All of us here deal with limited mobility. It’s one of the things that has brought us together here on this platform. But there are so many other things that make us us. For me, it's my love of the outdoors. Finding new ways to enjoy nature that fit my new levels of mobility. Right now my best friend and I are getting ready to go camping for the first time since I’ve moved into using a chair full time. I’ll admit that I’m scared because it’s new, and because it’s a level of planning I haven’t had to do before. It’s a new set of packing lists, figuring out transferring to my tent easily, and getting around the campground. I’m incredibly lucky that there are some accessible campgrounds that still are pretty far out, on the river for fly fishing, with access down to the water, and have an accessible toilet.
Deckers, Colorado is a destination for many fly fishers. For many years this has been something I’ve wanted to do. Feeling the water around my legs, the peaceful quiet of the early morning with the insect hatch causing the fish to be very active. The feeling of landing a fish on the line, and the back and forth battle, or sometimes a conversation, of bringing a fish on your line. The pictures, and the feeling of releasing your catch back into the river. I’ve fished with a normal rod and reel for many years, even landing some state record fish back in Maryland. Last year, while on crutches, one of my dear friends got me in the water, helped hold me up, and taught me the basics of fly fishing. It was a dream come true. As the year, and my condition progressed, continuing to fish this way got harder and harder, and many rivers are very hard to access in the mountains, making it impossible for me to get out and try. So next weekend will be our first attempt fishing from the bank with a fly rod. The one perk is the icy cold water won’t freeze me unless I fall in! I will get to immerse myself in nature, find that quiet peace. Yes, it will be different. I won’t be able to have the sensations I once did, but I will be able to find new ways to enjoy the water. The sound of the line in the air, the yelp of me catching myself at least once or twice, and hopefully the feel of a fish on my line as we begin the dance of pulling it in. And thanks to the campground at Deckers, with its accessible sites and ways to reach the river, I will be able to experience this for the first time without relying on someone else to hold me up, to truly find independence doing something I love, without relying on someone else to support me, and that is truly a gift. I highly recommend visiting if nature, the outdoors, fishing, or just enjoying a good fire at an accessible site that doesn’t “feel” like it’s been pretty modified to accommodate a chair. It’s truly a gift to be able to continue to enjoy the outdoors and the things I truly love, and to have a place so lovely and raw that I can escape to has been amazing, and I hope to be able to share it with all of you!