By Joshua Bergan
The nearby jagged peak slowly faded from our view as the air tinged an eerie burgundy orange, and we debated bailing for the safety of our SUV. A thunderstorm had just rolled through and the smoke had quickly gotten considerably worse. Lacking cell reception, we had no way of knowing if a new fire had spawned nearby. We made plans to jump in the lake if an inferno came roaring up over the hills, though that wasn’t ideal as the lows were forecast to be in the 30s that night. Anxiety consumed the three of us, but we made the decision to stay and wait.
This incredibly smoky evening was the culmination of what we would later learn was the fishing gods’ efforts to keep us away from a certain lake this past summer—the gods’ thwarts made this already roughly our Plan F. A couple of friends and I were backpacking and fishing along the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) high above Montana’s famous trout streams.
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