Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nightly Council

Even as I peck away at the keys, my mind is already planning our next Yellowstone adventure.  The summer of 2010 carried along in a similar fashion. Hours upon hours I researched, cataloged, and read about the streams we should fish in the park.  I consulted maps, blogs, and webpages, as I figured out what types of terrestrial patterns to pack.  The compilation of data was stored in a shiny red folder and carried along to camp. Each evening, I would pull out the research and consult with the guys about our day to day adventures. We began to fondly refer to our meetings as "nightly council". While topics meandered, we always seemed to give the next day's business focused attention, and in all truth, no other meetings in my life will rank even close in enjoyment to those campfire talks.

The Old Ice Box

It was August of 2005 when my wife and I first visited Yellowstone National Park.  We camped in the northeastern section of Yellowstone for two nights at Tower Creek. It was there that I was introduced to Yellowstone flyfishing. The rough and tumble stream is where all my dreams begin. Three years later I would return to fish Tower Creek with Polla—a lifelong friend who had just scored a job in Missoula. Two years after that another high school friend, Joe, helped us to form a party of three. So, it was that Joe, Polla, and I made Tower Creek our base camp—fishing it our entire first day and saving the last hour of just about every day for a jaunt on its banks to catch the night's dinner. Ever reliable, Tower Creek never disappointed us.  In an hour we would have more than enough for supper around the fire.  Recently, I read an article entitled, "Five streams you should never drive past in the Yellowstone". I was glad to see Tower Creek on that list.  It would be here, in the same 100 meter stretch, that myself (2005), Josh (2008), and Joe (2010) would catch our first Yellowstone trout.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Year Brushes By

It's been one year since I last stepped foot into the wilderness of Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park. In August of 2010, two good friends and I enjoyed a fishing trip like no other. We fished, hiked, and spotted wildlife in the backcountry for six consecutive days. We had a few close encounters with bears—a particularly memorable one with an ornery black bear and a backcountry ranger.  The memory of the trip is still as vivid as the days I was living it.  It will always be a cherished life memory. Countless nights and days, I've conjured up the scenes we lived in those six suns.  Tower Creek. Hellroaring Creek. Cache Creek.  Perhaps, our most productive days of flyfishing were discovered on those small mountain streams.  Teaming with aggressive native cutthroat, rainbows, and brook trout rising to our terrestrials, I enjoyed those days of solitude most.  I hope to step back into the dreamworld in a year or two.

Upon our eventual reuniting of nightly council around the campfire, I am sure a return trip to Hellroaring Creek and the Black Canyon of Yellowstone will be considered.  A pleasant day hike that involves feisty fish and plenty of solitude is pretty much standard order for us, and there is plenty of it here.   We even had the opportunity to chance upon a morning herd of pronghorn, and I shall always remember the sound of their rushing hooves—like breeze over praire grass.

Of all the days of the trip, this one was completely spent afield. Venturing out in the morning dew and returning in the ruddy evening light, we were awash in satisfaction. One last look over my shoulder at the Yellowstone River—I will see her again in this beautiful valley of green and gold.