I am not accomplished at catching fish. But bushes, logs, the back of my arm, my hood? I’m money. So when the heli drops us on the Talachulitina River, I secretly yearn to be back in familiar territory, high in the massive, treeless AK peaks with a pair of K2 Sideseths on my feet.
That feeling lasts about six minutes. Mike Overcast, our guide and co-owner of TML, whose pale eyes and strong presence bring great glaciers to mind, slings a net of Pilsner Urquells in the river to cool while he inflates the raft and hands me a rod. The river is clear and cold. Sunlight drapes down the banks, lush with giant ferns that make you think a brontosaurus could be lurking nearby, and the quiet is the comfortable sort you feel when you’re with old friends.
Mike offers some pointers, and soon I’m feeling the line suck off the green water as I load up the rod, back cast and lay it down well enough to tempt my first rainbow. Flipping and splashing, the fish fights nobly—I’m smiling so hard I think my face might stick.