North Fork of The Shoshone River (photo courtesy of NOAA/NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service)
Thursday, August 17, 1995
I enjoy fishing, and I decided that at some point on our Wyoming vacation I was going to wet a line in this state known for its trout waters. I figured today was the day. We got up got ready, and had breakfast at Gold Mine in Gardiner. We picked up some snacks and some film and then we were on our way. We retraced our route into the park, and after a couple of hours we were at the East Entrance to the park.
My plan was to try some lures in the river, the North Fork of the Shoshone River, which ran parallel to the highway that would take us back to Cody.
But, I also need a fishing license. I figured I would stop at a convenience store or other such establishment on the way. When the road signs announced the proximity of Absaroka Mountain Lodge, and that they offered fishing, I figured they might sell licenses. They did, and six dollars later, I was on my way.
The Pagoda House
We pulled over on the shoulder at a spot not too far from Wapiti, WY, when the river meandered near the highway. Margo and the girls were not interesting in fishing. But, the area was scenic and the river was begging them to throw rocks in it. So they headed downstream and I headed up stream. I spent a half hour casting, and reeling. Casting and reeling. I tried every lure in my box, and several spots in the river. I came to one conclusion; there were no fish in the Shoshone River.
With that incontrovertible fact established, we repacked the car and continued our trek home. On the way we passed a pagoda style house on a hill. An honest to goodness Asian pagoda in the middle of Wyoming! I did some research years later, and found that is was to be a private residence. An architect spent years building it himself, without benefit of nails. But, he died when he fell off the roof. His kids inherited the place, but really had no interest in it. One of the kids died in a rafting accident on the nearby Shoshone River. Now the house seems to have aquired a reputation as cursed. The remaining family was having a hard time selling it. Oh, well. Next stop Thermopolis!