Just returned from Key West Writers' Workshop with Luis Alberto Urrea. It was an inspiring week. My classmates were established professionals with all kinds of hidden talent. I'm teaching nonfiction writing this semester, and watching Luis interact with students was incredible. If I can generate some of that mojo this semester, we'll have a great time.
Pheasant season came to an end this week. It seems like our after-hunt picnics have become so elaborate that something had to give. Pat set up a Kelley Kettle and made hot butter rums with spiced rum. We had a spread of imported cheeses and meats. Rocket, 16 years old, hunted most of the season, but I'm pretty sure this will be his last. He trotted along heroically. He was sore after each hunt, but he managed to pick off a couple retrieves and swim across the icy creeks a few final times.
Went out with Tom and Bill to fill some whitetail tags. It didn't work out for me, but Bill shot this little buck. The big storm blew in last night and degraded the highways and interstates to the point that none of us want to be on the roads for a few days. I'm going to catch up on my reading. Bill's busy making deer jerkey.
Fly fishing with Erik Sanders of Fly Fish Italia, I was able to catch wild brown and marble trout in ancient cities in Northern Italy. This region is breathtaking, historical, and a foodie's paradise. We ate smoked ham (spek) shaved so thin you could almost see through it. The wine is spectacular and we never stopped fishing. I boarded my flight home with my waders still wet in the bag, my arm tired from casting streamers, and the sound of tumbling water still in my ears. Shout out to our amazing guides Paolo and Matteo. Erik specializes in introducing American fly fishermen to this special region and the specialized techniques used to catch these fish.
The bull elk are bugling all over the mountain these last few days. I'm running back and forth, from town to work, and back to the hills again. I've seen some huge bull elk, but haven't been able to close the deal with my bow. Still, it's worth it just to be out there with them.
Bill and Mackenzie Mixer allowed my to tag along on their annual father/daughter hopper float. (They've been hitting the river pretty hard these last few weeks. Mackenzie, who lives in Denver, has become a no-show at most of her social events, and has been buying one-day fishing licenses for a month now.) They caught 20 a few days before we went. Our day was a bit slower, but the banter was crisp and I managed to catch the first brown trout I have caught in years. Bill comes from the school of thought where you cast as close to the bank as possible and let your fly drift along the cutbanks. He was right, just this once. The brown came out of a dark, weedy bay and smashed my fly. I even got a chance to row after boating a few fish. I tried to keep Bill out of the zone, but once, while his daughter was tangled, I allowed him to fish thirty yards of brushy banks. He connected on the fish of the day. Who knows how long this dry fly phenomenon will last? For the time being, Mackenzie is staying in Wyoming. You won't find her at Angelo's in Denver, or anywhere else. She'll be in the front of Bill's boat casting foam hoppers at the shore.
I floated from the bridge to Bessemer yesterday. The rainbows were taking hoppers like they're supposed to. It was almost perfect until a thunderstorm blew us up and ruined my GoPro. We had a bunch of takes.