Six days, five nights and one of the most impressive rivers in the lower forty eight. Cut through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the Middle Fork of the Salmon is as good as it gets.

Will the family all in on the action we caught fish until we were too tired to continue. Satiated, we roasted marshmallows over a fire, discussed the finer points of making smores, weather or not fish have tongues, and why we can’t hunt domestic cows.

I’m not suggesting you spend the dory fund on lawn-care equipment. But lets give credit where it’s due.

At times I effortlessly bomb casts with confidence, fishing with the certainty that the next swing will connect. Then it all falls apart. I blow my anchor, get tangled in running line, try to muscle the cast.

Call ‘em caddis, sedges, dancers, grannoms, shadflies, peters, makers, millers, micros, travelers or whatever your local dialect has adopted. Just don’t overlook them.

Nymphing is, at heart ,an exercise in groping around in the dark. Sounds familiar….

At what point does that instant become too pricey? How many vacant hours, miles, snags, tangles, blisters, bug-bites and burns are too many?

Home late from the river I grabbed a bottle of Ranch dressing and almost poured it over ice cream, thinking it was chocolate sauce. Either was a poor substitute for dinner.

It’s a nice counterpoint, the way water chooses to travel. No clock, no speedometer, just the path of least resistance back home to the ocean.

He hung in there for six hours. Fueled by gummy worms, twizzlers, and blue gatorade, he flogged the water with a thrift store rod and an indicator.