The annual pilgrimage approacheth

I’ve written about the Firehole Rangers’ annual pilgrimage to our namesake river so many times that there’s really little left to say, especially given the nature of the trip. It’s a trip of traditions with very few changes year to year—just the way we like it. That having been said, there are a few known changes this year.

Here is what we know will be different about the trip:

  1. For the first time in 5 years, Morris’ Soccer Mom Van will not make the trip this year because it was finally put out to pasture. No longer will the Rangers be traveling in comfortable shame.
  2. We’re fishing the Missouri on Day 1, on our way to West Yellowstone.
  3. On Day 4 we’re fishing some as-of-yet-to-be-determined river around Twin Bridges.
  4. We are not stopping to fish Shit Rock Creek on our way home. Thank gawd.

Here’s what we know will be the same about the trip:

  1. We’re staying at the Ho Hum. We anticipate the presence of cats.
  2. We will encounter hoards of tourists in Yellowstone. We still don’t consider ourselves tourists because we’re there to fish.
  3. We’re fishing the Firehole on Day 2. Water looks to be a bit high this year which may or may not affect the catch rate.
  4. We’re fishing the Madison on Day 3. It will be higher this year than in the past 2-3 years. I’ve done better than usual the last 2-3 years.
  5. The trip will be be over before we know what happened. By the time we return home we’ll already have begun looking forward to next year.

A few unknown things to ponder as we prepare for our departure:

  1. Jimmy is a man of many hats. How many will he bring this year and how many will he purchase on the trip? Bonus question: what will his new shoes look like?
  2. How many fish will Marck catch on the Firehole? More than 40 but less than 273?
  3. How many fish will Goose catch on the Madison? More or less than one but fewer than two?
  4. Will the UA catch more, or fewer, fish than Goose on the Madison?
  5. After Nash’s post-trip surgery last year to sew his bleeding nose closed, will he be able to smell the cats of the Ho Hum? The only way to find out is to assign him the task of checking us in this year.
  6. This marks Morris’ 5th year as a Rookie Ranger. Will he finally finish an entire meal and be granted veteran, Big Boy Ranger status?
  7. How many tourists will be observed doing stupid things with regard to wildlife?
  8. Will it rain, snow and shine on us within the same day while in the Park?

If you care to take a stab at answering those 8 questions, there may or may not (probably the latter) be a prize for the commenter with the most correct answers. But you have to leave a comment on the blog—NOT in an email—prior to our return from the pilgrimage. If you subscribe via email to the UA, simply click on the headline (which is a link to the website). Read it there—on the website. Click to leave a comment. It’s that easy.

And so we ride…




  1. Marck

    1. 1 but it must be $20 or under
    1A. Simms neon pink and tan.
    2. N/A. I never count.
    3. More. Only if the old guy doesn’t nap after lunch.
    4. I believe zero would be your average high water total.
    5. Only if they surgically removed the tampons.
    6. Never happen!!!
    7. 32
    8. Given

    • Kirk Werner

      Hey, damnit. The first year you and I fished the Madison, it was higher than it’s been since. And I caught one fish that day. How could you forget that sickly, lethargic, slime-covered rainbow? I’m crushed.

  2. Mike

    1. No idea
    2. No idea
    3. No idea
    4. No idea
    5. No idea
    6. No idea
    7. 22 if you are focused on fishing, 112 if you pay attention to baby tatanka rescuers
    8. Duh
    Whether I win or not, I hope you all have a grand time.

    • Kirk Werner

      You may just end up a winner due to lack of participation by the other 3 who read this blog.

  3. howard levett

    I thought long and hard about this Kirk and decided I didn’t care enough to enter. I’ve been looking to the pilgrimage for several years now and have appointed myself as 1st Imaginary Firehole Ranger. I need a logo and then I’m official.

    Oh, have fun fellow rangers!

  4. Betsy

    Need stickers. Waiting list? Can you notify me when available again?

    • The Fading Angler

      Agreed! I’ll reserve a spot on the new Yeti for a (an?) UA sticker if you decide to print up a new batch!

      To heck with the contest! Crawl out of your writer’s funk and regale us with tales of woe and slapstick commedy, of the Mo’ and the Madison, of the Firehead and Beaverhole! (Insert juvenile “Beavis and Butthead” laughter here)

      Or just give us some Drivel® .

      • Kirk Werner

        Good Lord, man—I’ve been home for 26 hours and you’re already expecting Drivel®? That sort of quality writing takes time. Now, go fishing. I’ll have something for you when you’re back.

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