The bite from the 19 degree weather inspired us to gear up quickly, but it was going to take a little more than cold to damper our day. Shawn had spared no expense on all kinds of good food and drinks that would satisfy any palate, and after a few drinks, there was no worry of being cold. A bald eagle soaring in the distance offered up a picturesque scene before we walked into the water.
The feeling of water passing by their legs was enough to get them addicted to the sport, and before long, Wes was hooked into a nice rainbow trout!
The fish took his comparadun BWO pattern, and was not happy to be hooked. Though Wes is a seasoned gear fisherman for bass, he admitted to loving the fight with a fly rod. Wes’s years of experience translated nicely to fighting the fish with a fly rod. With some quick maneuvers we were able to land his fish and, despite the cold, he took off his gloves and held up the fish for the camera.
Once Wes let the fish go, there were more fish rising all around us. After a failed attempt to call Shawn and Kelly over to us, we went back to fishing.
The day was flying by and the sun started fading behind the canyon walls, which created a noticeable drop in the temperature. Shawn and I had walked upstream to fish a different run. He mentioned that Kelly had caught a white fish, leaving Shawn as the only one who hadn’t caught a fish. I had some luck in the new run, but the fish seemed uninterested in Shawn’s fly. I took another shot at the fish and was unsuccessful. The cold was making the fly changing process take a lot longer than normal, so together we decided it was time to go, and fished our way back to the vehicle.
Upon our arrival, we discovered that Kelly had turned on the radio to listen to some music as he and Wes took off their gear.
“This isn’t good.” I said to Shawn, as we approached. Earlier that day, we had a small scare with the battery: it had enough juice to start Shawn’s SUV, but just barely. We had left the engine running for a while to charge up the battery, and I thought it was clear that we were not to leave the doors open, let-alone run the radio, for fear the car wouldn’t start the next time we tried it.
“Please tell me you started the car so you didn’t kill the battery?” Shawn asked, as we approved the SUV that had doors wide open, with all interior light on, and a blaring radio.
“I turned it on for ten minutes.” Kelly said.
“I told him not to turn on the radio.” Wes chimed in, but whatever damage there was, was done. Shawn shot me a look, as if asking, please tell me this thing will start, and my look back was not encouraging.
Shawn quickly made his way to the driver seat, and turned the key… At 19 degrees and dropping, the worst sound in the world is the click click, of an engine failing to start due to a dead battery.
If we thought it was cold before, it was nothing compared to our walk back. Our faces were covered and our heads were down to keep the artic breeze from piercing.
“Okay, guys…” Shawn said, breaking the silence. “Let’s tell Kelly that we couldn’t find service, and we had to turn back because we heard wolves.”
“I’m game!” Wes said with no hesitation.
“Me too.” I said, not believing Kelly would go for it… and boy was I wrong!
Upon our arrival, we all got back in the SUV before Shawn told Kelly the “bad news”.
“Dude, Kelly. We have a problem. We had to turn back before we found service, because we heard wolves.” Shawn said convincingly, even with the smile he hid behind the front of his jacket.
“Seriously?” Kelly asked, his eyes wide… “What are we going to do?” He asked, as he started to rub his hands together.
“We may need to stay out here for the night.” Wes said.
“We can’t!” Kelly said, raising his voice, “I already can’t get warm!” He continued to rub his hands together, this time more aggressively.
“I can’t feel them…” Kelly, said looking at his hands… then the shivering started.
“It’s… soo… cold !” Kelly said behind violent shivers. He curled himself in a ball, and was making va va va va va, sounds as he shivered. We all started laughing at this point, but Kelly was too far gone to pick up on the sarcasm.
“Ok, seriously guys!” Shawn said, over our laughter, “What are we going to do?”
“YOU SERIOUSLY DON’T HAVE A PLAN?!” Kelly shrieked. He began gripping at his arms and rubbing his hands against his legs for warmth, murmuring “my hands, my hands.”
“Kelly, stop freaking out.” Shawn said. “Here!” Shawn added, reached back to Kelly. “put on these extra gloves.”
I was now laughing so hard I was crying. This is so mean, I thought to myself, then brought out my camera for a picture.
“We are going to make it through this.” I said, “Now let’s get a picture of you guys so that you can remember this moment.”
“Come on, Bro!” Wes said, tapping Kelly to break him from the fetal position, “Let’s take a picture.” As soon as I saw that they were both looking my way, I snapped a shot that most certainly captured Kelly’s state.
It was about 30 more minutes before AAA showed up, and at the sight of the truck lights coming down the road we all cheered with excitement. In a matter of five minutes, Shawn’s SUV was started with the heater on full blast!
We did not have the patience to wait for the frozen perspiration to thaw, so we used credit cards as ice scrapers so we could get going.
“It’s snowing.” I told Shawn, as I scraped away.
“How much more do you need to scrape?” Shawn asked.
“I just want to make sure you can see.” I replied.
“No. You just want to make your side look better than mine!” He retorted, and held out his hand so that I could give him back his credit card. I handed it over, and as soon as Shawn had it in his hand, he said, “Sucker!” And reached up to continue scraping his side until it looked better than mine.