The Rats Nest

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'm Back From The Great Land.......

 Meg and I returned late on Monday night, and spent the day decompressing from an eventful and jam packed few days in Montana.  Our sole reason for the trip was to attend her  cousin Jaime's wedding, but we managed to parlay that into a mini vacation of sorts.  Being our first time away from our two little girls for more than a few hours, it was a little difficult for the two of us.  In true form, we were struck with a little adversity from the get go.
View Off Our Back Deck

My wife at the last minute due to a slight position change at work, had to fly to Florida on the previous Sunday, to meet me in Bozemon on Wednesday.  As the connecting flights unfolded it looked like it wasn't going to be too much of a big deal as we met in Minneapolis and managed to connect on the same flight with a decent layover allowing us to enjoy a bite to eat together.  As we worked our way to our terminal we noticed that the waiting area for our Bozemon connection was rather packed.  In short order we learned that our flight was overbooked and the airline was looking for five volunteers to defer their flight.  In return for doing so those who volunteered would receive Airline Ticket Vouchers and Meal Vouchers as the next flight to Bozemon wouldn't depart for about 10 hours.

Never ever having this offer work out for us in the past, my wife and I were torn tremendously.  After realizing that we really weren't going to miss out on anything that day, we opted for the vouchers (more on that one later).  So we spent the day in the Minneapolis airport, drinks, dinner and even a little pampering with massages at the Express spa.  It wasn't my idea of the beginning of a short vacation, but the reward was worth it.  We ended up getting into town around midnight, scooping our rental car a little cross eyed and then making the run up Bridger Canyon Road to our Bed and Breakfast at the Silver Forest Inn.

A six hour snooze later and we woke to blue bird skies and Belgian Waffles by our host Autumn.  Boy could she make a mean breakfast, as we learned that first morning that we were in for a treat every day we awoke.

After our breakfast we headed into town, grabbed some food for the road and made the trek to the northern entrance to Yellowstone Park to meet up with Meg's siblings for a day in the park.  Every trip to Montana for me prior to this excursion was always with one thing in mind and that was fishing and fishing only.  I have always wanted to explore the state and the many things aside from fishing that it had to offer.  I probably could have done an entire post on just what we experienced that day in the park, which for all intensive purposes was merely a scratching of the surface of what the park has to offer.  One could spend a lifetime exploring the park and probably not see everything it is just that vast.  Here are a few of the things that left an a permanent mark on me and my wife, and the pictures should tell you why.
The Locals

Mammoth Springs

The Ride To Roosevelt Tower

Tower Falls

As we panned through the park from the eastern edge towards West Yellowstone, we realized that there just weren't enough hours in the day.  We pulled into Old Faithful at around 8 PM narrowly missing the geysers display by roughly five minutes.  Bummed to say the least, we knew that staying in that particular area for another 90 minutes just wasn't in the cards as we didn't want to get back to our place any later than we already were going to, we decided to take the western entrance out the park and grab something to eat in the town of West Yellowstone before the trek home.
Upper Great Falls Of The Yellowstone

Looking Down The 309 Foot Drop Of Lower Falls

Alternate View From Lower Falls

Grand Canyon Of The Yellowstone

A quick bite at a local brew pub, and we were northbound to Bozemon.  Although we left the park with all sorts of great new experiences, there was an entire side of the park that we didn't get to experience and will have to return someday to do so. We strolled into our place around 12:30 AM and slept in so to speak the next morning till about 9 AM.

Not quite sure what we were to do on our second day of the trip, we opted for a road trip towards the town of Dillon, and maybe a quick stint on the nearby Beaverhead river for some fishing as most of the rivers in the Bozemon area were running warm with the recent drought-like conditions.

We dropped in at Frontier Anglers in the town of Dillon, a place I had visited a year prior with my buddy Mike.  The owner Tim Tollett was in house as was another really hospitable fellow named Jeff who I ended up talking with and giving a handful of my bugs (big meaty stuff).  Although the sky was looking really dark, we decided to give it a go and expect the worse, hoping for the best.  I guess you could say that we were lucky, the front split in half, seeming to use the river as a an axe so to speak, with rain coming on either mountain range that flanked the river.  We got spit on a little, but managed to escape the massive front that pushed through.   At the end of our short stint, Meg managed to strike up a conversation with this nice fellow who just finished guiding.

A few moments later Graham asked us if we wanted to float and we headed out for a few more hours on the river via his Clacka.  Even though the short float didn't yield anything of note, it was cool for Meg to experience the river from the boat and we were very thankful for the opportunity.  I handed Graham a handfull of my meatier streamers and we departed exchanging business cards.  If you're in the area and in need of a guide, look up Graham Skipp, he's a salt of the earth kind of guy.
Meg At The Pipe Organ Bridge Pool

View Of The Pipe Organ Rock Formation
Meg Locked Into A Nice Brown That Got Away

Obligatory Grip n Grin

Fatty Browns...
Me On The Sticks For Our Gracious Host

The hot flies of the day were the Acetate Floss PMD Nymph, and the Micro Stone in Brown.  These two flies seemed to do the trick nicely, and accounted for all of our fish.  There were literally hundreds of PMD's and Yellow Sallies hatching and the fish were definitely keyed in.  Once again, we made it a late night returning to the room around midnight after stopping for a burrito at the Burrito Bus in Dillon (highly recommended).
A Tattered Micro Stone From The Beaverhead

Saturday was the wedding so you can guess what we had in store, it was really cool to be at a wedding that was completely different from the what I have been accustomed to.  Cowboy hats, boots and jeans, outside in the mountains around Bridger Canyon, loads of fun.

Sunday came and went rather quickly, spending some more time with family and friends before capping it off right at Montana Ale Works in the center of town.  Good beers, good eats, great atmosphere about sum up the Ale works.  When it's available, grab the Bison Tenderloin, as it is second to none.

A Double Rainbow To Send Us Off

Monday came and with it the anxiety of flying, coming back to the busy northeast and all the stuff waiting when I return to work and the bench.  The only saving grace was the excitement on Tuesday morning when Meg and I got to see our two girls for the first time in about a week.  As a result of our overbooked flight, we have come to the conclusion that around this time next year we will head back to Big Sky to see all the things that we missed.  Only difference is we plan on staying longer and bringing our two girls along for the trip.  Here are a few more photos from the trip, I'd put em all up, but 500 pictures is a bit ridiculous.

Just Some Scale Of How Big These Guys Are

Firehole River

 So Close

Old Faithful
On a final note, I have been busily tying away for those of you still waiting on flies.  I am working out about an order a day (typically), unless they are large.  Lastly for those of you that are interested, I started work on the first tutorial for my DVD project.  Let's just say although it is going slowly, it is going to be well worth the wait.  I am very pleased in the results thus far and I think those of you who do pick it up will be pleased with the product.  More to follow....
A Pair Of 6 x 6 Elk Who Crossed In Front Of Us For  Drink

Upper Yellowstone

Yellowstone Lake

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