Chi Wulff’s Vermont Chronicles 31 August: Scenic Shakeup

by Fire Girl Jess on August 31, 2014

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park.

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park.

It’s been a run-around-in-circles week in the Green Mountain (really, Green Hill) country, a fact which sadly has negated any attempt at fishing. As I wrote this on Friday, weekend plans consist of undertaking the ever-growing mass of “to do” paperwork that seems to be slowly encroaching on my folding table desk.

Said folding table is beginning to sag a wee bit in the middle…

Head on over to Chi Wulff for the rest of the post and some scenery from (roughly) four corners of the States.


Do It Now

by Fire Girl Jess on August 30, 2014

Time flies... get it done. Bumping down central Montana backroads in early summer.

Bumping down central Montana backroads in early summer.

It’s the finale of summer. The three-day weekend before the realities of school and work and the fall routine settle into place. The tourist town of Manchester is humming, and the chatter among the women’s catalog team at work is this is the last weekend to viably wear white pants.

I wouldn’t know… the closest thing I own to white pants is a faded pair of tan Carhartts.

At any rate, folks seem to be taking advantage of the pre-autumnal bliss and taking vacations, making grand weekend plans, and in general feeling a little itchy for some adventure. And while I can’t lay claim to the first two (vacation? What’s that?) I am indeed finding myself in need some adventure.

Here’s hoping this weekend churns out more than the anticipated try-to-dig-myself-out-of-the-freelance-paperwork-hole-that-just-keeps-growing session. Couple of fun pieces about to come out, with a couple more assignments determined this week. Stay tuned.

Sporting clays at the Orvis Wingshooting School in Manchester, Vermont.

Sporting clays at the Orvis Wingshooting School in Manchester, Vermont.

I did manage to escape the office for two days this week, attending the Orvis Wingshooting School here in Manchester. The mission was to gather ideas and information to re-write the school’s copy, but an agreeable by-product was two days of shotgunning practice. (And spending two days with a stellar group of pretty damn awesome instructors… random moments included discussing bagpiping and talking both the high and low points of various Russian swear words.) I now have the nod of approval to go out for a quail hunt; something I’m eager to get on the books.

It’s a whole new world, and I have the niggling feeling a few paychecks will be going toward the purchase of a shotgun this fall.

In other news, starting on a large project right now that somewhat fits the attitude found in this quote:

“I’d just say to aspiring journalists or writers—who I meet a lot of—do it now. Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.   -Ira Glass

For a few months now, I’ve been looking for something big to really sink my teeth into and run with. Seems like now is as good a time as any to start.

Go start something awesome this weekend.


The Other Side of Work

by Fire Girl Jess on August 26, 2014

Introductory copy for the hunting section on the Orvis website.

Introductory copy for the hunting section on the Orvis website.

Not my copy... but a very rare shot of me in front of the camera!

Not my copy… but a very rare shot of me in front of the camera!

The freelance side of things is always interesting. It’s fishing and conservation and disaster relief and horses and guns. Sometimes it’s portraits and weddings and event documentation. On the really good days, it’s fly rods and helicopters and passports. Rarely the same thing two days in a row.

This is a good thing. If it were the same, it wouldn’t be worth the effort.

That said, there is a kind of fun diversity in the “day job” work I do for Orvis as well. Here are a few examples of the writing side of things that occurs on the 8-to-5… still pretty damn fun.

I’m exceedingly lucky to get to work with some very talented, very passionate people. There’s very little point in spending your work life dealing with things you don’t enjoy, a fact a core team of the Orvis folks have figured out. Business meetings often start out with discussion of the past evening’s fishing, and there’s a cutthroat spring turkey hunting pool.

Now those are some proper priorities.

Intro to the Fall 2014 Orvis Hunting catalog.

Intro to the Fall 2014 Orvis Hunting catalog.


Chi Wulff’s Vermont Chronicles: Battenkill Blues

by Fire Girl Jess on August 24, 2014

Some days, hydrotherapy is where it's at.

Some days, hydrotherapy is where it’s at.

It’s a good morning. By 8AM, already had much of the day’s work done, and I’m currently sitting here cross-legged on the couch, catching up on email, a mug of very hot coffee steaming next to me. Town is still pretty quiet (I have yet to live in a tourist town where the tourists like to get up early) which is always a positive thing.

Morale is somewhat helped by the fact I’m spending the next two days in an Orvis Shooting School here in Manchester, hopefully finding a working solution for my left eye dominance and right handedness. And finding fodder to re-write the school copy for Orvis.

For this week’s Vermont Chronicles on Chi Wulff, head over to read a quick recap of fellow Orvis-ite Jackie and I escaping to the Battenkill after a day in the office. Not a strong photography light evening, but it worked.

Water is always a calming thing; somehow it is far muddle to think through big thoughts when listening to the rush of moving H20. In Bozeman, I spent way too many nights driving the canyon to Big Sky after work to either fish or just sit next to the river and write. (I still hold to the fact that real writing, deep writing deserves pen and paper, not a computer screen.) On the Missouri, I’d drive the backroads and spend the evening in a field next to the river. Here, I often drive to the Battenkill or the Roaring Branch during my lunch break, either fishing or just sitting and listening.

Austin was a bit more challenging. Somehow decorative ponds with fountains don’t quite do it for me.

At any rate, hope you all are getting out and enjoying some water of your own this weekend!


Battenkill in August

by Fire Girl Jess on August 20, 2014

Jackie Jordan logging some two-handed practice on the Battenkill River.

Jackie Jordan logs some two-handed practice on the Battenkill River.

Yesterday after work, I needed some time to unplug. Away from the computer. Away from the phone.

Water so often seems to be the answer.

Orvis friend Jackie and I hit the neighboring Battenkill River. I clambered into waders (skirt be damned), rigged a rod, and slung the camera over my shoulder.

It was a good night.

Can’t wait to see fall colors up here.


Today on Chi Wulff: Ten Questions with Frogman Outdoors

by Fire Girl Jess on August 17, 2014

The Chi Wulff gang is not shy in our support and admiration for the armed forces. Some of my very best friends are (or have been) in the special operations community, and hands-down my favorite photojournalism assignments have been spent on military bases and wading through nighttime field training exercises. Lots of respect for that group.

And so, at IFTD last month, when Rob Snowhite, an Alexandria, Virginia based guide and podcaster introduced me to three gentlemen with a pretty cool story, morale for the day improved greatly. These were the founders of Frogman Outdoors, a small nonprofit organization which provides ill, injured, and wounded SOCOM veterans a recreational rehabilitation opportunity via guided saltwater fishing trips on the Florida coast.

Naturally, I was interested. After a long talk in the aisleways of IFTD and several emails since, I’ve been excited to learn a bit more about the impressive team behind the organization, and their niche mission to help their brethren.

I asked the guys if they’d be willing to take a whack at ten questions for Chi Wulff, and here’s what came back a few days ago. Head on over and give it a read!


I was surprised and very flattered when Chi Wulff editor Mark (full disclosure, also my dad) sent me a link to Mat Trevors’ post about Chi Wulff and the McGlothlin family adventures. Wow, nothing better to bump up writing inspiration (and nice to know people actually read this drivel.)

Thanks so much for the kind words, Mat! We’re uber-flattered.

For some weekend reading, head on over to Mat’s blog, The Saltwater Journal, and imbibe some Pacific Northwest fishing goodness.