From Rivers to Mountains

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted here, but after another amazing trip out west I had to share about my adventures. Wendell, Ethan, Marshall and I spent two weeks throughout Montana and Wyoming. Hopefully these 21 photos give you a little snapshot of the awesome journey we had.

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Early in the trip we fished the Deerborn River in Montana, a stream of crystal clear water that flows through several deep canyons. The clear water made it tricky to fool the fish, but we all landed several wild cutthroat trout.
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The Deerborn had some incredible scenes and rock formations. We took a long break at this spot before heading upriver towards an evening thunderstorm.
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We also made sure to fish the North Fork of the Blackfoot. The day was cold and unrelenting, similar to our fishing. But we fought hard and hooked into some fat Cutts and Bulls.
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After driving Southeast several hours we made it into Idaho where we fished the Warm River Canyon. A hot day was followed by a pleasant evening. The luscious valley was the perfect antidote after a stormy Montana the day before.
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Part II: The next day we booked it to Pinedale, Wyoming where we began our backpacking trip into the Wind River Range. Here is a view from our campsite at the Trailhead with warm evening views of Squaretop Mountain. In the morning we woke with frost on our sleeping bags.
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The crew ready to start backpacking! Our plans were to target some unique fishing opportunities and attempt a summit of Gannett Peak, Wyoming’s tallest mountain.
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The first leg of our trip wandered by the Green River Lakes. Beautiful turquoise water was created from glacial silt.
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After a night spent along the Green River and sub-par river fishing, we headed up Tourist Creek. The valley was steep and littered with fields of large boulders. Hiking with our heavy packs was brutal, but after several miles we made it to a small oasis at around 10,000 feet elevation.
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The bright moon illuminated our campsite amidst some towering peaks.
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We spent a day adventuring up the valley where wildflowers were in full bloom and bundles of Black Rosy Finches sang. We hiked up to a large alpine lake where a frigid swim topped off our day.
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On the next day our sights were set on Gannett Peak. We traversed across the rocky alpine landscape for about four miles. It was rugged terrain, with loose rock and boulder fields. The sun’s warm rays over this lake was the only calm thing.
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Eventually Gannett came into view. It loomed over us with feelings of doubt and fear. But we pressed onward.
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After about four hours of hiking we arrived at the base of Gannett. From here we had the hardest 3000 vertical feet to go.
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Crampons and spikes allowed us to easily scale our way up Minor Glacier. Ethan is working his way across towards the summit.
Up Minor Glacier I go! Photo by Ethan Miller
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The glacier led us to this steep rocky section. It was slow going to ensure that we didn’t fall on loose rock.
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This was the scariest section. A steep finger of snow cut through our route and there was no detour. We carefully worked our way across without any missed steps.
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Upon reaching the ridge, we were at our last section: a couple pitches of class 4-5 climbing. It was intense but doable. After making it over the ridge we only had a couple hundred yards to the summit!
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We made it! The Gannett summit at 13,804 feet. What a journey! Looking Southeast towards several other large peaks and glaciers.
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At the summit! Photo by Ethan Miller
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Looking north along the ridge. No slipping now!

After a break at the summit, we began the descent. It was easier than expected and after about 2 hours we were down off the glacier and happy to be on flat ground. We made it back to camp at 7:30….12.5 hours of hiking and climbing. We had one more day in the wilderness before beginning our long drive back east. It’s hard to truly capture the beauty of Montana and Wyoming, but I hope you enjoyed the photos!

 

A Missouri River Weekend

With the semester drawing to a close, fishing has taken the back burner. Instead of being able to enjoy these warm spring evenings on the water, I now have to finish projects, write reports, and study for exams. Not my idea of enjoyment, but it needs to be done. Do not think however that I did not make time for one last fishing trip! For some time now, my fishing buddies and I have wanted to fish the fabled waters of the Missouri River. It was decided that Sunday, May 3rd would be the big day. With the flies tied and the car packed, we hit the road Saturday afternoon around 4. After two and a half hours of driving and a few stops along the way, we arrived at our campsite and pitched our tent.

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You cannot go camping without a campfire!

After a solid meal of chili and tortillas (they ate cold hot dogs), we sat around camp and talked of the past and future fishing adventures.

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Dreaming of the fish to come!

We then turned in for the night, all knowing sleep would be a long time in coming. Finally after a fitful night of rest, the day came and we busted out of camp around 7:30 AM. Fifteen minutes later we arrived at the river and wadered up (put on waders). We hiked for about 20 min and then began fishing. Cody was the first one to hook up for the day and landed a beautiful 17 inch rainbow trout.

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Billy watches from afar as Cody nets his fish.
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Cody was incredibly proud that he beat me to the first fish of the day!

The fishing continued on, but we could not hook up with any more fish. Finally after about an hour I caught and released my first fish for the day, a nice fat 16 inch rainbow. We fished downstream for about and hour and a half and then I hooked up with what would later be the biggest trout of my life. I let my line drift downstream, when my indicator dipped i set the hook and watched a giant rainbow roll over. After minutes of fighting I landed my biggest wild trout to date, a 22 inch wild rainbow trout.

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The stunning 22 inch rainbow, a fish I will never forget.

After that fish I did not really care what happened for the rest of the day.

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Scouting for rising fish.

The rest of the morning was rather uneventful and the fish were few and far between. Early afternoon found us downriver about 2 and a half miles from are car, so we decided so slow down the pace and fish one spot for a while. Cody caught his first fish on a dry fly and was happy to finally learn the beauty of dry fly fishing. Nymphing the shallows hooked me up with another large fish, a 20 inch rainbow.

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The mighty Missouri River below Hauser Dam.

At about 5 we turned around and headed back upriver to return to our car. Cody and Billy headed to the car, but I decided to fish one more small stretch before breaking down the rod. I managed to catch two more trout, one of which reached 21 inches on my tape measure. What a way to end the day. I returned to the car with a smile plastered to my face, proud to have caught 3 of my biggest trout in one day. It was a great trip and one that will be long talked about. Hopefully it will get me through the next two weeks before I return home. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment!

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Spring has come to Missoula!

One last picture of Missoula, before I end this post.

 

West Virginia Weekend

This past weekend four of my college friends and I journeyed into the forests of West Virginia. We were fortunate enough to be able to stay at the Reed Cabin, located in Canaan Valley near Davis, West Virginia. After arriving late Friday night, we awoke to a pancake breakfast and a wonderful sunny day which we spent exploring several local areas. Lindy Point in Blackwater Fall State Park offered an amazing view into the gorge. The mountainsides had a faint reddish glow as the trees showed their first signs of budding.

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“Summer”, my good ‘ole Honda made it to the Cabin and back, despite some minor difficulties on the way home
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Guest Starring: Allison Reed, Tyler Copeland, Savannah Parson, Jack Bogle
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Pancakes were on point thanks to master chef Savannah
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Hiking trails in Blackwater Falls State Park
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The valley view from Lindy Point.
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It’s not a blog post by Gordon without a sandal shot…
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And some macro…

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Pit-stop in Davis for some thrift shopping

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In the afternoon we chilled back at the cabin and cooked up some burgers and home-made fries. With renewed energy we went up to the Dolly Sods Wilderness to watch the sunset and enjoy s’mores. It was a perfect end to a perfect day! We enjoyed the hot tub at night and explored more on Sunday. To sum it up, it was a fantastic weekend in West Virginia!! A big THANK YOU goes out to Allison and the Reed family for allowing us to stay at their cabin!!!

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The Cabin
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A nice change from college cafeteria food

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The Ghosts of Dolly Sods
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Click for a larger view of this killer view
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Fun with fire painting