Expectations, sometimes they lead to the biggest disappointments that one can imagine, at least that's how it works for me. This last week was hectic and my salvation lie in the river system of the South Platte, Cheeseman Canyon in particular. Cheeseman, a river that I have certain expectations for, due largely to the wonderful history that she and I have built together. In my mind, during quiet moments, I relive what I have done on the river; friends that I have shared days with, fish that fight as if they had never been caught before, and the never ending days of summer that act as the backdrop to all these memories.
Upon my arrival to the river I realize that this is not my same lover that I have memories of, she has unexpectedly changed. The river is low, running at 190 cfs, this exposes its many features that are normally kept hidden from strangers, it is like looking into the hollow bones of a rotten corpse.
This might not be bad I think to myself, it will consolidate the fish. This might have been true if I had found a fish, it might have had a friend or two with it. Instead my day was spent walking the wide shoulders of her banks frantically looking, searching for what I had known the river to be.
It did not seem to matter what the fly pattern or how it was presented, how great the riffle, the run, or the hole. The water had dropped and with that my hopes of returning to the river that I knew so well washed away, leaving me behind on the sandy banks.
The day might have been a failure as far as fishing is concerned, but the company of good friends, sunshine, and a stunning landscape offsets what ever negativity that I may have associated with the fishing. We left the river bewildered, confused, and our tails dragged between our legs as we journyed out of the canyon. This did not mean that the day was lost or a failure, it was a day that humbled all of us. Life is a gift and when we learn we grow, that is the lesson for me this week. Take away the best parts of your day and leave behind what you can not change, leave behind your expectations.