This photo essay documents a few days floating the Sol Duc and Bogachiel Rivers of the Olympic Peninsula (OP) for steelhead. My guides were two childhood friends, brothers Phil and Luke Rudat, from my hometown in rural Washington. As a sort of reunion with them, I joined in on an annual trip they make up to the OP to tempt fate into granting a rare fortune for those parts: sun and steelhead.
Our hope was answered with a 20 minute reprieve from the rain on our first day. During those twenty minutes, Phil caught two steelhead. But, as quickly as the skies opened, they closed again, this time heavier, and a bit more somber. It felt more like a tombstone than cloud cover.
For the next three days the weather gave us every bit of possible nastiness it could muster: tearing wind, torrential rain, piercing hail, soggy snow, and frigid sleet.
And we didn't catch another fish.
Always grateful for the chance to get out there, we still wrapped up with heavy sighs and made our way home. As they do every year, Phil and Luke, still wet from the rain in the cab of their truck. started the quasi-spiritual rite of crossing fingers, tying streamers, and praying that--just maybe--next year they''ll have better favor from the soggy-souled gods of the OP.
Outerwear that kept Phil, Luke, and myself dry and comfortable was generously provided by Mountain Standard.