A Beer Goes Fishing
I met a beer once. She was the last one in an inch of cold water. And by the look of her label, I could tell that this bottle was no stranger to the bottom of the cooler.
She had seen it all.
In and out of two coolers, from fresh ice to warm water, a few months of camping from Idaho to the Big Hole river in Montana, to the Henry’s Fork of the Snake river in southern Idaho, to Jackson Hole Wyoming, back through Northern Idaho and into British Colombia, and then back down to Oregon. A well traveled bottle of beer indeed.
She was in the tent every night. Most of the time luke warm by the end of it. Tying flies by lantern on the cooler, a thirsty tier lifts up the lid and grabs without looking. Then we just stopped looking.
This beer sat on the bank of the Kootney River in British Colombia, remaining unscathed as countless of her kin were being abducted from the cooler left and right. We sat on them and watched one river flow into another, and talked about how many Bull Trout were sitting in the confluence.
Through thick and thin, from sobriety to deep inebriation, this bottle made it. She saw us at our worst- our most thirsty, and our most stumbly. But she held her ground and for whatever reason, the bottle remained untouched.
By the time she was in my hands hands for the first and last time, I had known her for close to two months, a relationship- who knew I’d be better suited for a relationship with a bottle of beer than an actual woman… But anyway, we were in Maupin, Oregon- fishing the Deschutes River for Steelhead, the last leg of our road trip. We were friends at this point, but I was thirsty, and she was all that was left. The Moose Drool stood no chance. And as the steelhead remained unfound, this beer was not so lucky.
Reminiscing, we talked about how long the bottle had been in the cooler. And how it was pretty symbolic that she made it all the way through our trip. It was like when we were packing up to go to the next river, and when checking our beer situation, we would see this aged and beat-up bottle and she reminded us to keep moving, to keep looking for trout- and to grab one of the shittier beers first.
And when she came to my lips, there was no tingle of a fresh beer. It was skunked, and not much carbonation was left in the old widow. She felt rough to the touch and the label peeled easily off the glass like a wet napkin. The taste was dull, and most would have just tossed her in the garbage. But it was our last beer, and she had made it this far, and I could never disrespect a beverage with such stamina and will to live. Stories of the trip were told until the bottle was empty, Oregon was a good place for it to end.
The beer is gone, but at least we caught some fish along the way.
Tight Lines and Stay Core