After driving for four days from New Orleans, we finally made it to Ft. Smith, Montana and the starting point of our summer adventure. I hate the word “adventure” but, hey, it’s not as pukey-sounding as “journey.”
When we managed to wipe the million and one different species of insect who decided to commit suicide off of our windshield, I realized that the town of Ft. Smith is the smallest freakin town I’ve ever seen. When I say small, you can literally turn your head from left to right and not miss a single building in the entire town. I also learned a major lesson here about the realities of small town gossip.
For future reference to my older and, hopefully, wiser and more sober-self: in a town that has a population of 101 people DO NOT get drunk and flash anyone, DO NOT take a poop on the side of the river, DO NOT ask someone if “they speak English” when they do not understand you’re questions, DO NOT grab a whiskey bottle out of someone’s hand and proceed to spit it out all over the ground at their feet, DO NOT listen to your boyfriend when he asks you to shave his head after the two of you have enjoyed numerous libations, DO NOT listen to your boyfriend’s brother when he makes the same request, and finally DO NOT give the town’s most famous fly-fishing guide/gossip monger a lap dance, then ask him if you can see his colostomy bag (just kidding, Jim, I love your bag).
Rumor mill aside, we had an incredible time fly-fishing on the Bighorn River with our wonderful guides. The Southerner’s family learned that I graduated with high honors from the school of Gross and Disgusting and, mom, I definitely lost my glamour.
Things to know if you’re going to fly-fish in Ft. Smith in the summer:
1. The best guides are father and son team Jim and Beau. They are incredibly good teachers and more importantly, story-tellers. They will go out of their way to make sure you have a great time and catch a lot of fish. They are also super patient with beginners (me) and won’t let up until you get it right. If I never hear the words, “don’t break your wrist,” again in my life I will die a happy woman.
2. If you’re a girl: run like hell. Just kidding. But if you are even remotely attractive (if you’ve shaved your legs and don’t have any visible STDs you qualify) be prepared to be the recipient of some intense staring and ogling from old whiteys who’ve not seen a woman for a few days or sometimes weeks.
3. There’s only two restaurants located directly in the town. I only tried Polly’s Place and it’s good. I could have eaten that chicken friend steak several more times. The service is friendly and the meals are well priced. The other place in town has a pre-fixed menu and is much more expensive. It might be nice if you wanted a night off from Polly’s though.
4. Bring a really good hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and LOTS of alcohol. Ft. Smith is a dry town and both restaurants are BYOB. After spending $500.00 on beer, wine, and whiskey for five people we ran out of beer on day 3 and everything was gone by day 4. If you’re a recovering alcoholic or a pansy, you’ll have nothing to worry about.