Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
I received a gift of guided fly-fishing for an entire day from my father-in-law on Friday. It came at a great time, too, as I just finished reading Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It. We floated down the Snake River, just outside Grand Teton Park, in a 3 man boat while our guide, Jean, directed. The weather was perfect, the fish were biting and Jean knew everything we could possibly ask.
We started out with the basics, which really looked like fishing for rocks. My wife and I stood in the parking lot while Jean ushered us through the motions of how to fly fish. It wasn’t long before we were on the water and heading downstream. It took awhile to snag our first fish, but after that, we apparently were setting records for the season.
So we fished. And fished. And fished.
In all, I caught 9 ½ fish. The ½ comes from a fish I hooked through the tail and never ended up getting into the boat. The largest fish was approximately 18 inches, which is huge compared to the normal 8 inch trout caught in that stretch of the Snake. We also spotted 5 bald eagles during the 12 mile float. By the time we made it back to Teton Village, it was almost 9 PM. Sigh, a great day.
The fishing was memorable but Jean, our guide, was just as memorable. First of all, we are convinced she knows everything about wildlife, the Grand Teton area and pretty much anything else. We determined later that she was an entymologist, an oarsman, a gourmet chef, a naturalist, a botanist and an expert fly fisherwoman all wrapped into one. Plus, she is a Christian. And even better, a Christian that takes to heart the responsibility God gave us to care for the earth. We were amazed to watch the care and concern that Jean had for every fish we caught. She talked to them, gave them time to breathe in the water and made sure that they were only out long enough for a picture and then gently released into the river. It was a glimpse of Adam’s relationship with creation before the Fall. And it was glimpse of what Christ will restore when He returns.
To sum up our time the rest of our time in the Grand Tetons, I have one word: Moose. Unbeknownst to us, these creatures are extremely hard to find. People standing near us have searched days and weeks to find moose. We’ve seen 3 bull moose and two moose cows. All the bulls were each only about 30 feet away. They are statistically the most dangerous animal in the park, which apparently doesn’t keep some tourists with a death wish from getting within a few feet of them. Among the other animals we’ve seem are a coyote, tons of elk, a dancing pronghorn, and bison. Last night, I watched a storm come over the Tetons as the sun set. A gift from God. It was breathtaking. Lightning struck the trees in a flash of fire across the valley. A night I will not forget.