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July 9, 2004, Old Main Gallery, Bozeman, MT. Here is a small selection.
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Gallatin Storm
In November when the weather's bad, driving the Gallatin Canyon north of Yellowstone Park can be no fun at all. You're convinced there's a careening semi around every blind corner. It's a good idea to pull off, take a nap, then watch the storm move through.
Near Cameron
It takes 90 minutes to get from our house at Varney Bridge in Montana's Madison Valley to the Harriman Ranch in Idaho.
(Fishing.) Early one September morning it took me three hours when I spotted a landscape near Cameron that I couldn't take my eyes off.
Park Dawn
If you’re lucky, there are places you go back to. Memories. Cribbage on the bank. Talks in the tent with Frank. Elk steaks by Neal. Garden pesto one night. A trip with Rob and a big rainbow that takes an ant, freaks out, then does a tarpon imitation, landing right on the bank. Tobey's ashes are a few meanders downstream.
Off the Bridge
A morning walk to the bridge and I could see no trout. A head-gate had been replaced upstream and the creek was off color. I was convinced that whatever trout the herons and otters had left, the silt had taken care of. But I’m wrong. Next morning there’s a PMD hatch on the creek, and from the same spot I count 27 trout moving from cover to take nymphs, rising from the gravel to sip adults. It’s a new day.
Above Pony
There’s a town I like called Pony. It’s not far but it’s off the stretch to fishing and visiting friends and family, so I don’t get there often. Last summer I made the trip. It’s a great little town with old brick buildings and green lawns and Main Street that turns into gravel and heads way, way into the hills where you might see moose in the beaver ponds or a fishing guide fly casting in the middle of a field with two elderly clients watching or, farther on, a mysterious stand of spruce along the road. You stop, back up, and take another look.
Buhler Valley, New Zealand
It’s early morning. Tobey and I leave his home on the Mangles and Blackwater and are driving upriver in the Buhler Valley on New Zealand’s South Island going fishing. The Valley is indescribably beautiful. I say Tobey, I’ve just got to stop and take a photo. When I get back in the car, Tobey, who's now in a wheelchair and half a year from death, says Davey, we need to do that more often. I say What? And he says Slow down. We're always trying to get to the next river.
The Meadow
Last spring there were three nests near our home in Montana. Great horned owls down the road, osprey out the window to the west, and, off the deck toward the river, bald eagles. For a week we watched the adult eagles on the new nest in the big cottonwood. One morning a car stops at the edge of the meadow, a guy gets out, slips through the barbed wire, runs 150 yards to the tree and stands under the nest shooting a roll of film. The eagles left and we never saw them again.
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