to my birthday suit and sit right down and enjoy an afternoon of fishing while sitting in a giant natural hot tub. After an hour or so one of my poles began to tap on the end which I immediately recognized as a trout hitting on my lure.
Clothes or no clothes, I quickly jumped out of the hot spring and ran for my pole which by now was half bent over so I knew I had a nice fish on the line. I was five minutes into fighting this fish to shore when I heard the clickity-clack of train wheels and the drone of big diesel engines, so I looked up to see the Amtrak California Zephyr headed west to Sacramento, California.
There I was, naked and knee deep in the Colorado River, a lunker trout and at least 200 hundred people with cameras and their faces pushed against the observation car’s windows. Train or no train, I wasn’t letting this fish off the hook (pun intended) or any of those people on the train for that matter. If I had to stand in 30-degree weather in a river that wasn’t much warmer trying to land a nice trout while they whizzed by at fifty miles per hour then so be it.
Somewhere out there in this world are people that have probably long forgotten most of the details of their train ride through the Rocky Mountains, but when asked about their Amtrak journey they will always respond, “It was a lot of fun and the scenery was beautiful. We even got to see a naked guy fishing in some river in Colorado in the middle of January.”
Yep…that was me. I hope those people enjoy that memory as much as I enjoyed the trout dinner I had that night.