Cody Walker muses that within the stillness of Rocky Mountain National Park, "You get a sense that it's the way it should be." His father, Rex, grew up on a steady diet of cowboy films, eventually following his dream to Colorado where he met his wife, Queeda. Queeda was born into a family of homesteaders who caught and broke wild steeds. In 1959, they channeled their passion for the old-west lifestyle into Sombrero Ranches, eschewing souvenir-shop gimmicks for horseback expeditions that, much like avalanches of super glue, bond visitors with their steeds and natural surroundings.
Today, Cody carries on his parents' legacy with a staff of ranch hands from nearby homesteads and college students participating in equine-science programs all across the country. After training in a vigorous program that's evolved during more than 50 years, his employees launch short rides or lengthy adventures. Cody distinguishes the Continental Divide ride as one of the most awe-inspiring; it begins at Bear Lake at 6 a.m., wending across the Continental Divide and to Grand Lake during a nine-hour stretch.
Any Mountain's gear-grappling professionals match outdoorspeople with durable, top-brand athletic equipment and apparel for any foray into the great outdoors. The ski rental performance package adorns renters of any skill level in technologically advanced skis, boots, and poles for whizzing down slopes or slowly sliding to victory. The experienced staff assists renters with selecting gear, ensuring an excellent fit, compatibility with skill level, and removal of residual snow. Any Mountain keeps skiccessories expertly maintained and tuned for safety and high performance no matter the marshmallow content of the mountain.
Operating under the mantra that fly-fishing isn't a hobby but instead a lifestyle, St. Peter's Fly Shop prepares anglers of all experience levels for success on the stream with classes, gear, and an encyclopedic knowledge of man's gilled adversary. Two Fort Collins locations sit within close proximity of local fishing hot spots, including the waters of Rocky Mountain National Park—famous for its placid lakes made from pastels on canvas—and the Poudre River. There, the staff leads educational courses and guided trips that spend equal time with instruction and hands-on fishing practice, allowing students to perfect the often-difficult art of casting with finesse and accuracy. Back at the shop, customers reel in top-notch equipment such as Winston rods, Simms waders, and Brodin nets, which are sturdy enough to secure a bucking trout as it tries to nestle in the hammock.
According to United Airlines' Hemispheres magazine, three perfect days in Denver aren't complete without fly-fishing with Golden River Sports. Writer Rachel Sturtz was quite satisfied with her four-hour lesson, which isn't surprising, considering the the company's sterling reputation with sportsmen of all ability levels. The company's willingness to engage every clients comes from the experiences of instructors like Nick Adler, a self-taught fly fisherman who would have been grateful for guidance from a more experienced angler.
In that spirit, he and his fellow teachers offer four-part fly-fishing lessons, which begin with an introduction to fishing styles and equipment, and follow all the way through to advanced casting and how to read the water. Fly-tying clinics help out total beginners, guided trips take learning fishermen out to various creeks and rivers, and rentals allow schooled sportsmen to embark on their own adventures. An on-site store is loaded with all necessary equipment and accessories and gear for fly fishing and fly tying, including hooks, fly boxes, and a library of DVDs including fly-tying videos and each fish's favorite romantic comedy.
At The Denver Fly Shop, masters of fly-fishing's elusive art lead classroom instruction, field sessions, and guided trips with a proficient grasp on the sport's intricate ins and outs. Through classroom sessions, the crew teaches students how to tie essential knots and how to mimic the movement of insects. They also offer in-depth knowledge on locations where fish have been known to hangout and mingle with delinquent trout-school dropouts. Their casting lessons familiarize anglers with their gear during two-hour sessions that take place indoors during winter months and on the banks of Smith Lake in Washington Park when spring sets in. Once their intro lessons are complete, students can put their newfound proficiencies to the test during guided fishing trips to some of Colorado’s most abundant waterways.
There is also a comprehensive fly-fishing shop with over 3000 different fly patterns to complement fly fishers' ventures beyond their intro lessons. Guided tours are also offered to explore the area.
Fishing can be a relaxing way to spend an afternoon—even if you never catch anything—but it can be positively thrilling if you approach it armed with the gear and techniques of a pro angler. Especially from a specially designed fishing kayak. Aaron Kerchner, the titular pro of Fishin Like a Pro, has been fishing competitively for the past five years. Before founding his current endeavor, he spent a decade and a half tracking down bass for fun—and for revenge against the one that spit water at him one time as it swam away. On trips to local reservoirs where walleye, wiper, and bass swim, he inducts amateurs into his secrets, which may include selecting the right bait for extra-large specimens or working with weather conditions. For total newbies, he also leads fishing lessons from the shoreline.