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Our last day of fishing in Wyoming was quite the encore.  We had yet to hike-in and fish anywhere the whole trip, but this would be the day to buck that trend.  We had the time and it looked like we might have the best weather of the trip that day.  We packed our daypacks and took off for “Shangri-La”.  After about a mile of walking uphill we were greeted with this site.

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It was beautiful.  If I had the energy to just run straight down the hill to the creek I would have.  Once on the water it didn’t take Blake long to figure out a pattern.  Fish were crushing a nymph he had tied and after sharing one with me we were catching fish at a silly rate.  They were hitting on top too, but the sub-surface flies were killing it.  It wasn’t all cutthroat though, in fact, it was mostly whitefish.

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Cutthroat were the stars though and they were mixed in too.  Sometimes they would be the first fish to hit while drifting through a run or a pool, other times you had pick your way through the whiteys before landing a cutty.

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Some of the cutts were better than others.  I was able to upgrade my Snake River cutt pretty early on and had back to back good fish in one of the first few runs.

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The fishing was incredible.

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In a beautiful place.

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With lots of rod bends to go around.

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I reached a point where I thought – “Gee, how could this get any better?”

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Then Blake catches a double and it just seems fitting.  And just for a bit of diversity he found a chunky brookie too.

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But still the Snake River cutts were what we were there for, and we caught several nice ones.

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We didn’t catch everything that lived in the creek though.  I pulled the hook from a good fish early on, but Blake really missed a beast right at the end.  A monster fish, it definitely would have been big fish on the day and probably rivaled big fish on the trip.  No trip is complete without the “big one that got away” story and unfortunately that is how we ended our days worth of fishing and really the entire trip.  This place really had it all and it was hard to walk back to the car and not snap a few more pics.

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You couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces as we made our way into Jackson.

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A stop at the Snake River Brewery for a flight and a burger was just what the doctor ordered after a long day of fishing.  After a bit of shopping for the kiddos and an obligatory elk arch pic we headed on down the road to our motel.  It was clean, cheap, 70’s chic and the shower and bed felt incredible.

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Our flight out wasn’t until later the next afternoon so we headed down to SLC with time to spare and decided to check out the Utes digs.

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This place looked tiny compared to 100,000+ Tiger Stadium.  A nice reminder that football(and tailgating) season is just around the corner.

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One last local beer before getting on the plane to reflect on a really special trip.  A lot of planning went into this trip to make sure we gave ourselves the best opportunity at the slam and it felt great to accomplish it.  A big thanks goes to Steven Brutger over at Stalking the Seam for all his help.  I put what I thought was a good plan of attack together and sent it his way and with a few tweaks we were able to get it dialed in.  I don’t think there is anything I would have wanted to do differently.  From the fishing to the scenic drives to the craft beer – everything about Wyoming was amazing.  If I could make this a yearly trip I would – it was that incredible.  Hope y’all enjoyed it as much as we did, until next time.

We were back in Yellowstone Monday to do more exploring. Having never been to this part of the country we were more than happy to play tourist. So after a nice breakfast at the Trouthunter Lodge we were back on the road to the Park.

We started the day with a stroll around the Norris Geyser Basin (though we did stop at Gibbon Falls on the way).

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We didn’t hang around too long as we were a little “geysered” out from the day before (probably not good when in Yellowstone). We were really looking forward to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone so we made our way eastward toward Canyon.

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The view of the Canyon and Lower Falls from Artist’s Point was spectacular. It truly was one of the most amazing sights on the trip – maybe even my favorite spot in the Park. I’m a sucker for canyons and waterfalls. So many colors on the walls of the canyon that don’t really stand out in iPhone photos. This was probably the first trip that I really wished I had a DSLR.

We left Canyon and headed north to Tower, our plan was to loop around back to Mammoth. There was so much construction around the Tower area that we just stayed in the car and passed through. We got up close and personal with a buffalo who was ambling down the road. Later in the day we saw one that wasn’t providing any passing room in the opposite lane, which made for the perfect buffalo road block.

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If Yellowstone had a capital, Mammoth would be it. It wasn’t as busy as Old Faithful, but it definitely had the most buildings. I liked the small town feel of it. Minerva Terrace was pretty cool, I couldn’t help but think of the back splash in my kitchen though as I gazed upon all that travertine.

Pizza and a pitcher of Moose Drool at the Wild West Pizzeria was just what the doctor ordered as we left the Park for the day. We did about as much as we could with 2.5 days in Yellowstone and it was a lot of fun. A lot of driving too(that Park is huge!), but fun none the less.

On Sunday we checked out of our cottage in Jackson and made our way to our cabin in Last Chance, ID. Our drive would take us up through Grand Teton and into the heart of Yellowstone National Park then out to West Yellowstone and down to Island Park, ID. I decided to go a different route through Teton taking us along Mormon Row – it paid off with our first glimpse of a wild bison herd.

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It was really cool to see buffalo in the wild, but I’ll be honest, they are not very exciting creatures. It was kind of like watching cattle in a field. It was still a cool experience because like trout, they live in beautiful places. We continued up following the Snake River through the Tetons on up into Yellowstone, where we were now following the Lewis. We had a short stop at Lewis Falls as we made our way to West Thumb Geyser Basin. There we got our first taste of the geothermal activity that Yellowstone is known for.

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As you can probably tell in the pic of my wife(which was my favorite of the whole trip BTW), we are expecting our first child in November. We are very excited! Just trying to fit in as many trips as we can before that day arrives.

After West Thumb, we made our way toward the busiest part of the Park, Old Faithful. We had a little time to kill before the next eruption so we walked around the Upper Geyser Basin a bit. It didn’t take long to see why the Firehole River was named so.

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Catching Old Faithful in person was definitely cool to experience, but I think I only need to do it once. In a different way, the inside of the Old Faithful Inn was just as impressive to see. We hopped back in the car and headed toward Grand Prismatic Spring. It was a bummer to find out that the boardwalk alongside the spring had collapsed that previous week and was being rebuilt so the site was closed to pedestrian traffic. We found more geysers, springs, and the Fountain Paint Pots just up the road at the Lower Geyser Basin.

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We made one more detour as we approached Madison to go check out the Firehole Falls. As soon as we got in the canyon I had to pull over to cast my line against a giant rock wall. It just seemed like a cool place to fish that had to be holding something. Sure enough I caught a little rainbow and missed another a little bigger right at the foot of the wall.

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On our way out of the Park, following the Madison River now, we stopped to check out the elk that were grazing in the meadows. It was kind of funny to see a “wild” animal with a giant antenna protruding from his head.

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It was a long day touring Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, finished off perfectly at the Madison Crossing Lounge. The beer was cold, the food was good, and the bartender was top notch. I’d recommend it to anyone headed to West Yellowstone.

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