Reflections from the Deschutes River Fly Fishing Trip

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Spoken Outdoors recently embarked on a transformative four-day fly fishing trip along the Deschutes River in Oregon. Our mission? To provide a space for healing, connection, and hope for first responders and veterans. With no cell phones, TV, or daily distractions, we immersed ourselves in nature, sharing stories, building relationships, and finding solace in the river’s gentle flow.   

A River of Healing  

Picture this: drift boats gliding down the Deschutes, each carrying a first responder or veteran. As the sun danced on the water, conversations flowed freely. Frank, one of our participants, summed it up: “This trip gives me hope.” Amidst the rugged beauty, healing happened—one cast at a time.  

Unexpected Guests  

Our outfitter asked if a couple of long-term clients could join us. These “outsiders” sat among us, absorbing our stories. Little did they know that they’d witness firsthand the internal battles carried by those who serve. Their gratitude at the trip’s end was heartfelt—an education in empathy.  

The Outfitter’s Praise  

Our relationship with the outfitter runs deep. They’ve provided skilled guides, great camps, and spectacular food. Their recent note said it all: “You are the best group we have.” Together, we create magic on the river.  

Shared Healing  

Spoken Outdoors believes in the power of outdoor experiences. Beyond veterans and first responders, everyone benefits. The shared moments—sunrise over the water, laughter around the campfire—nourish us all.  

Drift Boats and Other Memories

Our leadership team also recently enjoyed an Aaron Tippin concert in Montana, showcasing our accessible drift boat. As my grandson stood on stage, I reflected on our shared history—a reminder that life’s best moments happen outdoors.  

The Deschutes River trip reaffirmed our purpose: healing, inspiration, and hope. Whether you’re casting a line or simply breathing in the wilderness, nature has a way of mending hearts. And so, we continue—tirelessly—because the river holds more than fish; it cradles our souls.  

Spoken Outdoors serves America’s Protectors by hosting events throughout the U.S. focusing on outdoor experiences that educate, stretch boundaries, challenge limits, and create confidence. Sign up for our newsletter or visit our website.

Heath Gunns

Executive Director of Spoken Outdoors | You can find him rowing a drift boat, fishing, or hunting. Over 15 years ago, he started in the non-profit sector letting him introduce the outdoors to so many people. Oh, and lets not forget his history as a Marine, Law Enforcement Officer, and firearms instructor.

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