We hiked through scorched earth. Tall pines lying like skeletons bleached by the sun. A chosen few still standing. Trunks blackened and scarred. Survivors of a wildfire.
Young trees took advantage. Soaking up the abundant sunlight in the absence of their fallen parents. Nature’s viciously beautiful cycles were racking my brain. Until Reeves pulled up with a limp.
I’m not really sure what happened. He was fine one minute and on the ground the next. Holding his leg and wincing in pain. We were miles from the truck and my plan of landing a grayling on a fly were suddenly not so important. I found a walking stick and helped him to his feet. I turned back up the trail, toward the parking lot.
Reeves kept going. Determined to fish Grebe Lake. He pushed on, sucking short pained breaths. The dictionary definition of manliness.
The lake was only a few hundred yards away. We could see rising fish through the trees. I was energized.
I’ve never seen a lake so pristine. Clear, cold water. Smooth as glass. Reflecting the mountains and pines like some shot in Outdoor Life magazine. A mother duck protected her clutch while Swans, Rudies and Goldeneyes fed in the nearby shallows. I watched the divers swim underwater stopping for a moment to peck at some weeds. I stripped out enough fly line to make my first cast.
John and Reeves headed to the other side of the lake and landed some nice rainbows. I joined them just as Reeves hit the trail. He took a head start leaving John and I to soak up our final two hours of fishing for the trip. Four days of fishing in Idaho and Montana and finally here in Wyoming. I still couldn’t believe it happened. Each cast an attempt to stay forever. Like when my mom would pick me up from the fishing pond. Just one more cast. I promise. Ok. Just one more after this one.
A neon-green humpy landed my only fish of the morning. A 6” grayling. We caught up with Reeves about halfway back but he was off the path waving his arms to get our attention. John and I looked up to see a bison just yards away. He pawed the earth and raked his massive head against a small pine. We skirted the trail into the fallen pines to give him some space. A few photos and we were back on the trail to the truck.
Not an average morning of fishing for three dudes from Detroit.
Photo Credits: Some are mine. Some are B. Reeves at http://www.flickr.com/photos/apollosdad/