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Wyoming Horsepack Adventure 07-11-2003

Man, did we have a great trip this year! Maybe our best trip ever. Our group of five had made four previous horsepack trips in Wyoming and Montana. This year we had opted to forgo a few comforts and get as deep into Wyoming's Bighorn Wilderness as we could in our five days... all in the pursuit of great fishing. We wanted to get to the most spectacular area possible and if a bit of an adventure occurred along the way, so be it. On all fronts, we succeeded! Steve Peskoe MD (age unknown), Brett Egger 18, Brandon Egger 15 and Nick Peskoe 15, were great companions and an entertaining, if not a bit goofy, group. I was impressed how strong all the boys have become. A few years ago, a trip like this would have been impossible. A few more years (or maybe next year!) and they'll be beating me up the mountain. I have come to look forward tremendously to these forays into the wilderness and it has been a pleasure to watch these guys grow up!

Following a six hour ride that took us past beautiful meadows and streams, around small alpine lakes and waterfalls, and over high passes and secret trails, we arrived at our intended destination just as the shadows were getting spindly and our butts were making their presence known. We drank some Gatorade, set up a comfortable camp and after an excellent dinner of spaghetti and garlic bread, we all turned in early.

The following days lived up to the daydreams of the snowy winter months. Under absolutely spectacular weather, we ventured off to a new alpine lake each of the following three days. We had only one short spell of rain and a bit of wind on day two, otherwise blue skies and only a few clouds. Each morning, we slept in until the hot sun chased us out of our tents. After breakfast, we loaded daypacks with lunch, raingear, fly rods and too much fishing gear. Thus began our daily ritual of climbing out of the relatively oxygen-rich valley and into the treeless land of big trout.

Our selection of a base camp was perfect. None of our hikes were longer than 45 minutes, although all of the lakes were above 10,000 ft! We caught cutthroats usually 14-20 inches with some notable exceptions. On day two, Brett Egger caught a monster that went well over 21 inches and on our last day, Steve Peskoe, hooked a fish that he was sure went over six pounds. We caught fish on streamers (using Nick Peskoe's outside-the-box jigging method), nymphs (usually size 16 beadheads), and dries (mostly Adams and caddis patterns). One day, Nick and I had a great two hours hooking many 16-20 inch fish on tan elk hair caddis dry flies. We sat perched on a nice flat rock watching caddis naturals being blown into a little alcove next to a snowfield that was melting into the edge of the lake. It was incredible watching the big heads graze on the caddis and not infrequently, our flies. Sitting in the warm sun, we fished until the shadows stretched long and our bellies demanded dinner. We hiked down to our camp in only 30 minutes to enjoy a rib dinner with Chipolte sauce, cole slaw, potato salad and homemade brownies for dessert. After dinner, we settled back to watch the sun set over camp before retiring to our tents for some much needed sleep.

The ingredients for a great trip like this are simple: first, take a few alpine lakes... azure and sapphire are best, stir in some deep blue skies and a half dozen or so towering black rock peaks, sprinkle in some blindingly white snowfields and a few million wildflowers. To that, fold in a beautiful stream or two and a couple of spectacular waterfalls. When you've mixed all that together, add in some fine old friends, some good food, some great fishing for BIG fish, lots of laughs and you're almost done. Season lightly with some bug dope and sunscreen. Bake it for five days in a hot Wyoming sun and you've made the perfect trip. Thanks guys, what are we going to do next year?








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