July 16, 2001
Another day at the Cottonwood Campground on The Bighorn River. I’m the only woman in a man’s world. They are all nice to me and want to know where I’m from and why I’m taking this trip. I was given a hammer to pound the stakes of my tent, an invitation to sit around the campfire and have a beer, and an offer to ride a drift boat on the river and fish. I only accepted the hammer. I’m many miles from home alone, I have to be careful. And plus I fear the wrath of my daughter who made me promise not to take any chances.
I fished alone in the morning and was later joined by a guy upstream. His line drifted to where I was fishing and he told me to move. I held my ground and didn’t budge. After a little while, I brought in my line because something didn’t feel right. It was all tangled because on the Bighorn you are suppose to fish with two things at the end of the line. I stood there unsuccessfully trying to fix it all. I knew the man was watching me and probably shaking his head or even laughing. I think the moment was one of the most embarrassing in my life. I gathered up my line and trudged out of the river with my head down.
I went to a narrower part of the river and made sure no one was around. I was thrilled to see hundreds of white fish swimming on the bottom of the river, all facing the same direction as they looked for food. They were all around me and I was part of their world. I caught a few, feeling their life on my line and then in my hands as I set them free. It was a great moment.
That night I told my six new men friends in the campsite next to me that I caught two white fish. One of them said that white fish don’t count. It was the last night on the Bighorn for all of us. I asked the group how many they managed to catch on this trip. The answer was none. I didn’t say a word. It’s all okay. I now understand and I forgive them. Trout fishing is a hard for everyone.
Rhonda took a picture of me at my site at the picnic table in front of my tent. She said she was going to put it on their brochure or website.
This trip is taking on a tempo, a rhythm. I’m really enjoying myself.