The hours ticked by at a relaxed pace, yet somehow the days passed quickly and soon enough we were waking up on on fourth day at Vermejo.
This one came with a slightly more exciting wake up though because Kaitlyn stumbled into our room at 6:00 AM all congested and coughing. I was super bummed for her not feeling well because it was the day she had been looking forward to the most. Luckily she was willing to rally, so she took two hot showers, drank some warm tea, took a little Genexa kids cough and cold, and snuggled in our bed until it was time for breakfast.
It all seemed to do the trick because after breakfast she was bouncing off the walls, giddy to learn to do some fly fishing!
We followed the guides to Adams Lake in our truck and set up shop in the most picturesque looking scene. It doesn’t even look real, does it? The guides started tying flies to line, and setting us each up with a rod. We had taken a Fly Fishing 101/how to cast lesson in the front field the previous night before dinner, so we knew the basics. We could see the fish swimming but it took us a little time to get to catching. Liam caught the first fish and showed us all how it was done!
From there, we all took turns casting and reeling, including the guides who would get one on the line then hand it off for one of us to reel in. It’s worth reiterating that these guides were top notch and Kaitlyn absolutely BEAMED when Sam handed her the next rainbow trout to reel in.
The weather was so pleasant, warm, but with a breeze and no humidity. We spread out to cast our lines, some of the older kids taking out the johnboats and the rest of us staying on shore. We had the lake to ourselves and it was so peaceful. As the time ticked by we all had a turn holding up a proud catch, whether from hooking it ourselves or with the help of the guides.
We ate our bagged lunches at the nearby picnic tables then decided to take the boats out and try our luck at some trolling. Trolling brought us great success; it was like catching fish in a bucket! It was great fun for the girls that loved the excitement of it all.
Once we made it to the other side of the lake, a pop up rain shower came through, soaking us. We laughed so hard, though we were shivering. What a great memory!
At the end of our fishing adventure we ended up bringing home 5 big rainbow trout. Upon arriving back at the ranch we dropped them off at the fish house where the guides offered to clean them up and pass them along to the chef who would make our appetizer for the evening from our catches from the day. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!
Kaitlyn had been such a trooper but by midafternoon she was hitting a wall. After another hot shower we set her up in her bed with a movie on her ipad. The rest of us planned to just chill out, but my niece, Taylor, was itching to do something.
A guide had told us about the idea of antler hunting, as the elk shed their antlers each spring and if you search hard you can sometimes find them. So several of us loaded up in the truck in search of off-road adventure and perhaps even some antlers.
We took off down gravel roads in directions we hadn’t been before with the windows down, music playing, and the kids loaded in the back of the truck. That was all pretty fun on its own, then Carter, my oldest nephew, shouted that he saw something white off to the side of the road. We stopped the truck and hopped out and sure enough, he had found a big ‘ol antler!
This kicked off excitement in us all and the search officially began. We’d drive some then hop out and wander through the woods. At one stop, both Mabry, my niece, and I got a little lost. We found the road and decided to walk along it until we found the truck, when I spotted something large and pointy down a ravine. We knew we had to go check it and and OH MY GOODNESS it was a huge elk antler! It looked so fresh that I looked around to see if the elk might be nearby and ended up spotting the matching antler about 20 feet away. Success!
We huffed and puffed our way back up the steep hill to the main road. When we found the rest of the group we held the antlers up with pride, but it wasn’t until I saw the picture David snapped that I realized just how big they were.
The great antler hunt ended up being one of the most special afternoons of the trip, and all because Taylor forced us all up and out of the villa.
We arrived back just in time to get Kaitlyn up from her rest and get to dinner. As promised, the chef, who was as personable as he was talented, cooked our morning catches up as appetizers for our table. He created two dishes: the first was deep fried and crispy with a horseradish dip and the second was a warm and flavorful trout dip. Never would I think something called trout dip would be something I would go for but it ended up being my favorite dish of the night.