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Eight Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing program participants had the tremendous good fortune to spend a week fishing for salmon on the Goodnews River in Alaska! The trip was hosted by the folks at the Goodnews River Lodge and the participants were selected from different programs across the US.

This trip was made possible by a very generous grant awarded to PHWFF by the Harnish Foundation out of Tukwila, WA.  This grant covered all the costs for this trip of a lifetime to include the airfare of all eight PHWFF participants.

The travel getting there was a little bit long, but exciting. Once they arrived however, the beauty and peacefulness was amazing!

The participants spent six and a half days fishing for King Salmon, Sockeyes, Humpys, Dolly Varden and Chum. There were opportunities to fish for Rainbows and even Arctic Greyling. Some of the vets took an opportunity to take a hike to an old gold dredge left from back in the day.

Mike Gorton and his wife Dawn, owners of the Goodnews River Lodge, met with vets as they arrived making them feel welcome and right at home. The whole staff at the lodge were terrific. Karen Gorton, the head chef, made sure everyone was well fed. Of course she prepared absolutely delicious meals that no one expected. The Salmon Wellington was awesome!

Everyone at the lodge spent time talking with the vets and the guides kept the guys on the fish! John, Alex, Ross, Mitchel, Kyle, Jan and Cratty were terrific guides. They took the time to help educate the fishermen on the different salmon and how to fish for them. We’re not sure if the guides kept the bears at bay, but bear tracks on top of fisherman foot prints can make one at least a little more aware of his surroundings.

The vets took hundreds of photos and shared them with each other. New friendships made and an experience none of the participants will soon forget!