Among our goals for your experience is to take you back to the ‘Fly Fishing Camp’ of your youth while still providing a culture of service and quality in line with all Broadmoor standards.
This quote comes from the marketing materials of The Broadmoor — a Forbes 5-Star, AAA 5-Diamond-ranked resort in Colorado Springs. It’s referring to one of The Broadmoor’s satellite properties, The Broadmoor Fly Fishing Camp, an Orvis-endorsed fishing lodge. (Orvis, for those who don’t know, is the OG fly fishing gear company).
Now, let’s talk about this “flying fishing camp of your youth” thing. I don’t know about you, but my parents did not send me to fly fishing camp. In fact, I didn’t get to go to camp, period. Because of this sad state of affairs, I’ve been left to daydream longingly about myself, on the bank of a wild river, holding a big trout I just caught. It’s a nice image, but has remained a distant fantasy.
Then, this spring, an opportunity to take up the sport finally presented itself when I was invited to visit the Broadmoor. I said yes immediately. It was finally time to make up for all the youthful fly fishing I was apparently supposed to have done.
Arriving at Fly Fishing Camp, deep in Colorado’s Pike National Forest (almost 9,000 feet elevation), I immediately understood the “fly fishing camp of your youth” line. This place really did feel like a summer camp in miniature (or my ideas of a summer camp).
There was a central lodge with a dining room featuring a long communal table, a living room for gathering and swapping stories in the evening, and seven petite sleeping cabins within eye or earshot of a gorgeous stream. All this, coupled with the smell of pine trees, the blissful silence, and the lack of cell phone service felt like the perfect antidote for my fried, digitally-overloaded brain and the perfect setting to fulfill my dream of pretending to be Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It (the parts where he’s happy and fly fishing more than the drunken gambling addict bits, obviously).
There was one major distinction, however, separating The Broadmoor Fly Fishing Camp from an actual summer camp — it was really nice. The meals served at the communal dining table were three courses and gourmet, the lodge living room looked like the set of a Ralph Lauren photo shoot, not the set of Camp Anawanna, and there was an open, pour-it-yourself bar with all the liquor and mixers you could want. And as for the cabins, well…
Originally a homestead, the cabins are historic and almost 100 years old. They’ve retained their original, old-timey charm and form on the outside and have been reclaimed and updated on the inside with comfy beds and wilderness-chic interior design. To note: of the seven cabins, three have ensuite bathrooms; the rest share a central, luxury bathhouse with large, private showers.
After my settling in, I was greeted by Camp Manger Scott Tarrant and the camp’s resident pup, Blue. Together they introduced me to the property, gave me a tour, and let me know that it was time to do what I came to do: learn how to fly fish.
Now that my moment had finally arrived, however, I was nervous. Over the years I’d seen too many depictions of rugged fly fishers effortlessly casting their flies with style and finesse. And all that time, I imagined trying to do the same and looking like an idiot — or worse, like a total city slicker to the pro fly fishing guide who’d be charged with teaching me. I could just see him rolling his eyes when telling other guides about my non-Pitt-like clumsiness.
So, in an effort to ease into fly fishing and sure-to-result embarrassment, and because the camp’s pre-dinner social hour was fast approaching, I decided it’d be best to forgo the afternoon fly fishing session (a 12:30pm lunch is bookended by a four-hour morning fly fishing session and a four-hour afternoon session) and start by learning about the equipment and how to cast on the camp’s open lawn with my guide Phil.
That’s right: I spent my first-day fishing on grass.