Thursday, August 4, 2011

Old Friends I'd Yet to Meet

My Montana traveling companion, Sanders, made the comment recently that my decision to fly into Denver and spend four days traveling the west with him was a leap of faith on my part. Granted, I'd never met the guy and had committed myself to twenty-four hours of in-your-face car time, not to mention a couple of nights on the road in remote reaches, so the comment holds some creditablity - particularly with my wife - but I had little in the way of concern. You see, I'd been reading his blog.

Hopefully, he'd been reading mine.

One of the great joys of being a part of the outdoor blogging community is that you have the opportunity to establish contacts, even friendships, with like-minded outdoorfolk across this great nation - maybe even around the world. I've found that the vast majority of the individuals who regularly offer a piece of themselves in a fishing blog do so genuinely and without agenda. What you see is typically what you get.

Call me naive. I hope to never be proven wrong.

So, just before departing Raleigh, it was great to hear that Sanders had gotten in touch with another digital connection, the author and photographer of a blog we both follow and admire, but have never met, Russ Schnitzer of schnitzerPHOTO. Russ was going to help us with one of our itinerary's many loose ends - where to fish on a Friday afternoon in Wyoming. Even better, he was going to join us.

After a couple lunchtime brews, we three headed out of Lander in the general direction of the Wind River Indian Reservation, two million acres that are home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. At Russ' request, happily honored, I will speak no more of our destination except to say it fit perfectly my as-yet-unconfirmed impression of big sky trout water. Wide, fast riffles, tucked into colorful, windswept canyonland, under impossibly blue skies - loaded with dicey drifts and bashful browns - bashful, at least, that day.

Fishing was tough - so tough that it took Russ a full ten minutes to hang his first one.

It was harder for the visitors. I did manage to fool a single small brown, my first Wyoming trout, with a zebra midge dropped off a fat yellow humpy, but I had luck with little else. Sanders had sealed his fate with a successful bar bet on the five of clubs earlier in the day, exhausting his reserve of good fortune, so got no closer to a finned conquest than a quick breakoff due to a dodgy knot.

It was tough catchin', but easy fishin' with these two new friends and our first steps into Wyoming waters presented a promise for the upcoming trip as big as the landscape that surrounded us. Dusk chased us off the water and darkness sent us on our way - Russ back to Lander and Sanders and me forward towards Yellowstone and our next loose end.

Where were we going to stay the night?

Note: Two sets of thanks simply must be made. First, of course, is to my new friend Russ Schnitzer for his delightful company and willingness to blow a Friday afternoon fishing with us. I'm sure it was a bother. Please check out his wonderful blog, schnitzerPHOTO. You'll be glad you did. Oh, and get his take on the day here.

The second thanks goes out to the Outdoor Blogger Network for it's part in enabling and nurturing the collegial community of photographers and writers that we have come to enjoy. Through it, I have dozens of friends around the country that I'd fish with in a New York minute, sight unseen.

And I hope that a few of them would feel comfortable fishing with me as well.


e.m.b. said...

I would! And a lovely piece....I love the photos of the old friends, too...

cofisher said...

You're welcome to visit Colorado any time your heart desires...

Sanders said...

A perfect post, for the start of the journey.

and yes, I did seal my fate with a poor knot and a great bet at the bar...ha!

Clif said...

Three pictures posted, you're running the risk of someone triangulating the secret spot.

Keep it up, I can tell you are about to be thorough about this trip. I can't wait.

Mike Sepelak said...

Erin, the new/old friends are the very best part.

Howard, you can be sure I'll be back and I'll look you up. Count on it.

Sean, if only the great bet won you something besides a skunking...

Clif, thorough is not necessarily my best thing, but I'll do what I can.

deanwo said...

Excellent, Mike. If you are ever in New England, look me up.

Looking forward to the rest of the story.

Outdoor Blogger Network said...

I'm so glad we could be a little part of bringing everyone together. Love the pictures, waiting for the rest of the stories and I'm bummed I couldn't make it over.

Anonymous said...

Great post as usual Mike! I'll issue the same invitation as others, if you're ever passing though KY give me a shout.