The dead branch of a Fremont cottonwood 20 feet in the air, hardly looked like a comfortable place for a giant blue heron to spend a morning. But none-the-less there she was, a far more skilled fisher then us, looking out over our train of hopefuls, as we marched downstream. She was elegant and patient, our day of luck started with a royal-flush. I was hiking last, in our group, a second/shadowing guide to Kigen, our lead guide at Western Rivers. We were out for a day on the western north fork of the wet and muddy, with incredible clients.
The folks we had the day with were everything a guide could hope for and I was grateful for their patience as I retied knots, double checked with Kigen about pretty much everything, and gave advice, that grew from the same vine as: "do as I say, not as I do. " They asked good questions, most I didn't know the answer to, and laughed at themselves and the knots they and the wind help create.
The fishing wasn't legendary, and the teaching opportunities were incredible. Western Rivers, under the helm of Steve's guidance is a place of learning, and connection. It is a place where the coffee is on all the day, the metaphorical hearth is lit, and "how many fish" not the most important question we have for those who walk in the door. From the coffee crew in the morning, to the last straggler before the door closes, we strive to be space of learning. The guide trips are no different. With Kigen leading the way, we talked about a river's way, the various plants, and how to be perfect enough to fool a fish. It was lovely, all of it.
From the water crossing, to the netted piscis, to the late lunch and coffee stop on the way home. We talked about how you balance, catching fish, with teaching. How hard days are good days too, and walking in waders can be incredibly hot sometimes.
While nibbling on the last of the organic chips our luck cashed in and the heron of the morning had doubled, and passed us to the west effortlessly suspended in flight, no doubt with hunting on the brain. We were tired enough to only be mildly moved by the sight before us, but now it has found its place in awe, where it should be.
Thank you to Kigen for having me along on a wonderful day in the life!