I have not made a post for quite some time, mostly because I only recently gained the ability in my hand to actually type on a keyboard again. In early October I injured my wrist, cutting tendons and arteries. I received emergency surgery the next day in Butte to put it all back together. The surgery was not completely successful, I have still lost the ability to grasp with my thumb, but the rest of the hand is coming along well and I am gaining strength again.
This is all going down while Lia and I are trying to move all of our belongings into the new house that we bought in Wise River, MT. We are really excited to be out of the fly shop and into a beautiful home. I will miss the diesel engines left running just outside my bedroom window at 4 in the morning, the kids smoking pot in our parking lot waiting for the school bus in the morning, and all of the telemarketers that love to call the shop at all hours of the day and night. Even with all the chaos involved, Lia and I will be chalking the shop living up to a really wonderful learning experience, learning that living at your business can be stressful!
One of the worst things about injuring yourself in the fall is missing our coveted hunting seasons. I only made it out to shoot birds 2 times before the incident and it happened 1 week before hunting season opened. Lia and I have been lucky enough to put at least on elk in the freezer for the past 5 years, helping with the food costs over the winter. This year I was only able to get out twice without any luck. I was there for emotional support more than the actual hunting, it was a pain in the ass just to carry the rifle around, much less help with the real work. I did however, make it out on one of our float hunting adventures with Brian, the chef from the Silver Bow Club, and Lia. The trip was great/cold and we ended up shooting two nice whitetail bucks. Something is better than nothing!
The closing of the fly shop was marked by another great Rocky Horror show in Missoula, put on and directed by the all talented Reverend Reid Reimers. We decided that it was best to close the shop the day before the show to avoid having to work with the consistently most brutal hangover of the year. We got dressed up, put our wigs on and enjoyed the Great Divide Outfitters box seats again, marking the end of our 4th season of business. Even our great buddy John Fetter was there for the festivities!
Thanksgiving was fantastic. Mary Jones was finally able to bring the family together at my parents house near Phillipsburg for the first time since her fight with cancer. I got to see a long lost cousin, eat a pile of food with my parents, and watch football with the old man. The next week we hosted our first annual Friendsgiving. It was intended to be a small gathering for the folks in the valley that did not or could not leave the valley, but ended up being a gathering of awesome folks and yet another brutal hangover. The dogs had a blast as well as they got into the leftovers and ate an entire turkey…hound dogs are evil.
Fast forward to today. We have put a wood stove in the new house which is working fantastic and keeping the propane bill at bay for now. The snow has been scarce but we have already seen temps of -18 here in the valley. I have been getting out to chase ducks with Lia a couple times this week and the hunting has been fantastic, the clouds of birds are making for great hunting and full bellies, it must be a real bitch to be delicious!
Yesterday was the first day the I attempted to row the boat since my accident. The oars felt great and the rowing was much easier than I ever could have imagined. The therapy has paid off it appears, at least I can row a boat. I have yet to cast a fly rod or tie/untie the knots that actually are the heart and soul of guiding, but that will step will be taken in the Bahamas!
Al left for the south the first week of December and has been preparing for another great year on Andros. The bookings were a little light this year but that means I get to fish with Al and Lia more, plus the slew of friends that are going to be visiting us over the 2 months we are there, including the elusive John Walker Fetter!
Fishing report: the river is frozen…catch a buzz…cheers!