As we continue downstream, our intention is to skirt the area where three men are fishing so as not to disturb them but one gentleman, Jim, sees us, secures his fly fishing rod and comes up to greet us. He’s an interesting man, originally from Kalispell who moved to Denver in 1963. Obviously he has many fond memories of the wilderness surrounding Kalispell as he comes back every summer with his son & friends to fly fish.

Jim exchanges stories with Gini while I’m busy photographing and videotaping the fly fishers. The arc of their fishline suspended in the air is so elegant and smooth. Jim offers to take our photo and we return the favor.

Photo of Francesca Droll and Gini Ogle

Francesca and Gini. Photo by Jim Huggins.

I ask Jim if I can shoot video of his fly fishing technique as he is very skilled. I tell him that I will email the video to him and he asks that I include my address and he will mail something to me…hmmm—interesting!*

Photo of Jim Huggins

Jim, an expert fly fisherman.

We say our goodbyes and resume our hike down river. It’s an easy crossing to the island. The water is low and feels so refreshing that we plunge right in, hiking boots and all! We hold hands as we cross the river for extra stability and walk the length of the island. It is thick with some kind of dandelion-looking orbs of white gossamer. As we walk through them, a diaphanous cloud rises around our boots—another magical moment.

Photo of Gini hiking.

An unusual carpet of gossamer flowers makes us feel like we are in a wonderland.

We cross again at the downriver end of the island to get back to the other side where the cabin sits. Today it is windy once again but for the first time since we arrived, we have puffy white clouds streaming across and casting shadows on the canyon walls and distant mountains. Spectacular lights and shadows to paint. More photos are taken.

Photo of Gini crossing the river.

Crossing the river to get back to the cabin.

Back at the cabin, we have lunch and go through our food again. We make a burn pile and throw away pile. We go through our dry goods and sort what we want to take home and what we will leave behind. We haven’t done too badly—there is not that much food that we will take back.

Gini decides to do some washes on her paintings which consists of selectively brushing a light film of paint over the dry painting to slightly shift colors and values.

She can see the fishermen from our perch on the boulder and informs me that they are on the lower end of the island and slowly fishing their way toward us. We expect they will show up at our cabin at some point.

I decide to take a swim and cool off. Then I join Gini and write in my journal while she paints. We are up at the cabin taking shelter under a birch tree which barely shields us from the sun. The wind comes in gusts and the rustling of the birch leaves overlaps the sounds of the river as it tumbles by.

Photo of Francesca Swimming

So refreshing!

The fishermen are now among our willows and fishing our section of the river. I decide it’s time to refill the water buckets and head down. I come around the willows and say, “Hey, those are our fish!” They laugh. Jim tells me they would like to get up to the trail—they’ve had enough for the day. I lead them up, proud to be strong enough to carry the half-full buckets of water. I thank Jim for his kind offer to help carry the buckets but decline. Wilderness Women rock!

Our afternoon continues but our thoughts turn to our impending departure…


*PS. A box comes addressed to me in October with gifts for both Gini and I: a keychain with an ornament of a fishing hook carved as a silhouette. Very kind of Jim.