Argentina | The Beginning: Sleep Deprived Oddities
Words and Photo: Bryan Gregson
There are many pipedream marvels and questions I ask myself when I travel. Friends and family are always curious and the interrogation begins. On this particular endeavor one question stood out: why would you leave one of the best trout waters on the planet to travel halfway around the globe to chase more trout? At first the query caught me off guard. It was a point of view I hadn’t given any thought on, until now.
Since I was a kid I’ve always fantasized about wild adventures in far-off lands. One might say I am a dreamer. This journey was no different. I envision jagged mountains towering above grand valley floors, eager wild fish, local food, and an learning from another part of the world though my camera. I also thought on a promise I made years ago, and a enormous beetle pattern.
It was summer of 2010 on the Henry’s Fork, a few traveling Argentines needed a place to crash-n-fish. My couch, floor space and fridge are always open to fellow wanderers. This time was no different, floor space occupied. The great thing about being a fisherman is no matter where you are in the world we have a common bond and we all are connected through fish. Talk of wild trout and our different waters rounded out the major conversation topics for the next few weeks. One evening I plucked a beetle pattern off a cheap wooden picture frame hanging on my wall. It was a ridiculously large size 2/0 beetle pattern to be precise. I asked half jokingly if a fish down there would eat this overly aggressive pattern. Without hesitation he replied, of course. I was a bit surprised with the answer. Instantly a seed was planted in my mind. All too soon the Argentine crew parted ways, continuing on their travels. I made a promise to come visit, one day I said, and I meant it. That was when I first met “Oggy”. And that was when I first started dreaming about the beetle.
3 years, 4-hours of driving, 2 airlines and three-quarters of the way through 29-hours of travel later, there I was in the middle of the night on an 8-hour layover in Miami. I was delirious and sitting sluggishly in a confined airport seat. I remember thinking I would’ve rather spent the extra few hundred bucks to still be home sleeping and not have this senseless flight schedule. Reality always hits, I’m a traveling photographer, who chases fish. Luxury bank accounts and first class tickets are not in the cards, so I get, layovers, and happily take every one of them.
I recall staring at a fluorescent chartreuse plastic luggage wrapping station and doubting if anyone really uses the hideous looking things. Subsequently I remember unexpectedly hoping my entire luggage arrives safely in one piece. I had just come from a whirlwind fall/winter workload and was running on fumes at this point. I was a bit off my rocker, but as always, that’s just how I like it. Nonetheless, I was hallucinating due to the lack of sleep but excited to meet up with the crew. I was too meet up with Bart and Dexter in Buenos Aries before heading off to explore remote Argentina. At this point those two where at home comfortably sleeping but will beat me to Buenos Aries. That’s what a great savings on airline tickets will do for you, happy midnight layovers.
The airport was quiet that night. The hallways were almost empty except for a few other random midnight travelers, who were all somehow sleeping. I found myself stuffed in a chair with the hard plastic edge of the headrest pressing firmly in the back of my skull, headphones in and hat over my eyes. I remember dreaming about the possibilities of a fish eating that oversized beetle over and over and over and over. On my sleepless vision quest I kept meticulously wondering if it was going to be a big smash ‘n grab, or a gently sip from underneath. I contemplated if it was going to be from the jaws of a giant brown trout or a feisty rainbow. I visualized how I was going to set the hook, how the fight might go. For hours on end I sorted though dozen of scenarios, intensely visualizing each one. I pondered on all the magical wonders I was about to photograph.
An 8-hour layover in the middle of the night while cramped in a chair too tired to sleep and too excited to rest creates a lot of inventive thinking and most of it I don’t even remember. However, I will always remember the fluorescent chartreuse plastic wrap station and the feeling of buoyant hope. I do know I never gave another thought to why I was leaving one of the best trout waters in the world to travel halfway around the globe to fish for more trout. I suppose personally it’s always been about the grand adventure good friends and the anticipation of the great unknown. Here we go…
“We’ll work it out” – Oggyism, March 2013