Written by: John Van Vleet
[Editor’s Note: Orvis outdoor copywriter John Van Vleet has traveled to Alaska to be an instructor at the Bristol Bay River Academy, which we posted about back in April and which Orvis sponsors. He will be sending daily dispatches on his experiences.]
Not every day of the Bristol Bay River Academy is full of float plane trips, brown bears, and tests of mental and physical endurance. Today, for example, was a review day for the students’ final exam tomorrow.
The morning session was spent going over how to prepare for a day on the water, including what items guides need to bring with them, the basics of first aid, and how to cater to individual guests and their needs. The afternoon session was the last few hours for students to tie leaders, flies, and try to remember everything they’d learned the past few days. Several spent time casting out on the lawn, while others spun up a few last marabou-filled streamers.
One thing became abundantly clear as the groups split up to prepare: every one of them had come a long way from the introverted, awkward novices that arrived a few days prior. They were now jovial, outgoing, and knowledgeable guides preparing for their first-ever outing with clients.