Land of the giants, central Wyoming.
The sun is starting to slip behind the canyon wall, and the shadows grow with every minute that passes. I'm walking up the bank, and Ben is walking the railroad tracks above. He calls down from the tracks - "there's a ****ing huge one about two feet off that square-looking rock." First cast? Almost lined her. Second cast? On the money.
"No-name crick," - middle-of-nowhere, Wyoming.
We set up camp right next to the river. The area is a holy ground - frequented hundreds of years ago by Indian tribes that are now long gone. The cliff wall we're sleeping next to remains a reminder, though - decorated with petroglyphs and pictographs commemorating the Indian's own adventures centuries ago. As we prepared ourselves for another night of sleeping in the dirt, I couldn't help but think that in some small way I knew exactly how they felt.
Our steaks are marinating, so we decide to hike up the creek as the light fades and fish. In this tiny little finger of water that winds through one of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever laid eyes on, I found what probably was my favorite hour of the year.
September 11th-September 13th: not as long as we would have liked.
Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming.
A long winding gravel road shows the way to the place where I spent five summers of my life. A special homecoming to an even more special place - old friends, some new faces, but still the same incredible time.
From there on, it was largely a blur - but after a careful reconstruction of events, it seems like we managed to catch more than just a buzz.
September 22ndGirard, PA.
The skies opened and dumped a long, cold, soaking rain. Rivers peaked, but by Sunday they were still up, but starting to approach fishable levels - bringing the potential and promise of the first decent steelhead fishing opportunity of the year.
To be sure - there were expectations. But for all present, the fast, furious fishing exceeded our highest hopes and wildest imaginations. At the end of the day, I opened my recently filled box, only to find it half-empty - I'd never been owned by so many steelhead in one day on the river.
Part 3 - coming soon.