2007 was the Northern Rockies Roadtrip, including completion of the Wyoming Cuttslam. 2008 was the Colorado Cuttslam, including a trip to the top of Mt. Elbert (2nd highest peak in the lower 48).
The 2008 trip was probably the best trip to the Rockies to date. I took a good friend to Colorado for the first time, caught all three native cutthroat species, caught my first stream grayling, my first Kokanee salmon, put my younger brother on the third and final cutthroat species, climbed my second 14er, and met rodmaker Mike Clark….quite a list!
My debate now is: do I take my younger brother to Wyoming to complete the Wyoming Cuttslam or do I swing south for the Southern Rockies Roadtrip? I don’t know if my brother will have the vacation time and I really want to add the Gila and Apache trout to my list of native species:
Greenback cutthroat (CO)
Colorado River cutthroat (WY, CO, UT)
Rio Grande cutthroat (CO)
Snake River cutthroat (WY)
Yellowstone cutthroat (WY, MT)
Bonneville cutthroat (WY)
Westslope cutthroat (ID)
Bull trout (ID)
Grayling (non-native WY, CO)
Kokanee salmon (non-native CO)
I am leaning toward the southern journey, returning to southern Colorado, then “swinging” south into New Mexico and Arizona before returning to Colorado for another 14er.
With this notion, I begin the online research for Rio Grande cutts & Gila trout in New Mexico and Gila & Apache trout in Arizona. I search state fish & game websites, blogs, and the TU CSI data.
This is what I have found to date, the New Mexico Gila trout map:
Also, a blog that gives a good bit of detail on directions, trails, etc.
Now I have the details for the Gilas of New Mexico. What about the Rio Grandes of New Mexico? For that I use the CSI information on the TU website:
With New Mexico tentatively planned, I move on to the Arizona Apache trout. First I use the Arizona Game & Fish website that lists a few public access streams:
In addition, I use a fellow native trout lover's blog. He was successful on his quest for Apache but not so successful with the Gila. I have been following his blog for a couple of years now:
As I look at the atlas, I check my route and see that from eastern Arizona I can head north into Utah and visit Arches National Park before I loop back to Colorado.
As I get closer to my trip (if I choose the southern adventure), I will make contact with the fisheries biologists, fellow bloggers, and even TU resources.
I also plan to take another day out of the trip to add another 14er to my list - how about four more. I found a loop, in the bristlecone pine area Phil and I visited earlier this year, that catches FOUR 14er peaks: