2017 is flying by already. The Denver Fly Fishing Show is in the books and tonight I’m looking over my presentations for my trip to Boise for the Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo this weekend. The first show was excellent and I thank all those that swung by to say hello and took in my talks. Here’s Joe Humphreys and I having a good time at the autograph booth late Sunday.
The real story of the weekend was my drive to and from Denver. It’s a 7 hour drive to Denver from home on dry roads. Going down Thursday I took the northerly route through the Tetons and over Togwotee Pass on to Casper, WY because we had a big snowstorm the day before that made I-80 a mess. The trip took 10 hours but it was a stunning bluebird day to enjoy.
Naturally, another storm moved into the Rockies over the weekend. I always leave right after the show and drive till the wee hours of the morning to get home by 2 AM. Driving through a snowstorm in Wyoming at night in January isn’t fun and isn’t safe but as you know I am a thrill seeker and was going for it nonetheless.
Things changed drastically from there to Pinedale, WY. After filling my Yeti Tumbler with coffee and shooting a 5-Hour Energy I was headed north. It was inky dark and I drove no more than 45 MPH due to animals. There was an unreal jackrabbit hatch but I saw hardly any big game. But the snow had been falling all day and roads and visibility got hectic.
Despite feeling like I shouldn’t, I continued past Pinedale for home. It was 1 AM. Ten miles out of Pinedale the roads hadn’t been plowed in hours and soon I was four-wheeling through a foot of snow.
When I entered Hoback Canyon I gave myself a 50% chance of making it through. Granny’s Jeep was struggling and my body ached from clenching the steering wheel so tight for hours. I didn’t turn back for Pinedale because I feared that if I stopped I’d be stuck. I comforted myself knowing I keep a killer emergency kit with me for these exact horrors.
Sure enough, only a mile from making it through the canyon, I ran into a snow slide covering the road. Bad luck even for a guy nicknamed “Monsoon”. Thank god I was driving slowly because by the time I saw the white mass I was close. I hit the brakes and slid. When I stopped my bumper barely touched it. Lucky guy.
This was a fresh avalanche that happened minutes before my arrival. If only I took a photo. But it was a terrifying place to be knowing another avalanche was lurking. In a panic I threw the jeep in reverse and spun around. It was a miracle I didn’t get stuck. Even Jimmy Johnson would have been impressed. At 3:45 AM I returned to Pinedale and got a hotel room. I was miserably exhausted and damn lucky.
Even while working I manage to find adventure. I awoke at 10 AM this morning and the Hoback Canyon avalanche was cleaned up and the road was open this afternoon. I took this photo of another car driving past the very avalanche that could’ve taken me out last night. Whoa! It was a big one.
I’m home and it’s presently dumping snow again. Hoback Canyon slid again and the road is closed. This is a good snow year for our trout. I can deal with travel hazards knowing our speckled babies will be healthy next summer. I leave Thursday for Boise. Stay tuned. . . .