Fishing the Snake River, and the Pre-Wedding Party – The World’s Greatest Cowboy Bar
Day 24 –
I slept in as last as I could while ignoring the sounds of life going on about me. People were coming and going, dogs barking, homeowners mowing, cars driving, and myself, well I just pulled up the sheets and rolled over. I was sleeping in a real bed and I wanted to make every precious moment last. When I couldn’t take missing out on what ever it was that was happening around me, I finally got up. Upstairs in the condo next door I discovered coffee cake, oj, and hot delicious coffee. I said good morning to all the distant relatives and told everyone that my plans for the day were to go fishing. Most everyone else was planning on taking a hike up into the mountains, but I needed to get my line wet.
Before going fishing I decided to visit the art museum just on the edge of town. The National Wildlife Museum of Art is a great museum, and it definitely has that mountain lodge feel to it; of course being located at the base of the Teton Mountain range in the middle of the National Elk Preserve doesn’t hurt. After wondering around the museum for a few hours and seeing many great paintings and sculptures, I went back to town with fishing on my mind, but first I needed lunch. I had heard a great deal about the Snake River Brewery and since dinner was arranged for that evening I needed to fend for myself for lunch. I went to the brewery and had a delicious pizza in their in-house restaurant. I also had several beers though I don’t remember which kinds I tried. But they were fresh and awesome and that all that matters.
I found a fly shop and bought some more flies and tippet as well as a new fly box. Uncle Mike informed me that there was a little public park with some nice fishing in the stream that ran through town. I found a nice spot and fished for a while, catching one nice trout. After several hours I got in my truck and headed for where the stream ran into the Snake River.
At the confluence of the stream and the river I found a nice spot, and as I walked quietly out into the water I could see fish all around me. I was standing in the middle of a large school of good-sized fish, though they weren’t trout. All around me the fish kept hitting the water and sucking down bits of cotton from a nearby cottonwood. But try as I might, they always new which bit of stuff floating on the water was mine and had a hook. It was frustrating not being able to catch any of the fish that were actively feeding all around me. After another several hours and by now a good sunburn, I gave up and angrily stomped back to my truck. On the way I met fishing guide and I told him about it, he smiled and said, “Here, try one of these,” handing me a small green nymph. But by then I was too fed up to go back and try my luck anew, besides, soon the wedding party was going to start.
Back at the Stauth house the place was buzzing; tables and chairs were being set up on the grass, and the air was filled with smells of food. Someone rolled up a tub full of ice with a keg of beer from the Snake River Brewery where I had eaten the day before for lunch. Soon the party was under way and everyone was having a good time. Because I barely knew anyone, I ate quickly and grabbed my camera. Sean Stauth had asked me to take pictures of the party so I began to take photos. I am not one for groups of people lining up to pose, so for the most part I would stand as far back as I could and then zoom in and “snoop.” It’s hard taking pictures in this manner because when people don’t realize your photographing them, they tend to turn their back to you, or walk off, so you have to have a quick draw and try to anticipate what someone is going to do next.
I had a good deal of fun, and mike’s barbeque was filling, or course there was no food left, and before long the sun had set on the day and nights cool chill began to sweep out the sun’s warmth. But we flipped on the porch lights and continued to enjoy ourselves until the keg was empty and the wine bottles were all uncorked and laying idle.
I was about ready to retire and pack it in for the evening, along with all the older adults, when Sean told me that he and a group of others were going to walk downtown to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is considered one of the best bars in the United States, and it did not disappoint. The walls are covered in great memorabilia and paintings, and the bar is long and rugged. The bar stools are all old leather saddles, and actually quite comfortable for sitting on. The wood work through-out the room looked to be mountain pine that was rough-hewn and sanded smooth before being varnished to a shiny sheen. It was a lively but comfortable bar, and the wedding party commenced to drinking and taking shots. I am glad I didn’t go to bed, and I really would have liked a few more evenings at this bastion of old-time drinking.