Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dude, shut the door!!!!

It's hard for a fisherman to imagine anyone enjoying a day on the river sans flycasting. After all, God created rivers in Colorado for one purpose and one purpose only. Flyfishing! My favorite spot on the Poudre River is a mere 20 minutes from home, a short drive up the canyon. It's a couple hundred yards of deep slicks interspersed with shallow, fast moving riffles. It's a rare day that I don't land at least a couple of trout from a deep run on the far bank. It's also a rare day when I don't encounter mountain jays and a deer or two as I wade the stream. Imagine my enlightenment last summer upon finding out that people actually do other things in the canyon.

I watched a huge RV pull into site #15 of the small campground that lines the river, despite the signs at the entrance that specifically prohibit RV’s or trailers. The monstrous gas-guzzler backed into the spot very carefully.

A couple of 20-somethings popped out the door and surveyed the campground. Being the friendly camper that I am, I approached one of the young guys. “Not that I care, but you guys may want to pay heed to the sign up at the entrance. I don’t think - technically - that you’re supposed to have an RV in here. It makes no difference to me, but I’d hate to have you get a ticket.” Secretly, I was hoping I could convince them to go elsewhere. I was hoping for solitude on this trip. As always, it's all about ME!

“It’s all good, dude. The website said it was OK to bring an RV in here.”

“Oh.” I replied with as much courtesy as I could muster. His partner already had the music cranked up as high as possible. I love music. When I write, I like to play Van Halen or AC/DC at high decibel levels. When I camp, I’d rather have peace and quiet.

I returned to my camp chair and my book. I watched as the side of the RV expanded slowly. Apparently this RV had a bedroom built into the driver’s side that would seep out with the touch of a button.

Part of me laughed, and part of me was disgusted. Why would anybody want to drive up the canyon in a mobile house and then sit inside of it all afternoon? The canyon is beautiful. “Get out and fish, or take a hike, or do something!!” I wondered why I hadn’t been more forceful in trying to get them to leave.

The thump, thump, thump of the RV’s stereo pounded in my head like the beating of the hideous heart in Edgar Allen Poe’s “Telltale Heart.” The more I tried to ignore it, the louder and more obnoxious it became. “Forget this,” I thought. “I’m going fishing.” I strapped on my waders, tied a Royal Humpy on my line, and headed for the river. On my way, I thought I’d have a little fun. The door to the RV was wide open. I poked my head inside. “Hey guys, I’ll be happy to sacrifice my luxurious little tent for your mansion on wheels!”

It was at this point that I both saw and smelled something distinctive through a haze of smoke. Marijuana smoke coming from a big, fat water-bong! It looked like a gigantic replica of the hookah pipe my ex-wife had brought back to me from her trip to Egypt. People in the Middle East smoke a certain type of tobacco with them. This clearly wasn't it!

“Dude, shut the door, shut the door!” The young guy’s voice was urgent, frantic. The entire interior of the RV was clouded in smoke, the smell intolerable. I’d inadvertently run into a couple of genuine hippie pot smokers! Some of my friends in college had toked up on a joint or two, but I never tried the stuff myself. First of all, it was illegal. I’m no saint, but I do try to obey the law. Second of all, my Dad would have beaten my ass if he’d ever caught me, especially on sacred ground like a flyfishing spot. Both were deterrent enough!

I shut the door. And then I walked down to the river and caught a couple of nice brown trout.

I never saw the Mary-J smokers again. The door to the RV remained shut until they left the next morning. God help me, I’ll never understand how anyone could visit my campsite (remember, it’s all about ME!) and then sit inside an RV for 24 hours. A beautiful river, gorgeous scenery, a bighorn ram staring down at you from the ridge…hardly the time to sit in an RV smoking weed! Unbelievable.

Different strokes, smokes, or tokes, for different folks, I guess.

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