8 AFF members ventured into the Pasayten Wilderness to "claim our name" as Alpine Fly Fishers Our Group: Bob Alston, Pat Blackwell, Brent Byquist, Steve Egge, Fred Fishback, Doug and Julia Smith, and Mike Velke.
We booked our trip through Cascade Wilderness Outfitters and everyone had an experience that was above their expectations. We had such an outstanding experience we thought it was worth a section of the AFF web site. You just have to do this trip at some point. We booked the 3rd week of July to make sure the snow had a chance to melt and that the wildflowers were out. We hit it right this year on both counts. Steve and Jess Darwood are great with horses and know how to make you feel at ease. They entertained us with stories, jokes, and musings around the campfire at night. In one of those sessions, Fred Fishback liked this quote from Steve Darwood: "Never took a vacation until I was 50...went to Virginia Beach with some gal that invited me." His quote represented what cowboys face daily: chores, work, more chores and more work. Little time for the extras such as vacations, travel. It makes you realize just how busy a world most of us live in. Thanks everyone for making this 6 day trip a place "far from the cares that are" (Robert Service in the Shooting of Dan McGrew).
We met Steve and Jess Darwood of CWO at Three Fingered Jacks in Winthrop after we had breakfast and followed them to their staging area below the Andrews Creek trail head. Here they loaded our gear on mules and assigned us horses for our journey. Gale Brown, our cook and trail guide, led us up the Andrews Creek trail to a meadow north of "Spanish Camp" ( log cabin used by forest service). Steve and Jess Darwood followed with the mules and supplies, passing us we paused for lunch half way up the trail. Upon our arrival there was a wall tent set up as our base camp. The campsite was complete with a nearby ringed fire pit for night time activities, a spring which offered clean cool water, trees to offer shade and ample tents for 2 to a tent sleeping. .
From this location we ventured out daily on horseback, riding to various alpine lakes and taking in scenery along the way. Jess or Steve handled the surefooted mules which were used to haul our float tubes and fishing gear.
We fished Lower Cathedral Lake, Upper Cathedral Lake, Caldwell Lake, and Remmel Lake during our stay. Click on the above links for details. All the lakes were above the 6000 foot level.