Back Issue Content: 1999

Yellowstone Park

Anyone who's ever spent a season working in a national park will relate to Fong's heartfelt recollections. And for anyone considering it, this story helps illustrate how hard it can sometimes be to re-enter the real world. From the second issue of The Drake, Fong reminds us that fiction often speaks the greater truth.

The sun is high overhead as I step out of the trees, drop my pack and flop down on the grass, watching the wind send long ripples across the lake. Bear, my grey-muzzled companion, quenches his thirst in the cool water We've been hiking all day and while my legs and lungs feel the mileage, the thick pine canopy shielded me from the intense summer sun during the hike from the trailhead. Exposed now to its golden warmth, I feel languid and dreamy. We have all weekend to fish, I think to myself, as I close my eyes and drift off. I awake to see that Bear has started fishing without me. He is stalking the shallows, ears perked forward, his head snapping left and right as slick cutthroats dart away at his approach. I can t help but smile. This is exactly why we hiked for five hours, climbing 4,000 feet, to fish this remote alpine lake. Nobody's here to complain about him spooking the fish.

The second time I met R. L. Winston's Bamboo Guru, Glenn Brackett, he was in the Twin Bridges Post Office. It was my first week in town and I was hot to get a few letters off with the new postmark. I walked in past Glenn and a couple of ranchers who were leaning up against the window in the small lobby, and stood behind a woman who was trying to ship a vacuum. Hoping Glenn would recognize me, I turned around and said, "Hey."

Okay, that's it!

The second cartop-to-windshield avalanche at a stop sign is a strong signal: Ditch Jackson winter for somewhere that mosquitoes, sunscreen and T-shirts outnumber gloves, parkas and plug-in car heaters. Evacuation by car is the answer. Unfortunately my ol' gear room isn't primed for fast winter getaways. I figure at least two "rigging days" before departure. Let's see what the fly rod corner portends. Ahhh, here's what I'm looking for, a nice, powerful 9 weight. Graphite? Naturally. Nine-feet? Of course. I'll just wind a fresh intermediate line on a spare spool, throw in a weight forward floater and a 200-grain Teeny fast sinking head and I'm ready for anything.