By Jenna Taylor
Photos by Hunter Forbes
The thought of traveling cross-country can either bring about pure enthusiasm or utter disinterest. With wanderlust as my middle name, my first reaction is fairly easy to guess.
When Hunter asked if I would fly to Bozeman, Montana and drive back to Destin with him following his elk hunt, I barely hesitated. To get the chance to drive through some of the most gorgeous states in this country? Count me in.
If you type it in to Google Maps, you’ll get directions for a 32-hour trip. Thankfully we decided to make a few stops along the way. We had planned to drive from Montana through Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia (to drop off the truck), Alabama and finally Florida. We took this as an excellent opportunity to do what we had talked about for so long—fly fish out west!
Shortly after flying into Bozeman midday last November, Hunter picked me up and we made a pit stop at a local barbecue spot before heading to our first afternoon of DIY fly fishing. Our good friend Scott graciously let us borrow his rods, flies and a little insight into fly-fishing out west. He has been a fishing guide for years all across the country, even Mexico and Alaska.
Our first day fishing was short, but long filled with memories and mess-ups. The sun went down and we packed our bags, threw our waders in the back, heading south for the night.
We woke up the next day in Wyoming. Eager to head to the very spot where our dear friend Scott insisted we fish, we packed our bags and started there. We arrived in the tiny town, stopped at a local fly shop and bought a few necessities—our fishing license, snacks and a few flies. A 20-minute drive and we had arrived.
The scenery was captivating. The canyon we hiked down into allowed you to look up and view the grand beauty surrounding it. Shortly after reaching the bottom of the canyon, we sat down, got our rods out and got to work.
The hike upstream was nothing short of delightful. We cast everything that day—streamers, eggs, nymphs, trees and brush from behind me…just about everything. I learned that day that fly-fishing is so particularly detailed, much more than I had previously thought. I finally understood the obsession, the thrill and the lifestyle that many choose to live.
At this point, Hunter and I began looking for a permanent home in Wyoming. Not really, but we sure didn’t want to leave. After doing some research, Hunter found a guide service along the way and we planned a trip the next day at the Miracle Mile.
Very few places conjure up better images than the Miracle Mile, a section of the North Platte River. Just uttering those words fuels the imagination, especially an individual with a rod in one hand and a fly in the other. We drove to meet the guide, and after driving 40 minutes on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, we had arrived.
The Miracle Mile lived up to its name. The scenery is excellent, and the trout are epic. Our guide was phenomenal—he not only paddled us up and downstream but also switched up our weights, changed flies and told us exactly what we needed to know in order to land these tricky fish. An unforgettable day filled with lifelong memories.
You can find Hunter and me already planning our trip back to the great state of Wyoming.
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