For years an older friend of mine and life insurance client from church has been inviting me to go to “his special fishing spot” on the Gunnison River in Black Canyon National Park. He had explained for years that it was “quite” a hike in, but the scenery and a river full of trout that rarely see an angler was well worth it.
I finally worked it out with my schedule last week, a quick trip, in on Wednesday morning, all day Thursday to fish and out early Friday to beat the heat climbing out. I worked out enthusiastically getting ready and making sure my hiking boots were ready the the descent and ascent from the canyon rim.
There was actually a little trepidation creeping in about a week before the trip. I have a damaged sciatic nerve that has rendered my right foot numb and a broken left leg that provided the same result for my left foot. With both feet numb, well, let’s just say I probably wouldn’t be described as graceful and the last 3/4 of a mile of this trip drops 1800 feet from the canyon rim down to the river over rocks, boulders, loose slide areas and slide rock.
We made it to the rim after a four mile hike from the ranger station to my friend’s special taking off place marked only by his memory. We ate lunch there and then over the edge we went and within a hundred yards I had fallen, a pretty serious miscue off a six foot ledge on to slide rock below. I fortunately landed on my pack, but then rolled down the hill until I was stopped by a bush. Nothing broke, but I was cut and bruised and my confidence was a bit shaken.
Sparing you all the details I fell down and over at least 10 more times on the way down, ran out of water 3/4 of the way down and suffered some pretty severe dehydration. I was cut bruised and scraped all over and ibuprofen wasn’t offering any relief. We were able to get rehydrated once we reached the river, but I was definitely not having fun.
The next day I slept until it was too hot to sleep. I fished as much as I could. My exertion limit was three casts and then I had to take a break and when I actually landed a 2 or 3 pound trout, I had to go find some shade and take a nap.
Meanwhile my 73 year old friend who never even slipped on the way down was hiking up and down the river fishing his heart out, trying to bolster my spirits for the hike out the next day. 16 years older than me and just an animal. And so gracious given the company he had at the bottom of the canyon.
Bottom line. We left at 6am the next morning and got to the car at about 2, actually an hour quicker coming up to the rim than going down to the river. I am still recovering and yes, I know none of this had to do with life insurance although there were a few moments I thought it might have to do with my own. Just wanted to share with you a trip that I will most assuredly never go on again.
You know some companies require cognitive testing for people over 70 applying for life insurance. Seems like they may want to test us younger guys and figure those over 70 have life figured out.