Chris Hunt's blog

The end of dispersed camping?

An increasing number of campers are trashing dispersed camping sites around the country
Dispersed camping in the Cocoino National Forest (photo: USFS).

I love to camp. I love to camp almost as much as I love to fish. Being outside, far from city lights and city traffic, is soul-building. Dropping the jacks on my little camper overlooking a stretch of fishy water and spending a week away from computer screens, cell phone signals and the damn lawn mower is how I recharge.


When you've traveled to fish, you endure
Patterns in the sand on South Padre Island in Texas (photo: John W. Schulze / cc2.0)

As we strung up the rods beneath the shelter of the rental car's hatchback, I could feel the reluctance on Todd's part. It was palpable.

We left a perfectly good hotel room stocked with rum and beer and the balcony view of the pool for this? They even had a never-ending supply of bacon on the breakfast buffet.”

This, as it turned out, was wind. Well, wind might not be entirely accurate. Not exactly, anyway.

A great personality

The fishing is always better on another river
Casting to native westslope cutthroat trout on a river with great personality (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Several years back, my buddy Mark Taylor hosted a group of friends for a smallmouth trip out of Roanoke, Va. — we were all in town for the annual Outdoor Writers Association of America conference, and Mark worked hard to get a group of friends together to do some fishing before the conference began.

An empty nest

And just like that, he's gone
Photo: Chris Hunt

And just like that, he’s gone.

I remember when Cameron sprung himself onto the world on a brutally windy Idaho day in 2002 — he was sliced from his mom’s belly during a planned C-section delivery, and emerged with a surly attitude and full bladder. As the doctor held him up and showed him around, he peed on the scrubs of every surgical attendant at the operating table amid a round of laughter.

Memorial Day: Count on snow

The weather will eventually cooperate
Casting to risers on the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park (photo: Chad Shmukler).

If you’re like me, you’ve become attached at the hip to the weather app on your phone, particularly when it comes to your fishing.

It’s a love-hate thing, honestly. The 10-day extended forecast, whether I’d like to admit it or not, is usually spot on this time of year. Spring on the fringes of Yellowstone National Park could be aptly renamed “winter, part II.” There’s some suspense, of course, and, as the rivers in the park open to fishing the Saturday before Memorial Day, that day gets a lot of looks on the phone well ahead of the actual date.

Despite winter, we fish

Undeterred by the frozen toes, numb feet and the stinging wind, we make our way to the water
Photo: NPS

Cold fingers sting back to life, pressed firmly against the vent as warm air, fresh from the engine block, puffs on pink digits. The heat reawakens icy toes, and what was numb is now just painful.

I gobble a sandwich. Cameron is lost in his phone. We don't speak. Not because there’s nothing to say. Our faces are frozen.

It's the wind, really. It's not terribly frigid out there, on the other side of the glass. But with a steady gale blowing up from the south and armed with a cleaver's edge, it feels cold. Bone cold.

Paying it forward for summer

Winter's short, dark days and icy weather are an investment in new seasons to come
Photo: Whitney Kamman

This first week of winter offers hope here on the slopes of the Caribous. The shortest day of the year is behind us and between now and late June, we’re graced with a little more light each day.

We’re not necessarily graced with more sun. Winter is cold and gray … almost sepia. The sun doesn’t really shame the remnants of the Northwest cloud cover until April, sometimes May. The calendar may claim differently, but winter is our longest season.

The old lady

Other fishing buddies have come and gone, but Phoebe has always been there
Surveying the kingdom (photo: Chris Hunt).

There’s a lot of white on that black muzzle these days. Flecks of canine wisdom. I never thought Phoebe would get old, but then, I had a hard time imagining me getting old right along with her.

Several months back, she stopped trying to jump into the truck. It was just too much. Now, she just lifts her front paws onto the seat, turns around and looks at me expectantly and seems to ask, “Hey, bud. You mind getting the caboose?”

The autumn swindle

There’s no such thing as dependability when it comes to seasons
Photo: Chad Shmukler

It got so cold so early this year that our aspens and cottonwoods didn’t really turn. Their leaves simply froze in place when the mercury dipped below zero in early October, and they’ve spent the last six weeks or so drying into sickly, gray, paper-thin ghosts and falling without ceremony to the ground.

Season theft. We were robbed of one of the best parts of fall.


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