"It's a famileeee tradition!"
I hope you read that title like Hank Williams Jr. sings it! If you did, then we might just be best friends! These past 11 days we ventured to one of our family’s most absolute favorite spots in the world. Yes, as in the whole entire earthly planet! We went to the place we named our son after, the place that is so beautiful you have to see it to understand, the place that most native Coloradians don’t even know about, the place where fish are healthy and really feisty, the place you have to camp in a tent at least once to appreciate, the place... our family calls home for at least 10+ days out of the year, “Every. Single. Year”!
Here’s a little back story…… My father in law (“Meeko” as most of Doc’s friends call him) first visited this place in 1963 with his parents, older sister and several other families from his hometown. Meeko is from a small west Texas town; yes this is important to the story, knowing someone is from west Texas is ALWAYS important to the story. The family preacher, Brother Arbuckle, had visited this place while he was around college-age. After he finished seminary and had settled down as the First Baptist preacher, he took his friends and they ventured to Colorado. I can’t even begin to tell you all the stories Meeko has to tell about Brother A., there seems to be a new one told every year that I’ve never heard. I never met Brother A., nor did my husband, but man…. He sounds like someone I can’t wait to meet one day! So…here’s a shout-out to Brother A., if it wasn’t for you, we’d never know what we’d be missing! (The photos below are of: 1. Papa on the left and Brother A. on the right; 2. Papa (now you know where Doc gets his good looks from) 3. Meeko and Papa stringin' em up! and 4.) Papa and his brother))
My husband first came to this place in 1992 when he was 8 years old. You see Meeko and his best fishin’ buddy J-Don had been coming for 6 years before they brought their boys. Doc and JB (J-Don’s son) were the first to come. This would soon be the start of Doc’s fly fishing obsession! Doc tells this story:
“Dad took me fishing for the first time, and I told him, ‘Dad, there’s no possible way there could be fish in this little stream! You can see the bottom and it’s not very deep!' Two casts later one tried to take my fly, and I couldn’t believe it, I just couldn’t believe it! I also had to ask about an hour in, why the water was so cold? To which Dad responded, ‘Son its snow melt, it’s gonna be cold just suck it up and fish!’ After a day’s fishing I had discovered my waiters sprung a leak! The next day I was the proud owner of some new Hodgeman hip waders! Gosh those were some fun days!”
I love it! I absolutely LOVE to hear their stories of growing up fishing in this place. Over the years, there have been four more of Doc’s friends that at one time or another have been up to fish, six boys in total including Doc. I’m gonna give a shout-out to each of these guys with these memories Doc tells. I’ve only heard one millionth of what went on over those years, because ya know, what happens at the campfire, stays at the campfire, but… here are some funny one’s I’ve heard:
-Hey “D-Bo” you still got that sleeping bag you melted a Snickers in?
-Hey “GT” remember that time you fell in the river and tied your shirt on a stick like a hobo?
- Hey “BeBe” do you come to fish or do you just come for the beer?
-Hey “J. Lewis” remember in 2018 when you caught more fish than JB?
-Hey “JB” remember that time we played power hour at Ivy Creek?
There’s a shout-out to Doc’s boys! He hopes to see you in the mountains again…. Soon, real soon!
Fast forward a couple decades, and our son CW came when he was 7 months cookin’ in my belly, and is now the 4th generation to come to this place! How lucky is this kid that he’s now been 3 years in a row! He has no idea yet the memories and stories that he’s gonna hear over the years and eventually make on his own. Right now he really enjoys watching Gus swim in the water, and throwing a billion rocks to see how far he can throw them, and he just likes whipping a fly rod because it’s long and bendy and well, what else does a 21 month old like to do?
The boys have embraced “us girls” coming just like we were “one of the boys”! I first came in 2014 and haven’t stopped since. It was special (I know because my husband reminded me like a million times) that we were camping where he and the boys had camped for years, reminding me that I was the first girl to camp there... I appreciate the loyalty dear (insert eye roll)! I’m sure Doc never imagined what his days of fishing would look like now (wife, kid and dog in tow) but I hope he loves it as much as I do! Doc and I often choose to fly fish together as a date day. I probably love it more than him, hahaha. He’s hottttt, like tall, dark and handsome hot, he’s amazing to watch, makes fly fishing look easy, like never hangs his line on anything, has the patience of Job, I day-dream about him fishing without a shirt on (but he has a farmers tan and would probably get sun burned), and well he’s just real damn fun to be around! Because of him; his patience, his teaching, and all the endless lessons he’s given me….. this girl has caught the biggest fish two years in a row……. I’ll just let you sit with that for a minute boys!
I hope you find some outdoor adventure that you and your family can share, year after year, generation after generation. It doesn’t have to be a two day drive like ours, it doesn’t have to be to the mountains, it might be that you sleep in a tent in your backyard and eat s’mores, or that you fish with your kiddo’s in the nearest lake, but whatever it is…. Get out and do it, and do it with your friends and family! So…here’s to family traditions! Here’s to our son bringing along some of his buddies one day! Here’s to many, many years of family fishing to come! Here’s to eating the fish we catch during the day for dinner! Here’s to sunset’s and campfires! Here’s to waking up with the sun! Here’s to good friends! Here’s to good beer! Here’s to none of us ever telling you where our secret fishing spot is! And… here’s to family traditions!