It was a chilly wind from the west blowing light snow into Stevensville Thursday evening. Todd, Wen and I drove up the Bitterroot valley to Stevi for a soccer scrimmage between Stevi and FC Mso. There is a tournament in Stevensville this weekend for the older local clubs. Also this weekend there is a tournament in Boise, where Molly has shuttled off with our youngest, Seth and various other Missoula teams. Wen, our labrador, and I took the opportunity to get reacquainted Thursday with an area I used to waterfowl hunt fairly often in the early nineties. While the two clubs played, I drove over to the Metcalf Wildlife Refuge area to take in some old still familiar sites. The actual refuge was closed to access along the ponds and lakes to give the birds nesting peace. So, we drove over to the area along the Bitterroot river upstream from the Stevi golf course and took a hike down stream. I photographed the mountains above the river and took a shot or two above a small channel along the out of bounds section of one of the nine holes. We managed to find an old Top-flite ball nestled among a thick briar patch between the channel and the main river. Someone had a pretty significant slice, I reckoned. There were a few other hikers with their dogs in the area as well who stayed on some of the paths at the river access. I threw Wen’s bumper into the river a few times wary of her age and the cold water this time of year. The river is clear with the temps in the mountains now reaching freezing again following the recent rains. The fishing season is not open, but I have to admit the thought of casting a few flies did cross my mind. Actually, I even entertained the thought of a spinner or spoon for that matter. Those will have to wait a little while. Skwalas will be surfacing pretty soon, though. Floating the Stevi to Florence section has always been a good time and holds many good fishing and hunting memories. Walking along the river, it was nice to clear the mind of work related thoughts and the present goings-on in the world. The Bitterroot has a tendency to graciously do so.