• The Pride of Being a Guide

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    From Reside Foundation
    March 18, 2016
    Words by Emerald LaFortune
    Photography by Nate Wilson, Aaron Beck and Tanner Haskins

    A serious nine year old boy is perched on the front of my boat. In one hand he grips a spinning rod, his other hand is clenched on a blue cam strap. We’ve just passed the confluence of the Snake River and the Salmon River. It feels like a symbolic spot, Idaho’s wildest river and it’s most domesticated meeting to shake hands. I almost speak up, ask this kid what he thinks these two rivers are trying to tell us. Then I remember he is nine and keep quiet. As the surging rapids of the confluence turn to glassy flat water, he turns to look me in the eye.

    “What’s your favorite animal, Emerald?” he questions.

    “Probably a river otter?” I reply, caught off guard.

    He studies me for a second.

    “That is a water animal. What is your favorite land animal?”

    “Um. Elephant.” I say. It’s the end of a long day and it’s the first that comes to mind.

    He turns around and sends his lure splashing into the eddy line on our left.

    “What’s your favorite water animal?” I ask, liking the way kids don’t expect much continuity in their conversations.

    “Salmon,” he states without hesitation, slowly reeling his lure back in to the boat.

    “Good one,” I reply. Want to know something cool about salmon?”

    He nods, gaze on his line skittering through the deep, green water.

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