FISHING ATOP THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE

In the summer of 1940 at Bloomfield, NM our schedule at the C.C.C. Camp consisted of a Monday to Friday work week. Saturday and Sunday was our free time. The Camp Commander provided transportation to Farmington, NM on Saturday's for a twelve (12) hour leave. The town was a distance of fifteen (15) miles from camp. Not much recreation in town, except a movie house or a rare dance event.

I was fortunate to be a friend of the local postmaster of Bloomfield. Mr. Ernie Sategna loved to fish and invited me to many trips across the state line into the Colorado mountains. Mr. Sategna's store was combined also as a post office. Every Saturday by one O'clock, Ernie completed his duty of inserting the U.S. Mail into the many post office box slots. Then we were off in his Plymouth 1939 car to Bayfield, CO, a distance about seventy (70) miles.

In the wilderness we reached a bunk-house, not occupied and was owned by Mr. Soloman a cattleman who allowed Ernie the use of the house. Upon reaching this area we unpacked our gear, and then took advantage of the few hours remaining to fish the nearby mountain stream for speckle trout. We always managed to catch enough trout before darkness set in. An outside wood fire was made, the fish were dressed and ready for the frying pan. MAN-O-MAN I can still savor the lip smacking speckle trout! It was a treat for me!

As dusk came about, and our taste buds settled, we told stories of events that happened in our lives as we awaited the dying embers of the fire to fade. As total darkness came and the sky displaced many stars, which appeared like dancing diamonds, almost touchable in these high Colorado mountains, silence fell upon each of us, as we lay on the mountain grass, to gaze upward to the heavens above, viewing the splendor of Nature's gift to man. I am sure each one of us entertained thoughts of complete contentment and the satisfaction of being here. In a moment of fantasy, a stirring imagination possesed my senses. The stage was set for a Symphony Orchestra "tuning up" for a tonight's concert, the musician performers and their instruments as follows = The chirping of the crickets, a click of a beetle, the bass sound of the frog, the braying of a donkey in the nearby corral, the babble of the brook as it warbled down stream with a trickle and splash over occasional boulders, to echo a melody of creative sounds. Fireflies glowing in spectacular illusions, this orchestral ensemble guided by the conductor from heaven above, performing an evening concert to all mankind.

Now back to reality, we finally put out the fire with water from the nearby brook. We entered the bunk-house for our night's sleep. Sunday morning, we awoke early, made our breakfast, then set off with our fishing rods and creel baskets, to follow the mountain stream hoping to catch our limit of twenty-five (25) fish for the day. For better foot control we wore sneakers as we hopped on wet rocks, cris-crossing the stream which varied from three (3) to six (6) feet in width, the to find a small pool of water where the fish lurked. We continued walking "up-stream", sometimes for miles.

On this day of fishing we had additional company, Rudy Ferrari, a Bloomfield farmer, and Clarence Adair also a town citizen.

We covered a lot of distance when we came across a Mexican sheep herder, who informed Rudy that a virgin mountain stream was atop of a steep climb of about one (1) mile. Hardly anyone know of its existence. Except for Clarence, this trio challenged the climb, it wasn't easy, the high altitude shortened our breath, but we came over the top, and the sight of the mountain stream was before us.

I discovered from Rudy, (He was able to converse in Spanish with the sheep herder), that we were now atop the Rocky Mountain Continental Divide.

In a short amount of time our trout limit was reached, it was much easier descending the mountain as we walked toward camp. It was a special day for me to remember! To have actually crossed the Continental Divide by foot. Indeed this was a pristine area of land that man rarely set foot on. My feeling was that of an explorer - A Once In A Lifetime Adventure.

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