A side bonus of fish
This heat wave had me dreaming of cooler climates, big scenery, and the open road. Jen and I headed east for the 4th of July weekend and eventually found all three of those including a fourth element, trout, in Yellowstone National Park.
With no expectations we rolled into the park last Saturday and to our surprise it seemed rather quiet compared to past trips. Perhaps recent stories of crowded national parks or more normalcy post pandemic has kept a few folks from seeking the outdoors. I don't know, I just know we got lucky.
Rain showers and thunderstorms scattered the weekend's sightseeing and other than the fear of lightning causing a forest fire the rain was a welcomed change of pace from the extreme heat here in Spokane. The rain was intense enough to cause the Lamar River to blow out and eventually Soda Butte Creek. With just a short trip to be had, driving all over the park trying different rivers wasn't on the menu, so we made a few casts on Soda Butte and found willing cutthroat while the river was still in shape. On the way out Monday you could see the effects of the rain as the Yellowstone River was complete mud.
Despite not making many casts the animal watching was very good, probably one of our better trips. A couple early mornings and a couple lucky encounters (safe animal viewing from the vehicle with a telephoto lens FYI) provided us with sights of wolves, black bears, moose, deer, pronghorn, coyote, and of course plenty of elk.
While I've been fortunate to live a life with a number of days spent fishing, anymore I find my focus to be on trips that include great scenery, great camping, great animal viewing, and yes probably a few casts with the fly rod as well. Combine those all together and in my opinion you have a successful trip, the fish are just a side bonus.