Today is my last day of work at the Henry’s Fork Foundation this summer. Words cannot describe the incredible ride that this summer has taken me on, nor can words describe the gratitude I feel for those who have allowed this internship to happen. I have learned so much about fisheries and natural resources, and I look forward to seeing where this new knowledge will take me.
(Yellowstone River at Hellroaring)
Since the last blog post, work has not failed to remain interesting. In addition to river ladder cleaning, water quality sampling, and creel surveys, I helped with finishing the fencing project along the Eastern side of the Ranch from the logjam to Osborne Bridge. I also attended the Watershed Council meeting and learned all about the intricate local politics involved with water management and river access. I finished my internship video project and that should be on HFF’s website any day now. Finally, I got to help with Youth on the Fly yesterday. After aiding in setup and orientation, I got to float along the river with a camera and take some video of the kids having a blast. The guides were all great and so interactive with the kids, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed every minute of fishing from Warm River to Ashton Dam.
There has not been a single day where I have counted the minutes until I can go home. Although there may have been a few days where I was itching to go fish, I have thoroughly enjoyed every day here. I have sincere pride in telling people I am an intern at the Henry’s Fork Foundation. This place is producing some awesome results that not only help the Henry’s Fork, but also help the community and the greater watershed area. I believe the Henry’s Fork Foundation to be a model of what every great community should include: a nonprofit that genuinely cares about its area’s natural resources and produces helpful research , strives to get involved with the community, and is run by people personally invested in the work.
In my free time over the last few weeks, I went to Yellowstone and spent a night along the Yellowstone River at Hellroaring. I immediately caught a fat 20 inch Cutthroat on a hopper after setting up camp, but then the fishing slowed. Although I did hook into some big fish after that, I was unable to bring them in. Nevertheless, it sure was fun to spend a night in Yellowstone.
The next weekend, I headed to Mackay, Idaho to hike Mt. Borah. I can say without a doubt that it was the hardest day hike I have ever done. Although it was a mere four miles to the summit, it was a mile straight up. After about an hour and a half of hiking straight up, we arrived at the famous Chicken-out ridge. This section of the hike is just a couple of levels away from a dangerous free climb. After summiting that mountain, you could say my interest in rock-climbing has peaked. After eight hours, we arrived safe and sound back at the trailhead with sore knees and lungs.
("Hiking" Chicken-out Ridge on Mt. Borah)
If you have been following my blog posts here, you know that this summer has been filled with adventure after adventure. Whether its backcountry camping on the weekends or fly-fishing nightly in the watershed area, I don’t think I have wasted any time in taking advantage of this summer’s opportunities. However, there still remains much unseen and undone. I leave Ashton/Island Park tomorrow, but I will be back. I will always consider the Henry’s Fork Watershed and its people a dear friend to my heart. The Appalachians back east do hold an equal place in my heart, and the Shenandoah Valley is calling my name. I will spend the next few days detouring through Glacier and Banff, but I must return for one more year of college. Rest assured though, I will find my way back, and not just for vacation.
I want to send the deepest gratitude to those who have made this possible for me. Among others, I would like to thank Al and Gail Knight, Washington and Lee University, and the Henry’s Fork Foundation. I have heard so much this summer about how this internship has impacted the lives of countless W&L grads before me and I am happy to join those ranks.