Imagine a fly fishing trip to Argentina which involved chasing sea runs in the Rio Grande and Rio Gallegos, hunting steelhead in the Rio Santa Cruz, visiting famous Lago Strobel in Patagonia and stalking big browns and brookies in undiscovered lakes. That is exactly what four lucky anglers experienced during Rivers of Recovery’s inaugural “Dream Trip” benefit. Rivers of Recovery hosted this epic, 2-week “do-it-yourself” fishing extravaganza with the help of our Argentina friends and assistance from our comrades at LOOP Argentina. Stays at 5 Star lodges were eschewed in favor of campsites along the rivers. Instead of expensive restaurant meals, we had traditional parrilla and asado prepared by our friends in their homes alongside their families and friends. It was the perfect balance between extraordinary fishing, making new friends and embracing another culture.There was also plenty of adventure. We got our Hi-Lux stuck in a field at 2 o’clock in the morning; we drove for countless hours on the famed “Ruta 40,” which 24 hours of rain had transformed into perilous mud bog; we were caught in a flashflood on the Rio Barrancoso; we drove the infamous Jurassic Lake road with a flat tire. Through it all we never managed to stop having fun.On this year’s trip was professional photographer Leif Milling from Sweden, his friends Stig Nordberg and Birger Nordfjell. Our special guest was Dan Laffin, Staff Sgt. U.S. Army (retired) and Purple Heart recipient. Each angler brought enthusiasm, a determined sense of adventure and an unflagging ability to be kiddingly mocked by our local hosts. We were all “boludos” at least once or twice a day. This name, they said, is merely a term of endearment–although it roughly translates to “idiot.” Here are responses from the participants:
“Our journey through Argentina was not so much about fly fishing as it was about friendship. I learned something new about fly fishing every day; but I learned more about different cultures and a lot more about myself. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and helped me to work through some of my issues. I feel that no matter where you come from or what your background is, fly fishing has the ability to put us all together on the same page. It transcends language barriers, borders and politics and meets at an understanding that we are all together in this world. There is no way I could have experienced this without Rivers of Recovery.” – Dan Laffin
“I have fished with a fly since I was 7 years old. This has been far out the most spectacular experience I ever have made. To have the benefit knowing fly fishermen in an environment like the Patagonia in Argentina is something you wish that every fellow fisherman will be able to do. The organization and the companionship on this trip have been fantastic!” – Birger Nordfjell
“Our journey to Argentina is further evidence of fly fishing’s extraordinary ability to connect people. I would sum it up in these three words: fly fishing, friendship and fulfilled dreams.” – Stig Nordberg
With the incredible success of this year’s event now behind us, we will begin organizing next year’s event. Please contact [email protected] for information about the 2010 Rivers of Recovery “Dream Trip” benefit. All proceeds from these trips go to Rivers Of Recovery, a nonprofit organization which provides clinically-designed recreational rehabilitation programs to disabled veterans and their families. Visit Rivers Of Recovery for more details and photos from the trip. Thanks and we hope see you next year!