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My sensei

Sacred things are worth protecting
Photo: Chad Shmukler

I’ve kept my ultimate goal in life simple and crystal clear. One day, I strive to become a wise old man. I haven’t a clue when that day will be but, at the very least, I expect to know when I get there. This immeasurable, intangible goal is my compass and guides my decisions as life unfolds. But wisdom doesn’t come by chance — it ‘s earned through listening, breathing deep when things get too fast, tuning in to the wind as it sweeps across the water, and trusting that there is magic in the present moment.

I’ve been lucky to have a diverse group of teachers in my life: philosophical teachings from business mentors in Colorado, environmental science professors at UNH, yoga instructors in Maine and the ever-present guidance from my loving family. I’ve been fortunate to surround myself with people that I highly respect, many which seem to move through life as if it were a rhythmic dance.

Finding Yellowstone's grayling

Hiking for grayling in one of America's trout meccas
Photo: Morgan Peirce

Cameron was just over a year old when he took his first steps in the cobble along the south shoreline of Grebe Lake in Yellowstone National Park.

My wife and I had hauled our little family down the three-and-a-half-mile trail from the Grebe Lake Trailhead between Norris and Canyon to the shores of this beautiful little backcountry lake for one simple reason.

I wanted to catch Arctic grayling.

Winter in July?

In Leadville, it doesn't matter what the calendar says
Photo: Martin Ludden

Years ago, while working in the upper Arkansas River Valley as a small-town newspaper reporter and editor, I shared layout space with a number of other local newspapers. Our papers were owned by a small chain based in Salida, and every week, editors from Buena Vista, Fairplay and Leadville would descend upon the offices in Salida to put their papers to bed, get them printed and then haul them back up the hill to their respective communities.

Back from the brink

It's going to be a great summer
Angler Chris Hunt tangles with an Ascension Bay bonefish (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Five years ago, as I gingerly walked along the gunwale of a Mexican panga while the boat sat anchored in the sand of Ascension Bay, I misjudged my footing. Had I stepped down into the boat, I would have crushed my fishing buddy’s camera gear and earned his ire for the rest of the trip … perhaps the rest of my life. He really likes his camera gear.

But I was committed. My substantial body weight was headed in that general direction. But I did have an alternative. With my left foot, I kicked out, and flopped unceremoniously into the crystal clear water of the bay.

We floated one of the rivers Pebble Mine would permanently alter and imperil

A week spent chasing grayling, char and salmon on the Koktuli, one of several rivers a mega-mine like Pebble would forever endanger
Float plane taking off from Koktuli Pond (photo: Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers Program).

Flying into the small village of Iliamna, Alaska, destined for eight days at the mercy of the flow of a wild river, faces are glued to the windows, each gawking over the magnitude of Mount Denali and struggling to put the neighboring glaciers and volcanoes into perspective. I took the opportunity to think critically.

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