Wildwood Outfitters Blog and Fishing Report
Engagement bliss filled the air for the last 72 hours as we moved our way through Colorado en route to Wyoming for a float trip on the North Platte River. Since proposing at a high mountain lake we had proceeded to catch four different fish species on national forest land, national park land, and a tailwater. This was the dream. I had met a girl who would not only tolerate a fly fishing addiction, but who also genuinely enjoyed partaking in the activity. Early on in our relationship I had focused on positive experiences to build a strong foundation on which we could build. Of course I am referring to fly fishing and not our relationship itself unless of course she is reading this in which case I am referring to both. Everything had gone perfectly and our adventures in fly fishing had crescendoed with a mid summer road trip spanning 4,000 miles and fishing in three states. Perfection across the board! And then came a quick fishing trip on the White River in Colorado…
My new fiance had been to Colorado a few times to hunt elk with her dad, and I had gone to Colorado fly fishing with mine. It’s these connections that made me think proposing there would be a tremendous idea. And for the better part of three days, it really was a tremendous decision. We were headed from the Front Range of Colorado up to Casper, Wyoming and decided to take a very long detour across the state to visit the White River National Forest, where she had hunted elk. There was no objection to that plan by me because I had heard about some big fish living in the White and this seemed like a very convenient excuse to go see it for myself. We left early in the day, stopping a few times along the way to see the sights and take some pictures. Once we finally got to the White River it was early afternoon and we found a convenient spot to drop in and fish for a little before moving on to Wyoming. Everything was going according to plan as per the usual.
We fished upstream about 150 yards, catching a few fish and generally having a wonderful time. After about an hour or so we decided to head back and shove off for the North Platte. About ¾ of a mile down I happened to glance down and noticed the absence of a fairly important piece of jewelry. “Uhhhhh Steph, where is your ring?” I said in probably the calmest voice ever used considering the circumstances. The panicked “oh my god” said it all. We started looking in the pullout thinking maybe it came off when we were getting out of gear with only a normal amount of uncontrollable sobbing by her. When it didn’t show up there our situation became more grim as the reality of losing it in the river seemed likely.
We started searching the banks, disregarding the stinging nettle that was swallowing us alive. Up and down the river banks we went, but to no avail. You want to know hopelessness personified? We then started wading up and down the river, turning over rocks, checking if it had fallen off. Looking back that seems like an absolute lost cause, but when the alternative was “Well the ring is gone let’s keep going with our vacation because there is no way this will alter or hinder the rest of the trip!” there is no alternative that wasn’t worth exploring. We searched and searched and after two and a half hours I said, “Well, do you want to look one more time or head off?” Her reply of “Oh my god *5 seconds of sobbing* what will your mom say? *10 seconds of dry heaves* what will my mom say?” told me I should probably just look one last time. I wasn’t going back into the nettle infestation so I decided I would look on a tiny little island we crossed on our way upstream even though we had searched it thoroughly twice already. Creeping slowly on my hands and knees I scoured every inch of it until out of nowhere there it was!! Disbelief set in as I grabbed the ring and quickly made my way back to the car where I dropped down on one knee and asked Stephanie to marry me again. She thought it was extremely corny but I happen to think it exemplified the heroism shown by me. The best part of the story was the next day on our float trip she was noticeably upset after landing a nice fish and I asked her what was wrong? She said “All I really wanted was a picture of me and my ring holding a nice fish on the drift boat.” That’s a girl who clearly had her priorities in the right place and I couldn’t have been happier.
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