My wife loves camping at established campgrounds and….I’m not really a big fan. Our destination was on this outing was a compromise in the Manti La Sal mountains, but on this trip I learned – yet again – that wives know best. I’ll get it one of these days!

As is often the case when getting things assembled for a family camping trip, we got off later than we had planned and ended up doing much of the driving in the dark. Halfway into our drive it got interesting: a wrong turn (or two) resulted in a run-in with a drunk and angry land-owner packing heat and dishing threats. Obviously, an intoxicated man wielding a gun isn’t someone to get too gnarly with and needless to say, with my wife and kids in the car I did not take kindly to this chucko dishing out threats when we were simply trying to find our way.┬áThis encounter did not help my case with the wife and the trip seemed doomed before it even begun.

The quiet drive slowly eased the tensions and we ascended up the windy dirt road. With the kids fast asleep in their seats we eventually arrived at our destination. The air wasn’t as cool as I expected – especially considering it was early fall at over 9000ft. We found a good spot and I got a fire going before setting up the garage-size tent that my wife got me (herself) for Father’s Day. After erecting the castle the fire was primed and ready to roast some marshmallows. The boys were awake and stoked. We laughed and chomped down some goodies into the night until it was finally time to hit the hay. Before I called it a night I made sure to toss a mouse for a few and after some eruptions and small tiger trout to hand it was time to call it and gaze starward.

The sun was up but the family was all still asleep so I dared not sneak out to take it to the fish that were surely getting their cruise on. I dozed until I was brought back with the jibber jabber of two monkeys. Zev and I took to the water. A warm morning with clear skies and clear water greeted us. To our delight, there were still plenty of tiger trout still wandered the shallows munching on edibles – some on the surface and some below. I decided to focus on the surface action and had the stinking suspicion that they would love some terrestrial munchees. Zev helped me pick out fish and together we confirmed my suspicion. The ‘plop’ on the water turned fish and they aggressively charged with temporary reckless abandon – only to stop abruptly inches from my bug and inspect it scrupulously! I’ve seen fish inspect bugs but never like this. S0me would half decide and reject three and four times before finally deciding to eat or deny. It was crazy! Others caught on the cruise would react to the impact with an immediate eat. It was a blast spotting good fish, getting the take, and handing it off to Zev to bring the fish in.

The weather slowly started to change and we had a few bouts of wind and some sprinkling rain. One bout was particularly strong and started to carry our jumbo tent (that we hadn’t staked down) away. The interesting part? My other little dude was fast asleep inside! The wind caught the rain fly and it really got interesting. My wife and I scramble to keep the tent from tumbling away and checked to make sure he wasn’t buried in sleeping bags. What did we find? My little man Kai sleeping like a baby. I couldn’t believe it.

The weather messed with us for awhile and we finally decided to pack it up and head home. The gorgeous scenery that was veiled in darkness the night before would now accompany us home underneath some puffy clouds and blanketed in soft light. The trip didn’t go exactly as planned, but what trips do? Just another wild adventure with the fam.

About The Author

Chinese Boy

The ringleader at OSF, Nathan likes well-proportioned fish, moonlit walks by the river, and stripping streamers through dark lies on the dreariest of days. View full bio.