Chris Hunt's blog

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.

It's tomorrow

It’s today. But yesterday, today was tomorrow.
Photo: Chris Hunt

Son of a …

My eyes flip open. I reach for my phone and blindly swipe the screen to turn the damned alarm off. Everything is blurry. The alarm keeps blaring. I close my eyes tightly and reopen them.

The phone is upside down.

I flip it and slide the alarm bar to, “OK, already! I’m awake! Sweet mother of Christ!”

Yes. I know. Blasphemy is no way to start the day. But, seriously. It’s 6 a.m. already? Where did the night go?

Maybe I'll fish tomorrow

Mother Nature clearly has it out for me
Photo: Chad Shmukler

What the …

Is that … ?

Oh. The alarm.

I reach blindly for the phone on the nightstand. I don’t usually set an alarm, but today is different. As consciousness slowly overcomes dreamland, I have a vague memory as to why.

The Firehole. Fishing. One the last shots at it for the year.

Giving away fly rods

Parting with rods can be like parting with memories
Photo: Toby Rose Photography

My cup runneth over.

Or, rather, my fly-rod collection is embarrassingly big. I’m not braggadocious. There’s actually a bit of guilt associated with this claim. No one angler ought to have to spend 20 minutes debating which rod or rods to pack for a single outing to the river.


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