The second half of my 52 rivers journey starts tomorrow. I’m not ready for it to be half over. The people I have met, the experiences I have had, the rivers I have seen, the fish I have caught have made this an unforgettable experience.

Shelley at MidyearIf I take a moment to look back over the last 6 months and ask myself if I would have done anything differently, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing. How often do we get to say that in our lives?

I have been asked if I could describe my favorite river, favorite guide, best story, best fish, etc. and I must say that each experience has had tremendous value. If I was forced into a corner I would have to say the following:

Favorite River – The Strawberry in Utah. This comes as a total surprise to me and everyone else who knows Rocky Mountain rivers well. The days I spent on this river were picture perfect mountain days. The fish were enormous and challenging but catchable. I was off the beaten path, dry fly fishing and felt totally in tune with my environment.

Ryan ShelleyFavorite Guide – This is a really tough question because all people we encounter have special qualities. If I had to choose one, I would say Ryan Newman who guided me while filming for the World Fishing Network. Ryan really seemed like he loved what he was doing – genuinely interested in taking care of the client, knowing his stuff and fun to be with.

Hat and FlyBest Float – Floating Cardiac Canyon on the Henry’s Fork takes the prize. The  salmon flies buzzed our ears and climbed down the collars of our shirts. Watching a trout come up to take our imitation was exhilarating. We pretty much had this section of the river to ourselves and our guide, Derek Hutton, was a skilled oarsmen and incredible professional.

Best Story – Although the story has not played out yet, I would have to say the crazy week last week at the Rio Grande with getting evacuated due to forest fires and having my computer fall out of my car although not discovering that until I got home. The fact that someone turned it in to the police along with my other technology stuff was remarkable.

Big OneBest Fish – My rainbow on the Yampa has to be my best fish. Although it wasn’t the most colorful, it was the hugest fish I’ve ever seen and it didn’t even give me a huge fight. The whole day surrounding the hook of this fish was exciting – snowing like crazy, riding a snowmobile to our destination, catching 6 or so fish bigger than 18 inches. Yep, that was a special day.

I ran across this quote from Albert Camus the other day and it goes something like this – ” Men and Women must live and create. Live life to the point of tears.”  I’m crying.

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