Ponderosa CampsiteNature is truly the best landscaper I know. On our last day on the river, I took a moment to take in my surroundings. Our campsite sported Ponderosa Pines, the scent of the sun on the granitic soil, colomia and white syringa flowers, the high, thin whistle of Cedar Waxwings and views of the bent-winged, white-bellied ospreys competing with us for fish. (Actually we are no competition.)

We covered many miles of the river looking for the best way down precipitous hillsides. Mike bounced down the banks as I calculated each step taking as much precaution as I could not to fall – ah – the difference of a decade of life.

Shelley on MFofSWe fished within sight of each so we could offer a thumbs up when seeing a tight line. On this second day, I had few tight lines – just couldn’t nail down that right combination of fly, cast, drift and set. That’s the ongoing discussion of fly-fishers – the mystery of it all – even for the most experienced. The hoppers that worked the first day didn’t seem to interest the fish on the second. Towards the end of the day, we tried out our most successful spot from the first day, but not so much – for me – this time. And, it honestly didn’t matter.

Soldier's BarThe flight back to Picabo took us to a few other landing strips. Mike wanted to show me a few other spots where we could have camped and fished and I was glad to hang out in the wilderness a little longer. The most interesting landing strip was Soldier’s bar, which is only 1000 feet long with a dogleg and a couple of bumps. I’m glad I didn’t know that going in because I may have missed the spectacular views.

I think I could have been a mountain woman.


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