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E-bikes and eDNA
Supported by Trout Unlimited
In the summer of 2021, we embarked on a search into Washington state’s North Cascades to shadow North Sound Trout Unlimited chapter president Bridget Moran as she continued the chapters Environmental DNA (eDNA) project. Through genetic testing of water samples it is possible to determine what species of fish are present in a watershed without catching or seeing them. We also looked deep and wide for traces of Sasquatch.
In summer 2022, we went back for more, this time swapping four wheels for two. We arrived on dirt roads through low clouds, light rain and just enough fog to wonder about the weather ahead, which added a misty mood to an otherwise typical Pacific Northwest summer.
Electric bikes poured out of vehicles, along with snack-filled backpacks for the calorie burn, then eDNA sampling gear and plenty of fly fishing equipment. The bikes would power us through washed-out forest service roads deep into North Cascade Sasquatch territory.
We explored a beautiful watershed, looking for lively trout with both fly rods and science. Though we hit 20 mph on the downhills, the many long inclines slowed us to a saddle-sore crawl. Slow spells of fishing improved with a slight rise in water temperatures and finally, to our surprise, after watching dry flies drift through runs untouched, a few beautiful rainbow trout came to hand.
Sasquatch and Dolly Varden proved elusive, but that doesn’t matter in this wild place. The belief that one (or both) exist—and exploring their safe harbors—is more important than finding them ourselves.