Exercise, Idaho and Fishing
Growing up, my father, grandfather, and uncles would take an annual trip to Montana to fish the Madison River, a small section of which runs between Hebgan Dam and Earthquake Lake. I would often go on these trips and though I know my father looked forward to them, I probably stopped him from doing more of his own fishing while he untangled my line, put more bait on my hook, and dealt with my “snags.” I would often complain when the fish weren’t biting that I was cold and bored. Eventually, as school and life became busier, I stopped accompanying my father on the Madison River trips. Life took me to places further away from home—such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin—and the Madison River trips turned into forgone memories. After moving to Eastern Idaho to start my physiatry practice this summer and being so close to the annual fishing trip destination, I decided to join my father and grandfather once again at the Madison River after a more than 15 year absence. I noticed that time had changed my perspective somewhat and that instead of focusing on the cold and silence that bothered me in my youth, I enjoyed the beauty of being out on the river and the challenge of reeling in the biggest brown trout. My grandfather, who has had some recent difficulties with his health, came along and shared with me that he had fished this specific section of the Madison River for 60 straight years. His balance and vertigo doesn’t allow him to wade into the river or venture far from where we park the car, but his persistence in doing something that he loves for so many years impressed me. I preach about staying active and exercising to patients on a day-to- day basis and it was wonderful to witness my grandfather—an active outdoorsman for much of his life—continuing to enjoy the outdoors, despite some physical limitations. I was glad to be reunited with fishing after so many years away and I hope to be able to stay active and enjoy life as my grandfather has well into old age.