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River Smells ~

© By Ronald G. Bizick, II, photos by Daryl L. Hunter
Fly-fisherman, Square Top, Mountina, Green River Lake, Wind River Mountains, Pinedale, Wyoming, (© Daryl L. Hunter - The Hole Picture/Daryl L. Hunter)

Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River in Stanley Idaho. The Sawtooth Range makes this a stunningly beatiful place to fish. (unknown, Daryl Hunter's "The Hole Picture" • Daryl L. Hunter has been photographing the Yellowstone Region since 1987, when he packed up his view camera, Pentex 6X7, and his 35mm’s and headed to Jackson Hole Wyoming. Besides selling photography Daryl/Daryl L. Hunter)I take a deep breath. The cool early summer evening air rushes past my nostrils and fills my lungs.  It enters crispy and cool with a swoosh and exits with a warm low whistle across my teeth and lips.  I do it again .  I stand still repeating several times like a prize fighter in between rounds, off his chair standing ready for his opponent.  No fists today. No. Just my rod, my fly box and my craft and wit.  My opponent waits ahead. Formidable indeed.  An uneven match to be sure. So many days spent trying to imitate the chaotic exactness of nature.  A curious endeavor for certain and, but for my appreciation for the arena around me, one I would surely abandon for more predictable and perhaps rewarding sports.   So an unfair match lasting nearly 40 years now for me persists.

Fly-fisherman showing of catch at Slough Creek in Yellowstone National Park. Some time previous wolves had killed and eaten the seven point Bull elk. (© Daryl L. Hunter - The Hole Picture/Daryl L. Hunter)As I breathe the wonderful air and my lungs fill with oxygen and my body with energy and my eyes brighten, I take in the smell of the river and the nature around it.  A trout river, though, has no smell.  So I imagine how it should smell had it one.  Each water is different.  Like a colgne on the skin, different to each that it touches.   But I believe a river is masculine and mysterious.

Fly-fishing YellowstoneFly fisherman Nez-Perce Creek, Yellowstone National Park (unknown, Daryl Hunter's "The Hole Picture" • Daryl L. Hunter has been photographing the Yellowstone Region since 1987, when he packed up his view camera, Pentex 6X7, and his 35mm’s and headed to Jackson Hole Wyoming. Besides selling photography Daryl/Daryl L. Hunter, Daryl L. Hunter)The slow moving spring creeks are graceful and charming like a fine southern gentlemen and smell of deep musk. If it were a man it would don a fine white, black banded fedora and khaki pants with a linen shirt, leather belt, manicured mustache, cigar and some fine wing tipped shoes.

West Yellowstone MontanaFly-fishermen fishing the Madison River north of Quake Lake (Daryl Hunter's "The Hole Picture" • Daryl L. Hunter has been photographing the Yellowstone Region since 1987, when he packed up his view camera, Pentex 6X7, and his 35mm’s and headed to Jackson Hole Wyoming. Besides selling photography Daryl also publ/Daryl L. Hunter, Daryl L. Hunter)The raucous freestone rocky mountain streams are rugged and smell spicy and fresh. I do think a pair of beat up boots, wide rimmed dusty hat, faded jeans with a few holes and a white t shirt semi stained from sweat under the arms would be worn by this grinning rugged unshaven free spirit.

I suppose a stream smells different to every man if it smells at all to every man. I suppose a stream smells like a man would imagine it to smell based on how that man sees the water and whats around him.  Or, perhaps the stream takes on the character and smell of the way the man sees himself?  I don’t know really but it must be great to every man.  How could it not?

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