May 2021 - 21
Josh Peterson shows his daughter a brook trout caught in the Bighorn Mountains in 2020.
to these lakes nearly every summer for the past five
years. We look for golden trout at Firehole Lake No.
2 and camp and fish at No. 1. It's where we vowed
we would take Miriam each summer until she finally
tells us she's too old or too busy.
This wasn't the first trip we'd made here that started
a little off script, and it wouldn't be the last.
No matter how arbitrary this tradition seemed
- and it was quite arbitrary - we decided years
ago it was critical. Our lives were about to change.
But the outdoors, the pursuit of colorful trout, the
solitude of lakes a mile off the trail and the comfort
of familiar mountains would remain. It had to. So we
agreed. Each summer we would return, come snow
or rain, baby or grumpy, old dog. Because that's the
thing about traditions. Once you make them, they're
hard to break.
Consistency through change
It all started as a quest for golden trout.
It was the summer of 2016, and I was seven-months
pregnant. My husband and I are Wyoming kids,
raised in the sagebrush-filled desert and pine-covered
mountains. As children we were weekend warriors.
Our parents packed us up each Friday or Saturday to
camp. We followed their lead into adulthood.
We weren't sure how our lives would change with
a baby, but we knew we wanted to fit in as many
trips as possible before she arrived. Some couples go
to resorts for their babymoons. We went to look for
Each summer we would return, come
snow or rain, baby or grumpy, old
dog. Because that's the thing about
traditions. Once you make them,
they're hard to break.
golden trout in the Bighorns.
I called a Wyoming Game and Fish Department
biologist in Sheridan and asked for recommendations.
The Wind Rivers are most often known for their
golden trout, a nonnative species originally from
California and distributed in the Winds by horse
and bucket. But the Bighorns have nice populations
as well, if you can catch them.
The biologist recommended Firehole Lake No.
2. Technically the trailhead was a 9-mile hike each
way, but a rutted two track forest road could cut it
almost in half. I could hike 10 miles in a day, even
with a growing belly.
We made it to the lake that day, and caught plenty
of brook and lake trout.
Then we stood on a flat rock near the mouth of the
Wyoming Wildlife | 21
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