Love to Explore

Many of us spend most of our days trapped inside four walls with a window, if we are lucky. While pounding away at a keyboard, we sometimes allow our minds to drift away to fantasies spending the day outside in the sun with the sounds of nature as our soundtrack. Yet, there are some who don’t have to dream of an escape because the outdoors is their office. One of these lucky individuals is Mia Anstine.

Mia Anstine

Mia grew up in a small town in southern Colorado. It was there that she learned she loved to explore the nature that surrounded her. Mia’s natural instinct to explore isn’t a surprise. She comes from a long line of hunters. Growing up her father hunted for food and her mother grew a garden and taught her how to fish. Their lives were simple and focused on the basic necessities of life. But it wasn’t until Mia and her mother moved to San Diego that she realized how fortunate she was as a child.

Many people in urban areas never notice birds, plants, or trees. But I quickly learned that looking hard enough led to finding wild places and outdoor areas to explore.

Mia Anstine

As she grew up her life began to take her further away from nature but no matter where she lived there were always places to go, explore, and learn about. Sometimes it would just take a little longer and she would have to wander a little further. Shortly after college Mia realized that she missed the country life and after moving to Texas and then Oregon she returned to her hometown in Colorado.

near Durango, Colorado

Even though she returned to her small town life in the mountains that she greatly missed she didn’t pursue a career in the outdoors.  As a highly successful salesperson for a building company, she worked tirelessly to stay in the top ranks. This left her little time to do what she loved, hunting. She was a single working mother like so many others that wanted to provide for her family. She wanted to be able to put food on the table like her father and his father before him. So, Mia began to head out on solo hunts on the weekend.  Sometimes her little girl would tag along and carry her shotgun for bird hunting.

The mother-daughter time was priceless, and the outdoors was a welcomed break from my non-stop commissioned sales job. The outdoors is good for your soul.  

Mia Anstine

It wasn’t until Mia met her now-husband, who owns an outfitting business, that she began to transition away from sales and into working in the outdoors. It all began when he was short a hunting guide.  Knowing that Mia was a good hunter he asked if she was willing to help. She agreed to fill in and that was the first step in her career as an advocate for the outdoors.


These days, I make a little less money than I did when I was the top salesperson for a large corporation, but everything I do to encourage others is empowering and brings me joy. It’s so rewarding. In all things I do, my mission is to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, cook, eat, survive, create and live life positively.

Mia Anstine

Montana with Field and Stream

Historically, the flow of our year is defined by travel. The summertime usually provides a few breaks to spend some extra time with our families and that time at home to recoup is essential to our well being. However, when Field & Stream proposed an opportunity to work with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, all of that R&R was out the window. After a month long of uncertainty, our schedules aligned and we boarded a plane to Montana, ready to embark on an experience of a lifetime.

Yvon Chouinard

We set forth on our adventure through the beautiful landscape of Montana and we were pumped, to say the least. Thanks to Field & Stream we were on our way to spend two days fishing with Yvon and Kenton Carruth, Co-founder of First Lite Outfitters. Kenton is one of the nicest guys you could meet and if you are not familiar with THE Yvon Chouinard, then google him. We’ll wait… These two men live out life with a love of the outdoors as a guiding force. They both created clothing companies that cater to those who share that love of the wilderness. We traveled from Philadelphia, Pa to Augusta, Mt to spend some time in this majestic place and help tell the story of national public lands and the challenge to their future as a thriving place for future generations to enjoy.

On the road to Augusta, Mt

The plan was to meet in Augusta at Buckhorn Bar at 6PM. When we arrived at the quaint town, we noticed piles of sandbags scattered outside some local businesses. The town had recently experienced some seasonal flooding. The excessive amount of rain would show itself useful later in this tale. 


Augusta, MT

We arrived at Buckhorn Bar, passing under a pair of mounted horns as we entered. We walked into the dimmed lit neighborhood watering hole and found everyone already there with a beer in hand ready to eat. Fried chicken, the house specialty, was the cuisine of choice for the evening. Over a pint of beer and a basket of chicken, we began to get acquainted.

Buckhorn Bar

Once our bellies were full and thirst quenched, it was time to fish.  We hopped in our trucks and headed off to a nearby lake in Fairfield. Driving down a dusty dirt road, we chased the sun in hopes to take a few pictures before the day ended.  We made it with only a few moments left of daylight.

Fairfield, Mt
Fairfield, Mt

Yvon was the first to pull his fly rod out and began doing what he came to Montana to do. At the same time, with his tool of choice, Chris began documenting the gorgeous moment we were experiencing. 

Yvon 
Chris and Yvon

Unfortunately, the sun didn’t stick around and we were left to enjoy the tranquillity of our surroundings. Once the warm rays safely tucked themselves behind the mountains, we too packed up. Our shelter for the evening would be one of the few private hunting lodges inside Bob Marshall Wilderness. With an early morning ahead, we quickly settled into slumber.

Chris, Kenton Carruth, Hal Herring, Yvon, and Ryan Callaghan

6am arrived quickly and soon enough we were on the road again, this time to the South Fork of Sun River. Normally the water levels of the desired location run low. However, the recent flooding allowed us to travel by boat with ease. 

South Fork of Sun River
South Fork of Sun River

The seldom fished pools just above the Gibson Reservoir provide anglers a perfect scenario; low fishing pressure and a heavenly backdrop. The blissfully ice cold water was bustling with rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout. The fish in that section of the Sun River were not large but they were hungry and striking every fly that hit the water.

Kenton and Chris
Chris and Yvon

When you stand in the steady crystal clear current, looking around at the perfection of nature, you understand why Yvon and Kenton passionately feel the need to preserve and improve our public lands. The idea that future generations could be deprived of these experiences is epically tragic.  

Yvon and Garret Smith

Yvon uses his voice and resources to advocate for and protect our public spaces. His firm stance against the current White House’s policy to reduce National Monuments caught him locking horns with Utah Rep. Rob Bishop. Bishop called to his constituents and fellow Republicans to boycott Patagonia. What Bishop didn’t realize was that those he was calling to arms were outfitters and the boycott request had the exact opposite effect. Patagonia’s sales increased by 600 percent that month.

There are people in this country with plenty of funds that want to end public lands. They wish to divvy up the open space to private owners, which would keep hunters and fisherman at bay. This is not how Yvon and Kenton had envisioned our nation’s public lands in the future. They value a life experiencing the outdoors quite similar to that of Theodore Roosevelt.

“The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel.”

Theodore Roosevelt
Yvon and Kenton 

On a personal note, our very own Mike Ryan was personally mentored by Yvon and caught his first ever trout on this trip of a lifetime. These memories have fueled his new found passion for this leisurely sport. 

Yvon and Mike
Mike and his Trout