A wedding, some fish, and a big lake

Eilis and Nathaniel got married this weekend, in a place more familiar to my readers than almost any other group: Montana’s Centennial Valley.  At a ranch about 2 miles off the GDMBR, in fact.

We chatted and drank beer in a barn.  I was told the stars were excellent, but you had to wait until 4 am til the moon went down to see many of them.

The groom getting emphatic.

The bride playing aunt.  As expected, these two were as relaxed and imperturbable as people on a ranch with 70 friends and relatives could be.

Some people unwisely camped on the south side of the yard, and were woken up by calves placed in isolation for unknown reasons.

The ceremony was out back in the sage scrub and tall grass, with clouds and the Red Rock ditch as background and 30 mph gusts helping keep hair wild and everyone paying attention so they didn’t miss anything.

Nice suit, eh?

The tifosi were homegrown but vociferous.  (Faith!  They’re the other way!)

Eilis and Nathaniel being themselves, some irony was involved.  The white frosting was a fantastic creamy stuff that I could (unlike the dark frosting) eat quickly without getting a sugar-ache.

The main course at dinner was an 80 pound roasted half pig which I, in a glutinous and utterly inexcusable fog, completely forgot to photograph.  I drank no beer that night because it would’ve taken away room for more pork.

It rained Saturday night and most of Sunday.  We saw dozens of hawks, eagles, and kestrals in the valley, including this pterodactyl-sized Golden while headed towards Red Rock Pass on Sunday.  We (the truck) got muddy enough that the YNP entrance ranger gave us grief about potentially importing noxious weeds, and had some quality moments fishtailing on slimy uphill washboard, thinking how much riding a bike out there would suck.

That afternoon we were mellow, and M let me run around a fish a bunch, first on the South Fork of the Madison, then inside the park on Sentinal Creek.  Both are small, meandering little creeks with plenty of logs and brush and unexpectedly deep pools.  Ideal fishing in my mind, that prove tenkara to be just more fun all around.  I caught a bunch of fish all told, a few around 8″ but most little barodeurs like this one (who went after a #12 caddis without hesitation).

Driving out of the park Sunday evening (to camp, Xanterra is not getting my 20 bucks) we saw these elk crossing the Madison, causing the usual elk jam on the road above.

Monday M got her wish for a big hike, and we did a 28 mile circumambulation of Shoshone Lake from the DeLacy Creek TH.  I even did some more fishing in Shoshone Creek.

M caught me letting a bow and arrow cast fly.  Still haven’t caught anything off this cast, but it’s really cool, and one day will surely be just the thing.  The 3 oz tenkara rod makes it reasonable, both due to weight and the quick setup/breakdown time, to bring fishing gear along on almost any outing.

M wading the mighty Lewis River, the one river open to boating in the park.  It was a cool spot.  Too bad the 4.5 miles between the Lewis and DeLacy deltas are the hardest along the lake: either steep up and downs sidehilling extended headlands or a long, loose gravel beach that put M into the pain cave.  They’re also the coolest miles along the lake, as you get reasonable to excellent views the whole way. 

Shoshone Lake is the largest backcountry lake in the US outside Alaska, and walking around it in a day is a good way to make your feet hurt.  Mine still do.


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