The last Arctic grayling of the day smacked an olive conehead streamer at 10:30 P.M., just as the first blush of the northern Alaska twilight turned low clouds yellow and orange and pink. The fish was 3 pounds, easy—only slightly larger than the grayling I'd caught a few minutes earlier, and the one landed just a few minutes before that.
I trudged across the cobble, scattering salmon fry from the shallows, and sat down in wet sand pocked with bear and wolf tracks. I was tired. Early that morning we'd woken in a makeshift camp perched high on a ridge overlooking the Yukon Flats. We had shared the panorama with a South African couple circumnavigating the world in a customized six-wheel-drive Land Rover, then picked our way north, through dense spruce woods and then alpine tundra, chasing willow ptarmigan with bows and casting dry flies to willing grayling. We hardly blinked when we crossed the Arctic Circle. We never slowed for the scenic vistas marked by roadside signs. Fish. Hunt. Fish some more. No time for tourist stops.
The day before we'd hunted spruce grouse in dense conifer and birch thickets, crossed the Yukon River, changed our first flat tire, and fished along the way, all the while skimmed with a slick of bug dope, sweat, and road grime. And the day before that: more of the same.
Now I stretched out on the gravel bar, yawning, and thought: This is what I came for. Upstream, the Jim River flowed from the high ramparts of Alaska's Brooks Range; downstream it braided through islands of gravel and sand. I had a tent pitched in the woods a mile away, fish for breakfast, bear spray on my belt, and nowhere else to be. I'd come for the biggest bite I could take out of Alaska in a single two-week period.
That sounds fun!
I went to the very first groom expo in PA they had and the contest at the time then was a "mat" contest. Bring a mat decorated/groomed/whatever to be something else.... that was pretty off the wall and actually quite fun.
Scavenger hunt would be cool.... in all these years I've certainly acquired some oddball items and the packrat in me won't let me toss anything out:)