The River Brings Everything: A week in Klamath Country

Copi Vojta 

I need a fishing license. At the Double J in Happy Camp, CA, a woman behind the counter is having a bad day with the license machine. Quiet sighs and dangits make up most of the one-sided conversation. A man arrives and interrupts, wanting to exchange a Penthouse magazine for a Hustler. The license lady kindly tells him he already bought the Hustler last week. She remembers these things. But she doesn’t remember how to issue a nonresident California fishing license. After 15 minutes, the machine finally prints out a mile of California Steelhead and Salmon report cards. The woman goes back to her sleepy afternoon in the Double J, the man is all set to smut, and I am ready to fish.

We’ll be alongside the Klamath River for most of its driveable course bisecting the State of Jefferson, the Pacific Crest Trail and Humboldt County. The wilderness setting, the remoteness of the area, the local characters—it’s distinct country here. Klamath country. Bumping and swaying along the Bigfoot Highway all afternoon, we invent a new driving game: “Weed Farm or Skunk?” The weed farms win in a blowout…

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