The blustery scene and biting, below-zero temperatures just now outside stand in stark, nasty contrast to the days last spring, when this body of work was created, and though I’m only separated from those Arctic-legit conditions by mere feet, the confines of my office stand as a warm, sound and cozy outpost in this barren tundra of Caledonia, NY.
Seeing the calendar reminder for tomorrow’s scouting mission at Seneca Park Zoo, in Rochester, NY, was the little kick that I needed this afternoon to begin sharing some of the past year’s work in a series of blog posts that have been stacking up for quite some time, now. So, let’s begin.
I’m pretty certain this will be my shortest-ever blog post, but that’s alright. I felt compelled, proud, and excited enough to take a few minutes and get it out before beginning to pack for a “work” trip to St. Lucia. The sun-block and flip-flops can wait for a little bit.
September has long passed. The seven-degree air and new-fallen snow on the boughs of the backyard fir trees seems so far removed from the dry heat of the desert canyons we camped in just a few months ago. Those canyon-river days are just below the surface, though, and if I close my eyes against the winter scene outside, I can be back there in just a few short moments.
This post has been a long time in the works. Not the mere writing of it, really, but the getting-into-place of the “necessaries” that all combine to make the post even possible.
We had truly been smiled upon these past eight days. Someone up there must really, really like us. I can’t explain it otherwise. I closed my eyes and turned my face to the sky, soaking it all in once more, taking one long breath. The water here was slow and slick. Only the warm breeze of the afternoon made its surface imperfect. And yet, still incredibly perfect. I turned back around to look at that one lone tree, half a mile off on the plain.
Neither Matt nor I were moving very quickly this morning. It actually felt pretty nice not to have to be geared-up before sunrise, hustling out of the hotel with camera bags and peanut-butter toast. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, got the room all squared away, loaded the Highlander and checked out of the hotel. Our drive to Idaho Falls would take about four hours. On the other end of it, we’d be meeting up with Colby Hackbarth of Kast Gear, and fishing with him on the South Fork of the Snake River.
It’s amazing how new events and re-adjusted priorities in the day-to-day routine can put an abrupt halt to the enjoyable process of writing and sharing stories and photographs right here.
The morning of September 3 saw Matt and I all geared up and standing in front of the hotel in a state of bleary-eyed readiness when Rebecca pulled in to pick us up. We were a man down today.
I never suspected that I would have found myself flyfishing for trout in what struck me as such a harsh climate and unlikely location on the map. I am, quite frankly, still in amazement that those fish not only exist among that landscape, but seem to flourish. Brown trout.