Stories Etched in Wood: Adam “Dutch” Gottschling’s Drift Boat Renaissance

Winter’s night presses down on the Teton Valley of eastern Idaho. Headlights twist and beam through a storm of thick flakes, slick roads and rising snowbanks. I pull off Highway 33 and down a stranger’s driveway for a Craigslist deal—I need to unload some winter gear on my way home from work in Jackson, WY. The beaming grin and thick hand of a man I know only as “Dutch” greets me at a large garage/workshop and welcomes me in from the storm. As he checks out the black jacket I’m peddling, I check out his shop. It’s plastered in ski area signage and stuffed with outdoor gear. The remaining available space is filled with wooden drift boats, stacked one on top of another like bowls in a cupboard. 

The square, two-car garage has a back room where, through a set of double doors, warm light illuminates an array of woodworking tools hung on pegboard. Jam music murmurs in the background. The bows of two boats in skeleton states are visible, sitting upside down on sawhorses as if prepped for a surgical procedure. One is stripped down like a butchered whale carcass, its belly and chine cap torn off, ribs jutting out of peeled skin. These are not the Hydes or ClackaCrafts that typically fill driveways in this famed flyfishing region.

“We were really lucky to get this place after the recession,” Dutch tells me. “As soon as I checked out the shop, I was sold.”…

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