Most campers polled appreciated the late breakfast this morning. Some of us were sore from casting, balancing, mending . . . and dodging airborne hooks. After breakfast we convened for the second year of a new activity: The Fly Fishing Olympics. These games, part of actual guide training programs, were passed to us from the Lodge: distance casting, casting accuracy, identifying bugs that flies represent, throwing a safety rope accurately, and putting together a rod and reel for time. We broke into two large teams led by the peer mentors, the “Go Getters” and the “Moose on the Loose” (aka “Meece on the Leece”). One camper actually put together a rod in under a minute.
After the Olympics, we retired for some quick fly tying out of the sun. During this time a contingent from Baton Rouge arrived to visit, led by VP of our board, Dave Roberts.
Then we gathered for lunch, where we were treated to a discussion of the Snake River ecosystem given by two long-time guides. They discussed the two-year life cycle of the salmon fly: beneath the surface all but a few weeks of its life; then a desperate nymph swimming for the shore; and finally, mating, just in time to become a trout meal. The children understood why we had been fishing nymphs and the reasons we had to try different flies to get the fishes’ attention.
Our dinner was buffalo ribs with special ravioli filled with fresh morels foraged earlier in the afternoon by Chef Bob and co.
Dave Roberts spoke to the group about the origins of On River Time and his delight in seeing them make the most of it. One mature camper who had only been with the Big Oak Ranch for a few months reflected on what it means to look past current circumstances with hope. She couldn’t imagine that there would be a course to something special like this from where she was, but she didn’t let her circumstances define her openness to good things.
Next, Steve Davis explained a staple activity of camp, burning our worries. Each camper writes down their biggest worry, something that has a disruptive influence on them; then, they burn that piece of paper. Some campers choose to share what they got rid of—trying to fit in, snakes, being alone, etc. Standing around the campfire afterwards, we all feel a collective sigh.