Rocky Mountain Expedition I 2020 Update 3

Today the Rocky Mountain Expedition I finished their second backcountry, and it was even better than the first! It started off with a hike into RMNP near Grand Lake to get to our first campsite, which was about 6 miles from the trailhead. We also stopped on our way at a place aptly called“Big Pool”, that offered spectacular fishing as well as a great swimming hole to cool off in. Upon arriving at our campsite we were able to fish for a few more hours before devouring a much deserved dinner of Backcountry Burritos.


On the second day we went for a day hike to a place named “The Wonderland”, which involved hiking a mile straight up to a high alpine lake and meandering stream. This drainage is full of native Cutthroat trout and all of the campers caught their fair share. Compared to the year before, this entire area seemed to be fishing better and that got everybody very excited for the days to come. That night we enjoyed Chili Mac and our signature dessert of No Bake Cheesecake.


The third day was by far the most exciting. We hiked from our campsite at about 9000 ft all the way up to 11,500 ft in just a few miles. We went on this adventure in order to reach a lake that we knew held large Cutthroats. The hike was well worth it because when we got there the fishing was incredible. Everybody started catching fish and some of the campers caught 20-30 fish in just a couple of hours. After waiting out a small hail storm, we bushwhacked our way back through swarms of mosquitoes and made it back to camp with a story of the most epic fly-fishing most of us had ever witnessed. 


Following our big day, most of the group was feeling extremely exhausted and content with the fishing, so we spent most of the day fishing near our campsite and eating what we had left in our bear cans. We made a nice campfire and enjoyed a scrumptious dinner of Ramen Bombs, which consists of ramen noodles mixed with instant mashed potatoes. This meal surprised everybody at how good it tasted, and those that had summer sausage and cheese left added that to their dish. 


The next morning we hiked out and made our way to Grand Lake, CO where we got some much deserved scoops of ice cream. Then we checked in to our campsite and headed back to Granby, CO for showers and laundry. We treated ourselves to a nice pizza dinner with a Caesar salad on the side. Next up we are heading to Kremmling, CO to do our service project and fish the mighty Colorado River. We will get to fish the river on our own for two days before spending a full day with the guides of Cutthroat Anglers for a float to end this wonderful trip. Wish us luck!


Jack, Remi, and the crew


Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions was started in 2010 as a graduate thesis for my Master's Degree in Environmental Conservation Education at NYU. The operating premise was simple - by coupling amazing wilderness fly fishing camps for teens with environmental education and service learning we can help inspire future generations of fly fishing conservationists. We have been growing our unique list of trips and experiences ever since.

When it comes to choosing a summer program for your teen the options are endless. For the teen who loves to fish, be outside, and has a strong sense of adventure we have made the choice easy. We are the leader in teen fly fishing adventures and are dedicated to providing the best backcountry fly fishing experience with opportunities for teens to engage in leadership training, community service, and backcountry camping.


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Will Lillard, Founder/Director/Guide

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Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions
2540 King Road
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

(828) 577-8204