5 Days & 52 lbs.

Originally posted at Deuter.

5 Days & 52 lbs.

Backpacking Deuter Aspen Trees Colorado West Elk Wilderness Fly fishing golden trout  campingWhat I should have never done was weigh my pack. If you are packing your bag at the trailhead and someone says they have a scale, just walk away because you really do not want to know how much it weighs. Especially when you know you are hiking on and off for five days with an estimated total of 30 miles. But I caved in and weighed my pack. I was using my Aircontact 65+10, it was five days out in the wilderness after all and I needed to bring everything I could for this adventure. My natural high was reaching its apex as I was about to hit the open trail, but finding out my pack weighed in at 52 lbs. took a bit of wind out of my sails.


Fly Fishing Deuter Orvis golden trout camping backpacking colorado high mountain fishingI was taking this trip with 3 friends that I met a few years ago on www.ColoradoMountainFishing.com – Mike, Rick, and Ryan. We have fished a lot together since our first fish outing and what a great group of guys to go hunting for an “extinct” fish. You see, the Golden Trout was once known to exist in the high country of Colorado, but the last time they were stocked was in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Although the trout are believed to be extinct, we had some inside info on one spot that “might” still have golden trout.  We did some research and still didn’t find that much on the subject. So we decided to go for it, keep our fingers crossed, and hope that we would survive the hike to this secret location.


As I put the 52 lbs. on my back for the first time, I had no idea what kind of day I was in for. We left the trailhead at 8 a.m. and didn’t arrive at our destination until 5 p.m. ­– nine hours on the trail! Fourteen miles in total. Five of those miles were without trail and we had to bushwack through the wilderness with only vague GPS points to guide us. I had no idea that when you are hiking through the wilderness without any trails, there are a lot of trees that fall in the forest. I must have climbed over 500 downed trees that day, not to mention the boulder fields I was climbing up on my hands and knees! I had no idea I was going to be taking my 52 lbs. on such a journey.

You might be asking yourself what would drive a man to go through such a trek for a fish that may or may not exist. Well for me it is simple, it’s a challenge, it’s the unknown, it’s the possibility of finding something that only a handful of people have found in 30 years!


golden trout fly fishing colorado deuter orvis backpacking camping rocky mountainsIf you are wondering what the outcome of this expedition was, well – as the saying goes – we struck gold!



Mike’s ACT Lite 65 + 10 weighed in at 56 lbs. in case you were wondering. At least I didn’t have the heaviest pack out there!

4 thoughts on “5 Days & 52 lbs.

  1. I’ve hiked to Kelly looking for the elusive golden. Fished all afternoon w/o any hits, didn’t see a rise or a fish! That was about 15 years ago. I’m a native, been in the West Elks numerous times. Hiked in and fished Elk Creek? and caught a ton of fish. Looks like your family outing was in what I call my “honey hole”, with the inits of BC. Love that place, but have gotten away from fishing it as much. Actually saw a mountain lion once while I was there. Interesting story! I fish a lot up around Woodland park area, am in the middle of ice fishing season at the Mile and Antero. I’m glad you found some golds! I guess I’ll have to do my research and try for them again. I’ve actually caught them (long time ago) in a little stream by Olanche CA. Fun trips, watch for rattlers on the trail though!

    • Hi Charlie,
      I’m surprised they weren’t in Kelly 15 years ago because I thought back then they were supposed to be? Those little guys are hard to find for sure! A good fishing buddy that went on this trip with me http://www.jonathanfhill.com/blog/?page_id=7 lives in Woodland Park as well. You should check out coloradomountainfishing.com if you haven’t already. A bunch of great guys on there and a ton of help when looking for gems in the high country.
      See you on the water!

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