The Good and the Bad

Uncompahgre River (Map)

San JuansFebruary 26, 2013. My first day on the Uncompahgre River near Montrose, CO was a classic example of highs and lows. I drove up from Durango through the San Juan mountains newly covered with fresh snow with a clear blue Colorado sky.



StormAbout 45 minutes in the drive the weather started to change and by the time I reached Silverton, I was in a classic mountain snowstorm. Red Mountain pass is famous for its dramatic drop-offs and I felt fortunate that my side of the road hugged the mountain and I have a great 4-wheel drive vehicle. The good and the bad.


UncompahgreI arrived a little late at the “Paco”, or Pa-co-chu-puk, the tail water fishery below the Ridgway Dam in the Ridgway State Park where I was meeting my fishing partners, Carol Oglesby, Nancy Burdette, Mary Graham, and Phyllis Pool. These Grand Junction area women have quite a few years of fishing experience behind them and it was great to meet other women who are as passionate about fly-fishing as I am.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were along on the river and found some holes that produced large numbers of fish. At one point Nancy caught a very large cutbowWe wanted to get a photo of this beautiful fish so I rushed up from my fishing spot to help. I took out my point and shoot only to discover the battery was dead. I shoved the camera back into my front pack, but neglected to zip up the pouch. I leaned over to try to help with holding up the fish and my camera fell into the icy cold water. The good and the bad.

We continued to catch fish all day and decided we would leave around 3:30 and go to Montrose for dinner. I was making my last cast when I spotted a heron just across the river from me. I decided to run back to the car to get my Nikon D7000 with the telephoto lens hoping that the heron would still be there when I returned.

HeronWhen I arrived at my car, I took off my front pack filled with all my gear, picked up my camera and locked the car from the door lock. I was able to get back down to the river on time to take some fabulous photos of the heron who was incredibly cooperative as I edged closer and closer to it.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI drudged back to the car to hook up with everyone and realized a few steps away from the car that I was in trouble. My car keys were in my fishing pack, and my fishing pack was in my car – locked up. Thanks goodness for AAA and patient girlfriends. About 90 minutes later, I’m back in my car and we’re on our way to a great meal and lots of laughs at our restaurant in Colorado. The good and the bad.

4 thoughts on “The Good and the Bad

  1. Shelley – Fishing with you on the Uncompahgre River was one of the best days that I have had fishing. Great friends, lots of laughs, the River with only us gals, and everyone caught fish. I loved fishing in the snow. We smiled and laughed all the way back to G.J. I think you and Carol should make the next book of women fishing and why they love it along with great photo. Then a calendar with MEN IN WADERS!
    Enjoy the rest of your journey!

  2. Your photography is as good as your spirit…’s so wonderful how you make emotions hit home. Each time I look at your website it warms my heart…..spirit, story, imagination, and most of all the love you have for what your doing….It’s wonderful to feel so happy for someone else that is following their heart and it truly shows……..keep warm, like my heart feels for you……..xoxoxo Scott….

  3. Shelley,
    What wonderful photos! Waiting on you and your friends at The Camp Robber was a fun time! You ladies are a great inspiration to other women who have an inkling to follow their dreams. p.s. love your website!
    Warmly, C.G. Reardon (author of The Dandelion Crowns)

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