Though gradual in arriving, the warning signs are there. And the vicious cold front invading Island Park in the last week of October came as no surprise to anyone with a meaningful history in this small mountain hamlet.

With most seasonal residents having escaped to warmer clime and the TroutHunter lodge closed for the season, residents were once again subjected to the reality that winter can arrive six or more weeks before the December solstice.

Fortunately, the biting winds, periodic snow fall, and subzero temperatures were just a precursor to the time when such weather conditions become routine. Replaced by more temperate influence from the south west, the sinister northern flow charged across the Rockies wreaking similar havoc on our plains land neighbors to the east.

With calmer winds and temperatures rebounding to an acceptable level, the tough people calling Island Park home have resumed the process of recovery from a season more bizarre than could ever have been imagined at its beginning.

In any year, navigating the peaks and valleys of a six-month season can be a grueling marathon for the sizable staff at TroutHunter. With a fly shop and guide service as the main emphasis for its operation, this prestigious destination point also employs kitchen and restaurant staff, bar tenders, and house-keeping personnel.

With long hours, little time off, and often demanding customers, the discipline, patience, and commitment of this harmonious group has always been extremely impressive. In twenty-twenty, however, the roller coaster ride through the global pandemic has elevated my respect and appreciation for this amazing team to a level unimaginable prior to the arrival of COVID-19.

Now, with the community suddenly quiet, there is time for restoration of individual needs put aside for the benefit of visiting fly fishers that have numbered higher than anyone can remember.
For some, it might be a well-deserved vacation away from any reminder of the pressurized season just past. Others may simply savor the tranquility of the river where waterfowl outnumber anglers many times over and the message of early snow rests on the tall horizon.
For mountain people, November provides the briefest of windows for rest and recovery before winter descends on the timbered landscape. By Christmas, TroutHunter will again be a busy and hospitable scene as snowmobiles and skis replace fly rods and drift boats as the toys of choice for a different set of visitors.
But for now, it is a quiet time of ownership when regeneration of the spirit brings a sense of peace and the hope for better times in a still uncertain future.


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