The Last Bushwhack

Originally posted at Deuter.

You can never be sure how much you’ll see of the fall season in Colorado. Sometimes it seems like it jumps straight from summer to winter without the crisp, colorful season some states get to enjoy. Not this year however. Fall this year has been perfect – minus a couple of snow flurry days. So, my friends Tom and Matt and I decided to take full advantage of the weather and make a trek into the high-country.

For a long day hike like this, my Deuter Futura Pro 42 holds everything I need to take. Stuffed full with my fly-fishing equipment, camera equipment, and my lunch, the pack still feels light when it’s on my back and I’m bushwhacking over trees and boulders.

When I met up with Tom and Matt, I had to laugh because I didn’t realize that they too had Deuter packs stuffed to the brim and ready for the hike. What we didn’t realize was how long and strenuous a hike it would turn out to be. Tom had been studying up on this particular section of water for a few years, gathering all the information he could on how to get down to the river and where on the river to fish. But, there wasn’t a ton of info on this area so we headed out with what little intel we had.

Getting to the river turned out to be the easy part – it was downhill the entire way and only took about an hour. Once at the river, we put our waders on and decided to head upstream. The section of river looked perfect but we didn’t see any signs of fish, so we kept on wading.

The first section was flat and open, and we soon came upon a canyon section. We had to take a detour straight uphill and around the steep section of water to get to more fishable water. Once up on the canyon wall we stopped to take in the scenery and decide what our next move would be. Upstream seemed to be even steeper and less fishable so we decided to head back the way we came and try to fish downstream.

We returned back to where we had started and then headed downstream in hopes of better luck. We immediately saw signs of trout! Matt and I quickly hooked into some small rainbows and it felt good to catch some fish.

But our joy soon melted away when we had to again hike straight up and around yet another canyon. Once that was accomplished we were back at some flat open water – but again, like earlier, no signs of fish. We knew it was going to take a bit longer to hike out than the hike in, and it was getting later in the afternoon, so we decided to call the adventure a success and head back.

It wasn’t the Shangri-La of trout water we were hoping for, but it was a perfect day for a bushwhack. Catching a few choice fish, seeing signs of mountain lions, bear and deer and enjoying the remoteness of the area, still made for a good fall day in Colorado.

P1090723 P1090728 P1090756 P1090771 P1090781 P1090793

A Canoe and a Camera

Originally posted at Mountainsmith.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota is a beautiful place. If you have not had the opportunity to visit I highly recommend going at least once. But I warn you, once you do, you will want to keep going back – at least my good friend Randy Wilson and I have found that to be true.

Packing all the essentials for a weeklong trip into the boundary waters is a challenging task. For this most recent trip – my fifth into the north country of Minnesota – I packed and repacked at least six times. Everything you will need to use for the trip has to fit inside a canoe. Not only that, you also have to take into consideration the portages and the water that inevitably makes its way into the canoe. One pack however was an easy choice – the Spectrum camera bag by Mountainsmith. Designed in Colorado by professional photographer Andy Mann, the Spectrum was the perfect camera pack for a week on the water.

Taking an expensive camera and a couple of lenses on a trip like this can be nerve wracking. Throwing things in and out of a canoe and of course the possibility of getting everything soaking wet, is always in the back of your mind. The Spectrum pack has just the right amount of padding and space and even its own rain jacket so you don’t have to worry when the weather turns wet on you. The pack held its own, as it was dropped and/or placed heavily into the wet canoe at least 50 times.

Another nice aspect of the pack is its size. I mentioned it is perfect for a camera and couple of lenses but it also held a handful of batteries, maps, knifes, lunch, a compass, a cutting board, bear spray and a few other things that most people would normally not put into it. Even with everything packed away, it felt light and sturdy on our backs, even while carrying a canoe.

After six days of portaging, paddling and fishing we headed back to the lodge and put up the canoe and put on the hiking boots. We had an afternoon to do a little hiking and fishing the scenic Brule River. Again, the Spectrum was in tow – packed this time with only the camera equipment and a water bottle. The afternoon was spent catching rainbow trout and snapping more great photos.

Lucky for us that Randy is a professional photographer and was able to capture some amazing images from our weeklong adventure.  You can view more of his work at You can also find more information about the Spectrum pack and all the other great products that Mountainsmith creates at

JHill BWCA2 JHill BWCA3 JHill BWCA4 P1090334 P1090469 P1090630 P1090693 JHill BWCA5 P1090222 RHWilson Brule RHWilson Brule1 RHWilson Brule2 RHWilson BWCA Eagle1 RHWilson BWCA1 RHWilson BWCA2 RHWilson BWCA3