Angle for the River

"Angle for the pond itself," Henry Thoreau advises, "the hook of hooks!" Walden Pond had no silver rainbows in his day, but our beloved clear Gallatin does. And so we fish for fish, though we have the opportunity of seeing the river all the while. Because it is a green riparian corridor that canopies the summer herds in the valley and runs from a lush canyon, this favorite river is not just a fishing pleasure ground but a splendid nature retreat as well.

Love on the Rocks

Easing over a small roof, I mantle up onto an ice cream sandwich-sized ledge, some 300 feet above the Gallatin River. It's our fourth pitch, and I stand quickly, hips tight to the rock, and grasp for a small egg-sized pebble protruding from the rotten cliff face. I beg, plead with it to hold, to stay attached as it has for millennia prior. It doesn't. I accelerate, the wind whistles past my ears and I try to tell my belayer that I'm falling.

A Fly Fisherman's Infatuation

I am not a fly fisherman. Lacking a true affinity for political correctness, I am not a fly fisherwoman either. But I do like to fly-fish. It is therapy and yet it is madness, like an addiction.

The lure of the river runs through all the seasons. Winter does most to suspend the sport, but as spring thaws nature's throat, the river calls the angler until there is no option but to return to her. These bodies of water, even more than the fish within them, provoke my admiration.

Summer Under the Big Sky

I intended to mow the lawn. I really did. Not that I felt any real need to, but I’d seen someone else doing it, so I thought what the heck, I might as well do it too.

Running the Ridge

Through the fog they come, through the early morning mist: two hundred loping crusaders, steely-eyed and sweat-soaked, rushing forward like a herd of wild horses – side-stepping boulders, hurdling fallen logs, and propelling themselves, chests heaving, through the steep and rocky terrain.

Three Days, Three Rivers

The river was huge. Swollen and discolored from the previous night's rainfall, it looked like a swirling sea of chocolate milk. As I stepped into the water and felt the current against my legs, the first of what would be several visitations from the dreaded anxiety demons sent a violent shudder through my body.

"Cold?" my friend Shawn asked from inside the raft, where he was tying down the last of our gear.

Some Like it Hot

Deep in a forested canyon, on the bank of a gurgling stream, a ceaseless flow of mineral water gushes up from the bowels of the earth, into a deep, narrow pool lined with rocks and downed timber. Mingling with the icy stream, the water in the pool is a warm, inviting 105 degrees.

A Ridge Too Far

It was one of those days you might hear about at an AA meeting, the kind of 9-5 career-ending day that is the lore of many a mountain town across the Northwest. After nearly three weeks of clear skies, the clouds rolled in and dumped two feet of snow overnight. On a Wednesday.

So I did what any sane, rational, completely irresponsible ski-town resident would do. I called in sick.

A Yellowstone Winter

It’s deep winter in Yellowstone and the evening air is crisp and still. My breath hangs in the last weak rays of the sun which is setting behind the trees to the west. The crusty snow creaks under my boots. Occasionally, I break through to deep fluff and fight back to the top. I stop to listen. Absolute silence. The temperature is dropping so fast that all the forest seems to be holding its breath. I am near the road now and relish the thought of a warm car. In winter, simple pleasures become lavish delights.

Some Town Trout

On evenings when the spring thaw is going full blast, I like to sleep with the bedroom window open. Though I live just two blocks off Bozeman’s Main Street, I can hear Sourdough Creek swollen and roaring down from the Hyalites where elk are dipping for a drink, down through hay fields then subdivisions then the older tree-lined streets like my own then under the heart of the town then out to join the East Gallatin, the Gallatin, the Missouri, the Mississippi and the Gulf.

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