My First Trip to a River

Margaret Paddock | Big Fork Montana

I was about 7 when we visited relatives in Big Fork, Mt. My family were not outdoor people, but this relative, Jack Whitney, really was. He lived on a mountain in a cabin that he built, was an expert bowman and in the winter he iced fished too. He also helped patrol the forest for poachers to protect the wildlife.

One afternoon he asked if I’d like to go fishing. Of course I did as I’d never been before and I was always up for an adventure. He took me to a bridge on the Flathead River on the property of his friends, the Golds. What a beautiful sight it was. The clear, running water with the big trees all around and nothing to hear but the wonderful sound of the rushing water. After all these years -60+ I can still see it in my mind.

To say the fish were abundant is almost an understatement. I think I caught 12 in less than 1/2 hour!

As I said this was my first visit to a river and the impression it made on me would last a lifetime. How could anyone want to destroy the beauty and life giving rivers that all of wildlife is so dependent on and we humans are too?

Years later because of that adventure I was able to participate with various state, federal and local agencies to create a preserve for 35 miles of the Verde River in Arizona. Jack has passed from this world, but his love that he passed on to me for the outdoors remains in that preserve and I’m sure with many other people and places.

Support the protection of 5,000 new miles of wild and scenic rivers