TBT: What We Had

fly fishing

The first-ever fly fishing story to be shared on the Dirtbag Diaries.

Mark Rutherford and John Merritt grew up sharing the same sandbox. As they grew up, they each followed separate paths. John had a successful career in the Chicago financial world. Mark moved to Alaska and raised a family in a tiny cabin he built with his own hands. Twenty years ago, Mark began a successful adventure fly fishing guide service in the Bristol Bay region. An avid fisherman, John got in touch with Mark and scheduled a trip. On that first trip, John revealed that he had been diagnosed with M.S. Ten years prior, doctors told him he had seven years to live. That first trip marked the beginning of a decade of trips, each more adventurous than the last. Today, we are headed upstream to the confluence of several lives. Friendships are a bit like rivers — when they converge, they swell into something greater.


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