…The new look “Colorado Rockies” looked woeful in the hot July heat. A once promising right handed reliever walked the bases loaded, only to give up a go ahead three run triple to a pinch hitting lefty that hadn’t been able to lift the bat off his shoulder, let alone lace one down the line in a clutch situation. I’ve seen enough. Taking the last big gulp of my now warm banquet beer, I remembered the days when a Coors label let you know that the beer was still cold, but that was a long time ago. I emptied out of my seat, only to wait in the aisle on my way out of the stadium, wishing I had ordered another dog and stayed put. I was frustrated enough. It is July in Colorado, and the only thing to do outside is watch less than perfect baseball. What happened to the days I used to wet wade in the Colorado River, chasing trout that used to call those waters home?The boulevard showed off foreign grasses in brilliant green as I walked back to the parking ramp where I had left my car. Stone condos lined the street, a reminder that not long ago Colorado’s population had grown to unhealthy levels, before ebbing back a bit in the last few years. It appears that the brochure’s these transplants had received from the Colorado Chamber of Commerce painted a picture of what used to be, not the reality of the new Colorado that had taken advantage of its natural beauty to print an ideal. Propaganda that brought a new crop of people to a state that was known for its mountains, rivers, and availability to outdoor recreation. I should know, it wasn’t long ago that I was one of those transplants. After all, there are only two places people from Fargo move after high school, Denver or Minneapolis. I just chose Minnesota before Colorado, but here I am.I left Denver heading north, wishing I was home. Looking west I saw a hidden glimpse of Long’s Peak, a 14er I have always wanted to hike, but have never taken the chance. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in those hills. It’s been awhile since I’ve strung a rod. Nothing against carp, but I can catch those close to home. And when the water disappeared a few years ago, it took both the trout and my desire with it. Just take a drive up a canyon road and you’ll see ghost towns created by the greed and green grasses up and down the Front Range, displacing small businesses and families that loved a state that used to give so much. A state that used to care, not wavering to the highest bidder, no matter what their environmental impact study found. It'll be fine, we need water, but not in the mountains, "they" say. Our population is growing, and Greeley owns its rights to the Colorado, and Million traded the Green River for a pipeline that does nothing more than line his pockets. But who cares now? I just miss my trout. I miss Colorado, I miss the west.It’s been a few years since Governor Hickenlooper effectively killed the Colorado River, but that’s his legacy. He chose to trade small business and the Colorado lifestyle for a few drops in the bucket. Doing nothing more than draining one of the West’s true wonders in response to a spreadsheet that warned of population growth in cities, not the impact it would have on a watershed that provides more to a state than insignificant fish. He had his chance, but listened to the wrong people. Just like many before him, and I’m sure a few after him. But that’s politics, and he wears his sponsors proudly on his sleeves. Just like a Nascar rounding the final turn as the winning advertisement. Who knew Cheerios were so fast?I pulled into the driveway, only to find two three weights in the hands of the two little Sanders boys. They were laughing, playing two swashbuckling pirates, not worried one bit that dad would mistake two fly rods for swords. I smiled, happy that my boys never got the chance to see a trout, as I try to protect them from getting hurt and the disappointment I now feel for the loss of such beauty….
See you there!