After an exhausting week in class, four of us (led by Charlie) made the executive decision to get up early and go fishing Saturday morning. I got up at 7, packed up my things, and walked over to the dining hall to get breakfast and pack lunch. The alpenglow on the mountains was stunning.


We left promptly at 7:30 so that we could get to the lake by about 8:30, but less than a mile down the road our progress was slowed by a bison jam—probably one of the best reasons to be late.

Bison JamBison Closeup

Our drive took us through amazing shifts of landscape, from the valley floor right beneath the towering Tetons to the twisty Gros Ventre River and red-stained Gros Ventre Range to a series of gorgeous lakes. We even saw a ferruginous hawk and a freshly killed pine marten in the road. Who knew pine martens have such pale orange bellies? The one hour drive alone seemed a worthy day, but it wasn’t even 9am by the time we arrived at our destination and more adventures were to be had.

Charlie and Joe headed straight for the water with their fly rods, while Heather and I got a bit more settled with books, binoculars, journals, and tea and coffee.  Joe didn’t even take off his backpack before wading into the water to get fishing. Charlie at least put his waders on before heading forth. I got my spin rod ready to go and began fishing (away from those two crazy fishermen).

Joe hooked on to a good-sized cutthroat trout, but it got away just as he was about to net it.

The one that got away

Fortunately, he managed to land a different one. Charlie also landed several big cutthroats (though we quickly realized there were no small cutthroats in that lake).

Joe's cutthroatCharlie's cutthroat





Just when I was getting the feeling that fly-fishing was superior to spinning, I hooked on to a beefy cutthroat and landed it with a feeling of utter giddiness, especially due to the fact that it was by far the biggest fish any of us caught all day.

The biggest fish

We decided to take a lunch break and discovered a big, ripe watermelon sitting in the shade next to Charlie’s truck that some mystery people had clearly left for us. We enjoyed more than half of the watermelon with lunch. It was by far the best watermelon we’d had in a while.


After a bit more fishing (Charlie did a great job giving Heather some fly fishing lessons—she was a natural!), sketching, and soaking in the quiet scenery, we headed back home and finished the evening with a delicious dinner of cutthroat trout, salad, and local beer followed by Joe teaching Charlie how to tie his first fly and then Charlie and I collaborating on vocals, guitar, and mandolin for the musical part of the evening. A fantastic day in the outdoors with the people who live it!