Near the end of January a phenomenon hits many Montana residents known as “Cabin Fever.” Google defines cabin fever as: irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter. These symptoms began to settle in last week following recent weeks of sub-zero temperatures. Thankfully we had a break in the brutal cold and I took advantage by seeking out open water on Rock Creek and booking a Forest Service Cabin getaway for my wife and I.
As I headed towards Rock Creek last Wednesday, conditions seemed to be perfect for a productive afternoon on the water. Temperatures were hovering in the mid 40’s, the sun was trying to peak through the partly cloudy skies and I had a new supply of hand tied flies to demo. As I reached the creek I was discouraged to see that most of the ice from our sub-zero cold snap still choked the banks of the river. After driving downstream and discovering that the ice situation just got worse, I settled on the most open water that I could find and began stomping through the snow towards the partially open water. With water temperatures hovering around freezing, the fish weren’t exactly in a feeding frenzy. After dodging a few glaciers coming down stream, I did find a hole with a few cutthroat that sampled my homemade San Juan Worm.
On Thursday afternoon we packed up the truck, loaded up the dog, and headed to the Moose Lake cabin just a few minutes outside of Philipsburg. Forest Service Cabins have become one of our favorite winter getaways because of their wood burning stoves, peaceful settings and lack of cell phone coverage. When we reached the Moose Lake cabin I was determined to rally the truck down the quarter-mile snow packed road to get to the cabin. With the warm temperatures, my hefty Toyota Tundra quickly sunk into the slushy snowpack and we were stuck. Given the consistency of the snow, my tires were unable to gain traction. Using some “redneck” ingenuity, I shoved my floor mats under the front tires and eventually got the truck back on solid ground. Following the embarrassment and excitement of getting stuck, we finally packed all of our gear into the cozy cabin and we settled in with hot toddy’s and good books. Our relaxing evening was highlighted by a hearty dinner cooked over the wood stove, a good bottle of wine and schooling my wife in Texas Hold’em.
With this vacation from cabin fever, I can now return to the fly tying vise and patiently await the coming spring , or better yet, the next winter adventure.