SUBMITTED AUGUST 2016
Hello Mr. Fenn,
I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to offer my sincere thanks for all the work you have put into your writings, your books, and of course for creating “The Chase.” I have admired your life story and your work from afar for a couple of years now, and just recently I traveled to the Rocky Mountains for the first time and took an end-of-summer vacation – embarking on my own chase and visiting some popular “Fenn spots.”
As a single dad of 31 from Auburn, Alabama, I do not get the opportunity to travel much. However with my young boy and girl at camps, I traveled to Montana and Wyoming for a few days to find the thrill so many others before me have.
Without going into details on my own ideas for your poem, I found myself pulled in by the majesty of Hebgen Lake and West Yellowstone. I started my adventure at Hebgen Dam, scouring the trails and the edge of the Madison River. I saw many fly fishermen, and was able to get some wonderful advice on how to break into the sport itself, something I have wanted to do for some time. Over the course of the next two days, I walked the edge of the Madison River, as well as venturing up Cabin Creek into a remote canyon. Camping right on the edge of the Madison at Campfire Lodge and Campground was a dream come true. Yet nothing prepared me for the jaw-dropping sight of rounding the bend on the Madison River and facing south along the water toward Ghost Village. It is a sight of wonder I’ll never forget. The mountains in the distance with their rock faces, the canyon with trees and lush greens, the flowers, the half-sunken cabins to the left from the great quake and flood… Amazing.
I stood on the bank of the Madison, finding myself lucky to be alone – a rare moment with no fishermen or hikers in sight – as the sun slowly set behind the mountains. I scoured around and worked my way south to Ghost Village, and eventually down to Beaver Creek over the course of many hours. A bull moose walked leisurely across the river in front of me, making it look easy to cross the small rapids in an area where even my 6’5″ frame struggled to not get swept downstream. I couldn’t wait to come back to this place again, even though I hadn’t even left yet.
As a light rainshower moved into the canyon, I worked my way back to the campground, enjoying the cold mountain rain. Perhaps I only enjoyed it because I knew fresh dry clothes awaited me moments ahead, and I was not lost somewhere up Red Canyon 🙂 A strange buzz came from my pack, and I realized my phone had been on for two days but had not beeped or rang due to lack of signal. I checked it during the brief moment of cell service and saw a message from my 7 yr old little girl:
“Daddy did you find the tresher?”
I’ve shared your story with my kids, and let them scour the photos in your books, as well as the “Tresher Map.” I chuckle as I write that. I cannot wait to go back to those mountains, and I’ve promised my little ones they can come on the next adventure with me. Perhaps we can learn to fly fish together, and create some memories that will become our own treasures.
Thank you, Forrest.
PS: I also ventured to Baker’s Hole, Madison Junction, and the Ojo Caliente geyser. Just amazing.