Hamilton, MT. There is a reason that cultures create pat words for moments of intense emotion. A simple, “I’m sorry” or “my deepest condolences” encapsulate the feelings into a meaningful phrase that does its best at expressing those emotions.
For me, the words that I want to write about my couple of days in Hamilton with the Casting for Recovery folks must be simple because the experience influenced and moved me in ways that I can not describe. So let’s just say, I am “profoundly grateful” for the opportunity I had to participate in a fund-raiser for women breast cancer survivors.
But, there is so much more to share about this event.
Starting with a meet and greet at the Ratcheson home in Hamilton, I met Mary Patry from New Hampshire, with whom I would fish the next day. It was one of those events where you meet people that you could talk to all night long. The home was situated on many acres with no one else in sight and was a delightful western log cabin (not the one-room style) with large stone fire places and comfortable leather furniture. Mary and I made our plans for the next day and reluctantly we went to get some sleep.
The next morning we met up with our guide, Russell Parks, from the Missoulian Angler, who had volunteered his time for the day for the cause. Several awards were to be given that evening, one of which was for the person who could keep their fly on the longest that day. Mary did really well with her girdle bug but I didn’t have any luck with my San Juan worm, so I just abandoned it after 45 minutes or so.
We had a beautiful fall day that offered us warm temperatures, beautiful colors and good fishing. Mary had only fished a few times (kind of like me a year ago) and ended up having a good day both nymph and dry fly fishing catching many whiteys and some rainbows. Russell was a great teacher and she was a quick learner. Our lunches were provided by the local Red Rooster catering shop and provided us with one of the biggest chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever seen. My family would laugh at me, because they have oftentimes recommended that I go to cookie therapy because I have no self-control when it comes to cookies.
Our day ended way too soon, but not before we had a double catch – Mary with a whitey and me with a rainbow. That’s only happened to me a handful of times. It’s always tricky for the guide who’s trying to steer the boat and release two fish at the same time, but Russell managed well.