New Heathens
24Jun/11Off

Open Call for Yellowstone Adventure

A joke I heard growing up in Montana went like this: Two guys are hiking through the woods and suddenly a grizzly bear charges them. One of them takes off running and the other yells, "Why are you running? Don't you know you can never outrun a bear?" The guy yells back, "I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you!"

I wanted to let you know about a project I'll be working on this summer, and extend an invitation to any of you who think you might be a good fit.

I'm going to be in Yellowstone National Park for parts of July, August and September working on a book about trout. The book will be published next year by Stackpole Books (publishers of Indiana Breweries -- see the connection?) and it will be billed as a fishing guide; but it will be very different than any other. This book will feature stories about 50 different fishing spots inside Yellowstone, and for each profile I've interviewed a different person, or people, and collected tales about what makes each place special, and worth visiting. Each story features trout, of course, and a couple feature grayling. They also include details that make them uniquely Yellowstone; encounters with grizzlies, wolves, bison, moose, elk, bald eagles, mountain lions, and even bigfoot (!) Other stories include lifetime wishes fulfilled, family bonding, experiences had despite long odds, and adventure. I've talked to professional fishing guides and enthusiastic amateurs, residents and visitors, local characters and city slickers. I've interviewed rangers, biologists, naturalists, writers, veterans and even former Vice President Dick Cheney (!) This book will feature the voices of men, women, teens, octogenarians and everyone in between. I'll tell great stories about the early days of the world's first National Park, when visitors were gobsmacked by the bounty of cutthroat trout they found. And I'll tell the sad story about the modern state of the cutthroats in Yellowstone Lake, which have been decimated by illegally introduced lake trout. I also dug deep and found new voices to share amazing, never-before-printed details about an incredible encounter between a pair of tourists and the Nez Perce tribe along a Yellowstone stream in the summer of 1877.

In short, this book will feature the widest array of voices, stories and tips of any guide book out there.

Now that I'm wrapping up Phase One, doing background research and writing draft chapters, it's on to Phase Two: visiting each spot. A couple of the spots I need to visit are in, as measured by the distance to any road, the most remote part of the continental United States. It's a part of southeast Yellowstone called the Thorofare, and I wouldn't mind a companion. I've got campsites reserved from July 17 through July 24.

Other spots I'm visiting are also way back in the grizzly-bear filled woods, but others are near roads. Because I've got so many spots to visit in such a short time, I've got a pretty ambitious, rock 'n' roll itinerary, so I really won't be able to meet up for just casual sightseeing around the park. You're going to need to be in good shape and have experience backpacking, so qualified applicants only please.

But if you're looking for a Yellowstone adventure this summer, or are maybe in search of a partner to explore some spots way, way off the beaten path, reach out to me at info ( [at] ) newheathens.com. I'll send you my draft itinerary, and maybe we can make a plan.

Then we can both start working on our wind sprints.

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