Our Utah adventures had wrapped up and we needed to make our way back to Nebraska to finish our Fly through Nebraska fly fishing tour! (click here to read that!) The quickest way back to Nebraska was to actually go up through Wyoming and then land in the panhandle of NE, since thats where the majority of the streams we needed to hit were located! So, naturally being the rock climbers that we are we looked up climbing along I-80 for our possible pit stops & camp sites.
First stop, wasn’t the best – still an amazing drive in and it made for a super cool camp site, but climbing was just okay! Still super glad we decided to stop but probably wouldn’t go back.
Second stop… gold. I think we just found our new hidden gem!
Let me preface with saying… we drove all the way here to climb.. and we didn’t even climb and it still became one of our new favorite spots. So what did we do?
Driving into Fremont Canyon we passed the little town of Alcova, Wyoming. We passed the giant reservoir with red rock cliffs splashed in every now and then, kept driving, passed pasture after pasture of rolling green hills that made it feel like we were in Ireland or something, kept driving, until we started to see more formations grow and grow on either side of the road and then we hit the bridge. Pretty soon we are on a bridge that crosses over this 130ft canyon with a perfect climbing walls on either side and a flourishing trout street down the middle.
AKA John’s paradise.
We drove past the bridge and followed the road to gauge the size of this beautiful discovery and ended up pulling off where we saw another camper rental. We figured since someone parked there, there was probably a trail down. We packed up the climbing stuff, brought the fishing pole, brought lunch and found a trail.
As we’re walking down, down, down skirting the edge of the cliffs, we see that this gorge is huge and empty!!!! Not a soul in site! We made it to the bottom, massive climbable walls on either side and just the perfect river running right through it. We found some bolted routes and set our stuff down there.
John being John, what’s the first thing he does in solitude with a river. Get naked and jump in of course. What else did you expect. And I was actually glad to get a little bath in too! We hadn’t showered in a few days! 🙂
So were swimming, lounging, enjoying the sun & water and then a storm looks like its about to roll over. So since water is like the worst thing for climbers and gear we decided fishing would be best to start. John sets up his pole, and throws in a line where he didn’t just jump in and no luck for about 45 minutes.
Then out of the corner of my eye I see another fisherman walk up from down river! Must have been the camper we saw up top! And then we met Steven. Stevan was from Switzerland and makes the journey out to Fremont Canyon every spring and fall. Now if this guys coming all the way from Switzerland to go trout fishing… this must be something to talk about. Stevan exchanged some beta on what type of fly he was using and the luck he’d been having. John offered him the hole he’d just been trying and sure enough within 3-5 minutes. Boom. Got one. 5 minutes later, another. 3 more, another. 5 fish caught in under 20 minutes and nothing smaller than 18 inches. GOLD.
Steven was just glowing. And was ecstatic that he had someone photographing and witnessing this feat! John was just as ecstatic to watch him catch all these fish! Steven then tired out the hole thanked us for being there and made it way and kept walking up the river.
We quickly and easily decided that we needed to stay here a couple more days. By this time it was close to 5 pm and we either needed to climb before it got dark like we came here to do and move on in the morning or go into town and get the flies that Steven used and try climbing tomorrow. After all those fish.. easy decision.
We drove past the bridge, little Ireland and the red rock back to the town of Alcova which consist of a fly shop and a gas station with a fly shop. No joke. We pull up to the gas station one in Carmella greeted with a cherry “what the fuck is up man” by a hippy fishing man standing outside. He proceeded to compliment Carmella on her “bad assery” and showed John the flies he needed inside. We don’t even think this guy worked there, he was just using the washing machine apparently.
After the fly shop we headed back to the canyon and snagged a camp stop. Now this is BLM land which means camping is free and roughing it! So if you go here – respect it damnit. This is our land, everyones land, yours and mine – treat it as such. We found a perfect spot right at the edge of the canyon and set up shop. Which means nothing, we just scoot and turn the van until its level and call it good.
We started cooking dinner and guess who just so happened to pop out of the canyon right at our campsite! Our good friend Steven. He checked out our rig, we talked some more fish stories, said our goodnights as we were sure we’d see him tomorrow!
Sun rises, another day in paradise. This time we just brought our fishing gear down, we planned on fishing in the morning, come up for lunch and climb in the afternoon. Fishing was good, great actually, too good. Too good to climb. I don’t remember the exact number of fish John caught that day in that stretch of the river but enough for him to spend the whole day wanting to keep throwing his line in.
After we tired out that stretch and spent majority of the day there, we headed up for lunch and decided to go back into town to check out the other fly shop and see if they had any other recommendations on where to fish or places to check out. East of the Fremont Canyon there’s a stretch on the North Platte thats much wider and shallower section of river which was just as good of fishing apparently. Sure enough it was. I stayed back in the car, I wanted to start editing some photos and get caught up on some things. Not long after John had headed to the river I get a phone call from him.. which was weird because we hadn’t service in majority of the area. He called to tell me that this was the best fishing he’s done ever in his life and he’d just called to tell his dad and that was it. The things that get that boy excited. 🙂
It was getting dark so we headed back to the Fremont Canyon BLM land to snag another camping spot and head to bed. We’d be leaving the next day, time to move on. But we were already configuring when we would make it back this way and just so happens that we were headed back to Utah later in July for one of our adventure workshops! So we thought well might as well time it out and head that way beforehand.
So thats what were doing! Our adventure workshop is in two weeks and this Friday we leave for Wyoming. This time were climbing, I can feel it!! Next blog will be about the climbing there!!!
All in all, one thing we’ve learned from our travels is the less planned the better. When you plan things too in depth, you have high expectations and tend to be crushed or disappointed when they didn’t workout or happen like you dreamed. When you have less things planned there’s more time for things to mold and come up throughout your trip or day. You find yourself saying YES to more things rather than.. well no we can’t fit that in. And a Yes life is much more positive than a no life. I’m not saying don’t have large and in charge dreams, just scale back on the details and let things free flow and happen as they will. You will be much happier with the expectations and left many more stories to tell about the things that just fell into your lap.