Somewhere along the way events occur and you find yourself in a unique situation with the time and place of the event. On this leg of the trip a few of those milestones have occurred, a lot of great people were engaged, and marvelous fishing has happened.
Let’s start with a couple of the easy ones to get through. As most of you know, the Bus is a 1994 Dodge B350 Wagon with the larger 6 liter engine, tow package and auto-everything in it. The rig has been a great place to have a mobile platform for a variety of reasons, and during the stretch between Island Park and Felt en route to Jackson it reached a milestone.
It broke the 70k mile mark on th engine. Now for those of you who know mechanical things, you can understand that this basically means that the engine is pretty much broke in at this point. Which for a 1994 vehicle means that things are just getting good for it moving forward. While I have had to do a couple things like replace the fuel and water pumps, this milestone mechanically is a great place to have a fundamental understanding of whether or not it might be capable of doing more and more in the future.
I think it can, and I hope it continue to outperform the expectations I have for it and for the future travels it will get to enjoy.
After a good night’s sleep on the side of the road near Felt, Idaho – I got on the road and started to head down to a meet up with Dwayne Meadows of TU National. Dwayne has been working hard on the Bristol Bay/No Pebble Mine campaigns for years and recently moved over to the Wild Steelheaders United program for them.
Having also Mik Tripp in the area for the meeting we decided to rally up at the Teton River to scope out what that might be fishing and how well since the latest reports from the Henry’s Fork were a little light on the overall experience and hatch. We would soon discover that this was the best decision we could have made for the day.
Pulling into the take out, we saw rising fish everywhere upstream and downstream of the takeout. Without missing a beat, I grabbed the already rigged rod out of the back of the bus and threw a March Brown out into the seam a couple times to test the waters and figure out the hatch. I didn’t stop to put on waders, the weather was coming in, and I didn’t care – rising fish need attention!! Within 2-3 casts the first of way too many fish was on the line and both Mike and Dwayne decided to get their waders on.
I paused for a while to get my waders and jacket on and we fished the Teton for many hours that day. Never once did we get the raft put together to float the water. We just waded and talked about the myriad of issues we are all working on collaboratively regarding Steelhead in the PNW. The Crooked River Steelhead site I built has a lot of good information on that project, and there is a lot of work that will be done to create a brighter future for the community and steelhead in that system.
With the gear stowed away and after countless hybrid CutBows, Rainbows, and Cutties of all sizes, we decided that we were getting a little “Hangry” so off to Driggs and The Royal Wolf for what promised to be some good food and beer. Traditional pub food, and a great selection of local and regional beers comes through this off-the-beaten-path location. Highly recommend the “Roast Beast” sandwich there.
This magnificent sandwich is described as:
WASABI ROAST BEEF CLUB roast beef, bacon, wasabi sour cream, pickled ginger, lettuce, tomato, and red onion served on a toasted ciabatta roll. Is your mouth watering yet like mine was? Yes, it is as good as it sounds – and again If you’re getting a little “Hangry” a Roast Beast sandwich will never let you down.
The local flavors of beer are quite varied alongside the traditional offerings. There is a pretty large space with pool tables and other bar games there, and the full bar is almost as nice as the employees who were very attentive and willing to sit down and share some stories with us.
Fueled up and ready to head to Jackson!!!
Realizing I haven’t been doing much of the “selfie”thing and also having Dwayne leading the way and reminding me to stop and do that – we paused at the top of Teton Pass on our way into Wilson where I would be parking the bus for a few days to grab this picture. I can’t quite describe what my first experience of driving this 10% Grade was like other that advise you to get into 2nd gear and leave it there for the entire rider. Pucker factor high for your brakes – no joke.
With signage every so often reminding you that wildlife and Moose are in the area along with Bear is a staple of this region. You never know when you might have an encounter with any of the large animals in the areas out here. So far, my only big animal has been the horses and cattle on the Linn Family Farm in the Wilson area. I cannot thank Dwayne, his lovely wife, and their amazing family enough for allowing me to post-up on the property while I am in the area.
Their family has been in these valleys & mountains for multiple generations. Given more time I would love to hear more about the history they have witnessed and taken part in for so long. It is amazing to me to hear from Dwayne about all the places where this family has and how even to this day they make this beautiful place home.
So there we are in one of the most beautiful properties near the Snake River, and I get a text from Derek Young of Emerging River Guide Service operating out of the Yakima Valley. He let’s me know that he is camping just down the road at a local campground and it turns out it is about 2000 feet from where I am standing. Dwayne and Dannyboy lead the way as we head through the property and across some pasture land where Danny’s instinct kicks in for herding and he is on full alert for th cattle.
He’s never done this before, and it was truly funny to see him get into it as much as he did. I have often wondered what it would have been like had I trained him for this, but with his bad leg – it’s probably better that I haven’t.
We made our way from the campground back to the Linn property to assess where the nights action was. After So after meeting up with some of the local and regional TU leaders for an informal no-host bar event at Snow King, we ended up down at the local watering hole for a few and made it an early night for the next days rounds of meetings. I can’t wait to start writing the details down for all of you regarding these meeting, so stay tuned for some really good stuff to come!!