I have been heading for the end of the road all my life. Thatís where we find the good stuff. As a small boy growing up in north central Missouri, my parents let me walk a block to the end of the road, cross a hay field and explore the ditch I called The Crick. Both my parents grew up on poor farms, by their nature at the end of the road, and heading to the big city always felt a little spooky in our family. We were a family that fished and hunted and all that stuff that happens after the end of the road.

When I met Mary I was a college drop-out living in Sheridan, Wyoming driving coal trains in Powder River Basin for the Burlington Northern Railroad. Mary changed everything. When we parked at a trailhead in the Big Horn Mountains, I left the road with a partner. Nothing is better.

When we both wanted to return to school, we moved to St. Paul, where getting to the end of the road took a lot of driving. But we paddled in the Boundary Waters and explored the St. Croix River when we could. When we launched our careers and had two girls we kept our noses to the grind stone and everything else for the family, the end of the road a luxury we could rarely afford.

After moving to Gunnison 22 years ago it was easy to get to the end of the road and we bought out first boat, a 16 ft Boston Whaler Dauntless. My parents spend summers in Sheridan at the time and I got to take my father fishing for salmon on Blue Mesa Reservoir. Mary and I started going to Lake Powell about 2010, dragging the Whaler for 7 hours each way and camping at the Bullfrog Campground in our tent. We retired in 2015 and replaced the 16 ft Whaler with a 21 ft North River, a boat we could camp on for a week at time. Now the end of the road is a 7 hour drive, a splash at the end of the boat ramp, and a 2 hour, 60 mile run to the end of the San Juan River arm, and throwing out the anchor off Piute Creek. More recently we added boat camped and kokanee fished at Navajo Reservoir and Flaming Gorge. I am the luckiest guy alive.

Now Iím looking at the end of that other road. Four years ago the day before Thanksgiving I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and given four to five years to live. I have been getting top rate care at Univ of Colorado Health, including chemo, and the cancer has not progressed much. But the drugs that keep the cancer from growing work well until they donít and the big gun medicine, Lupron, isnít working as well as it did in the beginning. My doc tells me Iíll be fishing next summer and we plan to be heading for the end of boat ramps again. Life is good.

My thinking is that Iíll write and post in the Off Topic Discussions forum about fishing and boating mostly, but also about living and dying. My primary care doc thinks it will be good for me and Iím pretty sure he is right. I appreciate that what I propose to do is a stretch at this Forum and that the Forum rules allow the moderators to cancel me if they think Iíve derailed my train. Wouldnít be the first time. My doc thinks I might be able to help others with health problems; lots of people get cancer but not many talk about it. Getting ready to die doesn't have to be horrible. I also know this forum in hard up for new content during the winter and that KFF people need to read about fishing.

My next post will be about our two, week long bass fishing and boat camping trips in October to Lake Powell. Later I intend to post about kokanee fishing at Blue Mesa, Navajo and Flaming Gorge. Weíll see where this road leads and if it fits on the KFF site. I know some readers will want to express sympathy, it is only natural. Maybe a good way to do that would be to go to my profile page and make me your friend. You can also leave comments for me on the profile page, especially if you think you are interested in what I plan to write or want to ask questions. There is a sign outside the Urologic Oncology Clinic at UCH that sums up my attitude, ďI donít want your pity but I may need to borrow some of your strength.Ē

Roger Hudson, aka Kokanee64
Dec 1, 2022
Gunnison, Colorado