Turqoise to Timberline: Chasing Trout in the Rockies

Thursday, July 7, 2011 | Leadville, CO, USA (map)

Spying on the enemy from above, at Timberline Lake. (photo by C. Graham)
DC is the last place on earth any sane warm-blooded creature would want to be during the summer heat. So a few days before the Fourth of July weekend arrived, when my uncle Chris called to invite me to spend the holiday camping in the Rocky Mountains with him and my aunt and two cousins, I wisely accepted.

From their home in Denver, I drove with my uncle and his chocolate lab, Ollie, to Turquoise Lake, where we met the rest of the family and pitched our tents for the weekend. (Of course, in our minds this was largely a fishing trip, so my uncle and I made sure to stop at several points along the way—fly fishing shops, trout streams, and rivers still bursting with this year's late snowmelt.)

My two cousins, twin 15-year old boys, led the charge with their friends on the next day's hike to Timberline Lake. The two-hour climb to 11,000 feet (3,350 m.) involved fording several snowmelt