I grew up fishing the lakes, rivers and streams around Lake Tahoe. Got my first fly rod @10, the same year I received a fly tying kit for Christmas, and the year of my first backpacking trip high up into the Sierras. From this point on, nothing else mattered!
At 13 we moved to Europe, and for 3 years I fished the waterways of the "old world". Magic for my mom and I.
In my late teens we returned to the US, I left home and spent the better part of three summers backpacking and fly fishing the Marble Mountains and Trinity Alps.
At 19 I was overcome with a new passion and immersed myself into the world of rock and ice climbing, living primarily in Yosemite and the high Sierra as a climbing bum / guide for 8 years. During this time the fly rod came out only very rarely - a shame as I literally lived on the Merced or Tuolumne rivers every summer, was in Hot Creek and the Owens River weekly, drove past Crowley and a thousand other lakes and streams over and over again. All that trout water, but my eyes focused almost exclusively upward at the rock and sky and clouds...
At 25 I made a trip to Northern AZ to interview with an outdoor oriented college, quickly fell under the spell of the Grand Canyon and Utah's canyon country, and I moved here soon after. College was the excuse, but I quit school after only a year to do what I really came here for - to explore the backcountry!
Eventually, at the urging of a friend, I started a very unique adventure tour company on a budget, and it worked! So for the next 11 years I spent an average of 3 weeks per month, 8 months per year, hiking in the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce and other such places - for 11 years! But again, my fishing days during these years could be counted on one hand. I'd salivate weekly while driving along the Sevier River, while floating Lees Ferry a couple times per month (okay, I did fish the Ferry a bit), etc... I'd buy flies every trip and a license every year, but end up wetting a line only a few times per season.
It was during these "canyon years" that my explorations expanded into Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
Yet again, these trips all had a focus other than fishing. For 8 years I was consumed by another outdoor passion - mountain biking. The biking in my backyard is truly world class, and indeed, I've enjoyed the privilege of riding with - and calling "family" - truly world-class mountain bikers. It's in my soul, and this is what really took me on all those trips to CO, ID, MT, WY...
Of course I always carried a fly rod on these trips, but almost never "found the time".
All that began to change after one very special morning on the Henry's Fork a couple years ago.....
So here I am now, twenty years later, and fly fishing has finally resumed a place of central focus in my life! I've been getting out at least 3 times per week this summer and I'm going on my first fishing-only trips since I was a teen!
It seems overly poetic, but something in my soul, someplace deep in my belly, is happy unlike any other happiness I’ve felt since… I was a kid... fly fishing!