I had been very much looking forward to participating in this 3 day retreat that promotes the healing effects of fly fishing for men who are surviving cancer. I am so thankful that Stan Golub, Executive Director, showed interest in my ride and wanted me to be a participant in one of the retreats.

The Mackay retreat worked perfectly into the ride schedule. Besides being in a beautiful setting, a few of the Reel Recovery board members were there. Oh yeah, and PBS Idaho was there to cover the retreat. They will be airing a show featuring the retreat next February.

It was incredible connecting with my fellow eleven retreat participants. Twelve men sharing how cancer has impacted their lives was simply amazing. Men from different backgrounds bonded together by two common elements, cancer and a love for fishing.

Not all of us had a personal knowledge of fly fishing, myself being one of that set, but by the end of the retreat I think there were twelve additions to the fly fishing club.

Each retreat participant was teamed up with a buddy/guide. The buddies are volunteers. A truly wonderful group of men that admirably so giving of their time and knowledge. My buddy was Tim. It was his first time being a buddy. He was amazing. So patient with my lack of fly casting skills. I have been a fish head my entire life. But, I have been a spin fisherman. I had to unlearn my spin fishing ways when tackling fly casting.

Tim definitely knew what he was doing. He put me into some beautiful cutthroat trout. When I caught my first trout, I think he was even more excited than me.

At the end of the retreat each buddy gave their participant a box of flies with a note written inside. The fly box box included two flies that Tim had chosen, which I caught some nice cutthroat on. When he gave the box to me, I got all choked up and got more than a tad misty. I think all the emotion built up during the 3 day retreat came out, in spades. Thank you so much Tim. And I definitely want to find myself in Idaho again. So we can take land some more cutts on the Lost River North Fork.

I would also like to thank all the guys from Reel Recovery for a truly amazing experience. A life altering experience. I can’t say enough about how much all the work and passion you have put into this organization and the retreats you host. You have positively affected so many men’s lives. Men that have had to endure a life with cancer. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Oh yeah, and thank you for giving me yet another condition, fly fishing. I’m hooked.

I encourage everyone out there to go to the ReelRecovery.org to check out in more detail what they all do. And click on the donate button. They could use whatever you can give to continue putting on these amazing retreats. Also, if you know a man with cancer who likes to fish tell them about Reel Recovery. They could be a participant at one of the retreats in their area.

There will be a blog post dedicated to specifically to this retreat, which will contain video, photography and more information about the retreat and Reel Recovery.

 

When I arrived at the Wild Horse Creek Ranch I was greeted by a video camera which was held by one of the cameramen from PBS Idaho. After that I was welcomed by this sign.

Talk about an amazing location. And stellar accommodations. A huge thank you to the staff of the Wild Horse Creek Ranch. You all went above and beyond to make sure all the retreat participants were taken care of completely and constantly.

The Ranch. Our ggglorious accommodations. Yeah, we weren’t exactly roughing it.

Gear provided for retreat participants.

Getting to know our assigned gear.

Fishing vest

Each participant signed the fishing vest they were assigned for the retreat. The vests had the signatures of all past retreat participants. Quite an honor it was to add mine to the list.

Me signing vest

Oh look, it’s me signing my vest.

Me with vest on

Me sporting said vest.

Casting practice with my buddy Tim

My buddy Tim giving me much needed casting pointers.

Tim and I on North Fork of Lost River

Now it was time for Tim and I to Take on the North Fork of the Lost River.

Brookie on

My first Idaho trout on. A beautiful small brook trout.

Brook trout landed

Me holding said brookie.

Tim shooting me and brookie

Tim squeezing in some photo-documentation. And doing a fffabulous job doing it. A wearer of many hats.

Fishing me

Beautiful. Yeah, that’s me again. And I managed not to land the fly in the trees. That time.

Me with first cutthroat

There I am with the first cutthroat I have ever caught. A beauty. And those wading boots I have on, Tim let me break in a brand new pair of his own Simms wading boots because the ones I was assigned had uh issues. Thank you so much Tim. Talk about a true buddy. Love those boots.

Cutthroat close-up

And a close-up of that one-heck-of a beautiful cutthroat.

The Saturday fly fishing foursome.

My buddy Tim, another participant/buddy combo and me at the end of our first day on the river.

My buddy Tim and me

My one-hell-of-a-buddy Tim and I.

My buddy Tim and me

On the last day of the retreat, after a great morning of fishing, there were group photos taken and closing ceremony. Pictured here are the 12. My fellow retreat participants and me.

Participants, staff and buddy group photo

The entire retreat gang. Participants, staff and buddies. An amazing group and then some.

Bob giving closing address

Our fearless leader Bob giving the closing ceremony address.

A few shots taken around the ranch.

Fence behind ranch

The view from behind ranch.

Moon over fence

View from side of cabin I stayed in.

Teepee top

The top of one of the teepees where the buddies dwelled.

Elegia next to cabin

Elegia hanging out next to cabin that I bunked in.

Elegia and me behind cabin

Elegia and me working it for the camera by the cabin.

Elegia in back of horse trailer

After the retreat ended, I loaded up the bike and hit the gravel road that would lead me through Sun Valley and from there to my next destination, Pikes Peak. As thoughts of the retreat ran through my mind, I noticed something was not right with the bike. I pulled over to realize that I had a rear tire puncture. The tire was shot. I had only made it less than a mile from the ranch. I paced around a bit wondering how I was going to handle this situation. Then the woman that was with Idaho PBS drove by. She was kind enough to load all my gear into her truck and drove me back to the Wild Horse Creek Ranch. When I arrived back at the ranch I unloaded my gear from the truck. While I was unloading my gear Lani, the wonderful woman that ran the ranch walked over to see what the matter was. I explained and immediately she and her son-in-law Gio hooked up a horse trailer to a truck. Gio then took me to the crippled bike and we loaded it into the trailer. Lani then offered to let me stay at her family’s ranch while I worked out how I would get the tire fixed. We all drove to their ranch. Once we got to the the family ranch, a sweet girl by the name of Jess, who worked for Lani and her husband Dan, offered to let me stay in the house on the property she stays in. While I was unloading my gear from the truck she prepared her house for me to stay in. After I got all my gear moved into the house, Jess and and Lani’s daughter Kayla saddled up a few horses and rode for a bit. I hadn’t been on a horse before that in eons. It was much fun. I’m sure the girls got a chuckle watching me saddled up. The next day I got in touch with Ryan at Ducati North America to explain the tire situation. He immediately went into action by locating a tire and had it overnighted to me. Lani and Dan’s daughter Ashley was kind enough to let tire be shipped to her place of employment. Thankfully, because if I did not have that option, the tire would not have been able to have been shipped overnight. FedEx tends not to ship overnight to in-the-boonies locations. Which is where I was. So while I was waiting for the tire to arrive, they welcomed me into their amazingly wonderful family for a few days. They took me on a tour of Sun Valley, served me an delicious elk dinner, shared much great conversation and did countless other things to make me comfortable in their home. So the tired arrived. Now I needed to get the wheel off the bike and get the tire mounted and put back on the bike. With the help of Dan and Gio, the wheel was removed. Lani drove me to pick of the tire and get it mounted to the wheel, which was well over an hour away. When we got back to the ranch, Dan and Gio were there to help me put the wheel back on. The bike was ready to hit the road, but was I? It was a quite difficult to leave this amazing family and beautiful location. It got quite misty inside my helmet as I rode away. I do intend on getting back to that Shangri-Lalaland. And Lani, I’m definitely going to take you up on that little cabin of yours that I love so much. You all are in my heart.

Mama and her colt

At the ranch with mama and her colt.

Little red shed

Little red shed on the ranch.

Lone tree

A lone tree across the road from the ranch. I found myself identifying with it. Sorta.

Jess, Me and Lani above Sun Valley

Lani and Jess took me on a beeeautiful tour of Sun Valley. Thank you so much ladies. I had a wonderful time.

Valley between ranch and Sun Valley

A beautiful valley that we drove a goat trail gravel road through on way to Sun Valley

View of Sun Valley.

A stunner of a Sun Valley view.

Salmon River sign

A little information about the Salmon River via this handy-dandy sign.

Me on top of rock

Look at me, on top of the world. Well, on top of that big boulder anyway.

Goat trail road sunset

A ssspectacular seen on our way back up the goat trail gravel road.

Dan and Gio with Elegia

My crew, Dan and Gio. It’s all about having the right tools. Ha. Thank you soooo very much for all your help guys.

Elegia in front of the little cabin

On the way back to the ranch from fishing I stopped by the little cabin that I love so much. I will make it back. And I will stay here. Lani said I could.

Kayla, Jess, Gio and I

A group photo with Kayla, Jess, me and Gio taken right before I shoved off. And Lani was behind the camera. It was really difficult for me to leave. I started getting quite misty as I rode off. I miss you all. I will return.