One of the highlights of my year is the annual fly fishing trip I take with a group of men that have been known as “Men Who Fly Fish.” They’ve had that title for many years. This year they decided they needed a new, more formal name. I’m not sure why a new name was needed, but they are now known as “The Wulff Pack.”
Wulff is not a misspelling but comes from Lee Wulff. He invented the Royal Wulff fly. So now we all have Royal Wulff’s to attach to our hats or fishing vests. It wouldn’t surprise me if one or two of the group had tattoos of Royal Wulffs on their bodies next year. These are a dedicated group of men.
The original Wulff Pack membership consisted of a lawyer, a dentist, a radiologist, a pediatrician, a retired grocer and a retired fly fishing guide. This year, the membership was expanded to include another lawyer, a real estate developer, a college professor and a forester. As you can see, except for the fly fishing guide, this is a well-educated group. They should be able to handle any situation that comes up.
This year’s trip was to the Missouri River in Montana. We stayed in the town of Wolf Creek. Wolf Creek has one fly shop, one motel, a gas station with a convenience store, two restaurants, one of which is closed and the other that is only open four days a week, and a bar that is always open. The motel, while clean and well-maintained, was very basic. There were no televisions or phones in the rooms. Thankfully there was WiFi and cell coverage. The Wulff Pack appreciates fine restaurants, and rooms with TVs, so sports or “Dancing With The Stars” can be watched. Luckily, one club member is also a gourmet chef and has always had a full kitchen to ply his hobby. I will say, he did make the best of a small kitchenette.
In addition to the challenge of basic rooms and restaurants, the weather was the pits. We had snow, rain, wind, sleet, hail and a little sunshine. It seems the only things that missed us were fire and pestilence. However, as usual, this club rolled with the punches. This wasn’t the first time we have had uncomfortable conditions. What did get my attention were the things that members forgot.
For instance, one of the club members forgot the belt to his waders, which he discovered were leaking. He didn’t think to test them out since he only wears them four or five days a year. Also, his cigar cutter was broken. Guess who’s extra belt and cutter he borrowed? Another member left his rain jacket safe in the motel on our first day of fishing. Needless to say, it rained. The same member with the cigar cutter had to loan him a wind shirt to help keep the rain off. A founding member left his wading boots in the truck. He sat in the rain and cold without his waders. I would have put them on without the boots and been real careful not to stand up in the boat. However, I wasn’t around to offer advice. And one of the young new members got lost on the way back to the motel at the end of the day. I won’t even begin to tell you how long it took him to find his way home.
As you can see, The Wulff Pack is suffering from memory loss. This is happening more often to this group, and it makes me wonder if next year’s trip will happen, not because no one is interested in going, but because no one will remember to schedule and plan the trip. I can only hope the younger members step up and get us older members to the trip destination. I’m also concerned the younger members will go without us and then tell us what a great time we had. I’m afraid we would believe them.
Getting old is scary.
Reach Don Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.