Man and woman walking in mountains

Argentina Unbound

From Idaho's Salmon River to Argentina's Malleo River, one family discovers adventure, trout, serenity, and a chance to reconnect with what inspires them thousands of miles from home.

This November, we sent Terry and Jerry Myers, their daughter Jo, and her husband Michael into Patagonia. They took a break from their incredibly busy lives (and a passion for fishing steelhead) back home on the Salmon River in east-central Idaho and traveled thousands of miles to fish Argentina’s Malleo River. It was the adventure they craved, and the escape they didn’t know that they needed. Getting there wasn’t easy—taking the road less traveled never is—but the experience is always more than worth the miles. Sometimes it takes leaving home to reconnect with what matters most.

Four fly fishers standing in front of a wooden gate with a snow-capped mountain in the background

Day 1: Leaving Idaho

JERRY:

We had a wilderness guiding business for many years. We sold it in 2001, and we moved out to this ranch that our friends owned. We ran a guest ranch for nine years until the economic downturn closed all the ranches in this area. Then the owner asked us to stay and work the ranch. We run a few mules, a few horses, and a few cows. We irrigate about 60 acres, and the rest is in forest. It’s not very large but takes a lot of elbow grease.


TERRY:

Our neighbor made sure everything was still standing at the ranch. He is also off-grid, so he understands the system and wasn’t intimidated.


JO:

I am a dairy farmer and cheese maker. I am a mother of two spirited girls (three and four years old), and I work part-time as a Child Advocate and Program Developer at our local family crisis center. So, preparing to leave home is definitely a juggle. We lined up a house sitter, somebody to tend to the cheeses, and another person feeding cows.


JO:

We haven’t been gone for two weeks since our honeymoon in 2012. And we have never left our kids for more than a night or two. It was hard, of course, but the kids didn’t miss a beat.


TERRY:

Jo and I had a conversation before we left, and Jo said, “I am so excited to just sit on a plane and read.” You know your life is pretty frantic when you look forward to being on a plane uninterrupted


“The ordinary man’s meditation is fishing. You’re by yourself, you are in the moment. You experience everything while standing in a river stream. Soothing for the soul.”


— Jerry Myers


Terry leaning out of a jeep window

Terry

Terry’s guiding roots run deep. She was born in Montana, where her four brothers guided along with their father, who ran the Rainbow Motel during the 50s and 60s. Terry had a cane rod in her hands as a very young child. In 1978, she earned her guiding license on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. She worked as an archeologist in the Idaho mountains and spent ten years as a certified riding instructor while volunteering as the Executive Director for a local equine therapy riding program. Today, Terry co-manages a remote ranch on the Salmon near North Fork, Idaho. In addition to an unwavering commitment to steelhead fishing, she volunteers for Trout Unlimited, where she works to strengthen community ties to local watersheds. Terry is the mother of two and grandmother of five and the teacher of many. “I get just as much enjoyment teaching someone about fishing and casting and talking about a responsibility to the resource as I actually do fishing.”

five horses moving across the Argentine high desert

Day 2: Buenos Aires to San Huberto Lodge

After a flight from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, and a three-hour drive north through Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi and private ranches, the crew arrived at the family-owned San Huberto Lodge. The lodge is located north of Junín de los Andes on a 22,000-hectare cattle ranch where the Malleo River flows east from the volcanic peaks of the Andes.


JO:

It got dark on our drive from Bariloche, but we were all glued to the window looking outside. Mom is a fishoholic. She was clinging to the window, salivating, watching the rivers pass by.


MICHAEL:

We were completely blown away by the trip out there. All of us were pretty well disoriented and then we were in the middle of nowhere—no light in sight for miles. We pull up to this place and it was stunning.


JO:

The staff greeted us with an amazing dinner and two bottles of Malbec. My version of heaven—steak and red wine.


TERRY:

The accommodations were beautiful, historic, super friendly. We could appreciate their experience hosting. After running your own guest ranch, you know what goes into it.


MICHAEL:

It was fun getting there in the middle of the night because we had no idea what to expect the next day. That’s always a fun way to experience a first dose of what you’re in for.


JO:

We all went to bed exhausted, full, and excited.


MICHAEL:

It was full on from that point—we didn’t slow down for six days


Jerry looking through binoculars

Jerry

Jerry was born and raised on a ranch near the Clearwater River in Idaho, so it’s no surprise that hunting and fishing were central to his childhood. He began fly fishing at age 10 and guided in college while finishing his degree at Boise State University. After he and his wife, Terry, got married in 1980, they managed a remote fishing lodge in Katmai National Monument in Alaska before moving back to Idaho and starting their own wilderness guiding business on the Salmon River. They operated Silver Cloud Expeditions for 20 years while raising their two kids. In 2001, Jerry and Terry were hired to build and manage Indian Creek Guest Ranch. The hospitality part of the business ceased operation in 2010, but the Myers stayed on the property, managing the land and raising livestock. An avid fisherman, conservationist, and advocate, Jerry finds time to volunteer for a variety of local nonprofits including Trout Unlimited, the Upper Salmon Restoration Project, and Idaho Rivers United. When he’s not working the ranch or on the river, he’s brewing beer, distilling his own whiskey, backcountry skiing, or grouse hunting.

A winding river of emerald colored water, seen from the air
Two people hiking late in the day, across the rocky spine of a mountain.
Two women laughing while preparing to fish.

Day 3: Fishing

Finally, on day 3, they got on the water. Guided by Toto and Eduardo, the crew traveled to the north end of the property where the fields were wide and the view of the snow-covered volcano was crystal clear. It was a bluebird day.


MICHAEL:

The property is all river bottoms, so miles and miles of untouched pristine trout fishing water. We went up the tributary into the main river. We got up there and was just the nicest looking fishing water and the fish were lined up sipping bugs off the surface just like you want them.


TERRY:

I don’t think you could find a more beautiful backdrop. No matter how slow or fast the fishing was, it was mesmerizing.


JERRY:

Even though we are a real close family, when it comes to fishing time, elbows are flying. It’s first light, and the fish are feeding. We push Michael in the river. First backcast goes into the bushes, so we are all laughing. On second cast, he hooks a 17-inch rainbow, fights it for a minute, and loses it. It all makes us more anticipatory about what we’re getting into.


MICHAEL:

It was my first time casting an H3 and the Mirage reel. Everybody was watching me…heckling me.


JO:

I kept grabbing for the butt of my rod because I’ve been mostly steelhead fishing with a two-handed rod. It was nice to fish for trout again—I forgot how much I love it.


MICHAEL:

We spread out with the two guides and fished a pretty good section of the river and were successful. It was awesome. Saw a condor soaring up high in the sky. Good way to start it off.


JO:

The guides were great. I appreciate how they managed the waters and the fish that were in them. Their whole existence is to get people in to fish—their knowledge and ability exceeded expectations. From one guide to another, I really appreciate what they had to offer.


MICHAEL:

We weren’t the normal clientele. I’ve never fished with a guide before. Putting myself in the client’s shoes for once put it all in perspective.


TERRY:

We’re harsh critics—we used to guide. They are a rich resource—tons of fish in the waters that they knew and understood and loved to fish for. I am not real comfortable with guides. I’d rather be off on my own hunting fish. But these guides really knew what they were doing. It’s a real prestigious job, very professional.


TERRY:

We’ve always carried these little flasks from Scotland. We toast the river, like toasting a new friend.


JERRY:

It’s a chance to take a minute and say thanks to powers larger than us. The ordinary man’s meditation is fishing. You’re by yourself; you are in the moment. You experience everything while standing in a river stream. Soothing for the soul.


A woman inspecting the contents of her fly box.

Jo

Jo describes growing up as the daughter of wilderness river-rafting outfitters a “dream childhood.” She and her brother chased frogs on the beaches of the Salmon River and napped on piles of dry bags on the back of river rafts. After high school, she left Idaho to explore New Zealand before starting at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. During college, she worked on the Sockeye Salmon Recovery Project in the Sawtooth Mountains. Jo attended graduate school in Seattle, where she earned a master’s degree in Environment and Community and started working for a non-profit on shoreline and marine restoration projects, including a community-supported oyster farm. In an effort to take this experience and her new knowledge of the impact of locally grown food back to Idaho, she and Michael started a small dairy farm. In addition to farming and making cheese, Jo is a full-time mother and a part-time Child Advocate and Program Developer. “When not working, I can be found hiking, fishing, foraging, floating, and exploring with my family or fermenting, smoking, curing, cooking, canning, and experimenting in my kitchen.”

Woman smiling as another woman casts a fly rod

Day 4: Trekking Cerro Mesa, Fishing & Paella Dinner

JO:

We hiked this cool, rocky knob on the ranch just before sunrise. It was stunning.


JERRY:

On the way, we saw three wild Russian boars—huge animals and amazingly fast. We had a guide who didn’t speak English real well, but we had a great conversation about the natural history of the place. We would always have someone guiding us, someone who could interpret the scenes.


JERRY:

When we got to the place that was steep and rocky, he was very gracious about grabbing Terry and my elbows. A guide is always trying to figure out who do we have here. And we wanted to say, “Hey, we’re mountain goats!” We all love to hike.


JO:

The four of us all like to explore, be in new terrain, see new vegetation and new vistas. Fishing is central to our travels, but getting out and going on a hike and exploring is always part of it.


MICHAEL:

That afternoon was our best day fishing. Our guide took us to one of his little honey holes where Jo and I doubled up on two really nice big brown trout, about 40 feet away from each other. We hooked up at the same time and landed both of them.


TERRY:

We cooked outside that night. Being out there while the chef’s cooking that big pan of paella outside, gathered around an open pit fire… it was our style.


JO:

At home, we butcher our own pigs and cure our own meat. The paella was boar sausage and stag from the ranch, and it was amazing. The chef was so great: he just let us sit there and drool over his creation.


A man getting ready to fish.

Michael

Michael was born in Durango, Colorado, where he and his two brothers and older sister grew up swimming, playing soccer, and skiing. He learned to fly fish at a young age and started bow hunting at 14 years old. His obsession with fishing and hunting naturally transitioned into his becoming a guide himself—first in elk hunting, then in fly fishing. During the off-seasons, he would work with his dad, a custom home builder, back in Durango. Eventually, Michael started his own construction and carpentry business, which he continues to operate today. He met his wife, Jo, in 2007, and she introduced him the to “ever so addictive world of steelhead fishing.” Jo and Michael have two daughters “who are getting old enough to tag along with us and their grandparents on fishing and hunting adventures.”

A couple walking through the river, wearing waders.

Day 5: Fishing, Horseback Riding, More Fishing

JO:

My dad and I had a conversation about how quiet the sky was that morning. Where we live is really remote, and this felt very similar. We saw three sows with a bunch of piglets running around and a bunch of stags. A fox came and checked out all four of us fishing. I spent a lot of time with my dad on the river growing up, but don’t get to do it as much as I like now. Time is fleeting, and I was so thankful to do a trip like this with my folks. It’s just going to get harder as the kids get older, and my parents get older. I appreciate time with them—they are both really adventurous and expeditious.



MICHAEL:

I was at the top, behind everybody, at this big run. There was the early morning sun coming up, and I could see my family all below me. The setting was spectacular. Everybody was catching fish, hooting and hollering.


JERRY:

We all kept catching fish at the same time. The photographer was running hundreds of yards back and forth trying to keep up with us—she got a heck of a workout.


MICHAEL:

The last couple years, I’ve been working side-by-side with Terry and Jerry at the ranch. To be able to leave all that behind and just experience each other in our own elements and enjoy each other outside of work was great.


TERRY:

It was awesome to travel with Jo and Michael, not only to be recreating, but also to observe them relaxed. We talked a little about the kids, but they were in the moment, too. We all had so little to worry about.


JERRY:

Terry and I spend 60-80 days fishing together a year. But it was very gratifying to watch Michael and Jo in that setting, fishing and relaxing.


TERRY:

They are not only our kids and relatives, they are fun friends.


JO:

My mom is my favorite adventure buddy. She is always game to do anything, and I love that about her.


JERRY:

Terry and Jo are really tight. They are good for each other. Jo is detail-oriented and always on time but a little high strung. Terry is just the opposite (never knows what time it is), but she is really flexible. You can throw anything at Terry, and it doesn’t bother her—she’s going to have fun no matter what happens. And Michael is like a son to us. That day was the highlight. It was like, Man, we’re in Argentina. A jaw-dropping beautiful scene and a feeling of contentment—no distractions, pure fishing.


4 horses crossing the ranch

In the afternoon the gaucho, Isaiah, led the team on a horseback ride. Terry, Jerry, Jo, and Michael rode under Lanín Volcano, through the Malleo River, and to the top of a large hill overlooking the river.


TERRY:

I was dreading the ride because I know the horses you rely on for trail rides—they are pretty pluggish. Nose-to-tail kind of rides. But the horses were the horses the gauchos use every day. They were in shape and super fun to ride. They weren’t afraid. It was a blast.


JERRY:

We meet up with a gaucho, and he’s looking us up and down trying to figure us out, choosing which horses to put us on. We’re smiling and laughing the whole time—he clearly thought we were going to suck.


JERRY:

There was a little nervousness on our part—these are gaucho horses. Their ears are up, their eyes are bright, this could be a rodeo. Once you get on a horse, you can calm a horse down pretty quickly, and they know this person will be okay on my back. These horses were great; they weren’t nervous.


JO:

The gaucho tied our reigns into a knot, which is what we used to do for people who had never been on horseback before.


JERRY:

Terry and Jo immediately untied the reigns.


JO:

We both got yelled at—even though we spoke no Spanish and he spoke not a lick of English.


JERRY:

We took off across a great big open plane. Terry kept getting out of line, and the gaucho kept signaling her to get back in line. Terry is one of the best riders anywhere, but the gaucho didn’t know it. He took us up a sloping plane, so we could be on a ridge so Lanín would be behind us.


JO:

I was blown away by the horsemanship of the gauchos. We were so appreciative of the quality of horses and the way they were treated and broke and handled. They were so soft and gentle, so receptive to your leg cues.


TERRY:

Watching Jo and Michael—they hadn’t been on a horse in a while—it was such a relaxing feeling. It was really freeing.


TERRY:

I used to guide elk hunters on horseback for seven years, but this was the first time on a horse since Jo and I met. Another just incredible experience.

Couple watching the sun set behind the Andes Mountains

The ride ended next to a big outlet coming off the Malleo. There was no plan to fish that afternoon, but the fish were rising and the travelers were itching to get on the water.


JO:

We literally jumped off our horses and into our waders— we ditched the horses and caught the last-light fishing.


TERRY:

There was a big hatch that came on. The fish were going nuts—we couldn’t match it, which was frustrating. We didn’t succeed, but we had a blast trying.


JO:

As steelhead fishermen, we are used to not catching fish. That’s why we fish—it’s an excuse to stand in the river and look at gorgeous scenery.


“When you fish, or ride, or hike in scenery as beautiful as that, your mind is taken to exactly where you are. It focuses on the scenery around you or the water that you are fishing. You get to let go.”


— Terry Myers

Waterfall in Argentina
Man and woman walking down a dirt road through green trees
Woman holding a fly rod smiling

Day 6: Branding & Return Travel to Bariloche

JERRY:

Ronnie, the ranch owner, had said they were branding in two days, and we all lit up and said we’d love to watch. We had grown up around cattle; it was really fun watching that agricultural side of everything. That part of Argentina is ag and cattle country. It is very similar to where we live in Idaho.


TERRY:

These guys started early in the morning. We got up at first light, and they were heads down, busy with their work, doing what they do and not putting on any show. It was a real beautiful setting. Ronnie’s wife, a veterinarian, was running the show.


JO:

They brand just like we do. It felt like we could have all jumped in there and not even missed a beat. Cows speak the same language. It was beautiful.


TERRY:

It was real traditional. They were saving all the Rocky Mountain oysters, clipping ears. It may be harsh for people who don’t see stuff like that, but I found it beautiful. The gauchos have a very honorable profession, and they take a lot of pride. I really value those traditions. I love those earthy professions.


Two people leaning on a wooden ranch fence looking at cattle

Day 7: Exploring Bariloche

Surrounded by lakes, rivers, and mountain peaks that attract anglers, hikers, mountain bikers, skiers, and snowboarders, Bariloche has become a major destination for adventurous tourists. Our crew spent their last day and a half exploring the city.


JERRY:

Bariloche is not a small town—125,000 people—but doesn’t have a big city feel either. It’s a relatively new town—they started building it in 1915—so it has a lot of 1920-1950 architecture. We went to the town square and bus stops and a really old, cool train station.


TERRY:

We told our driver we want to eat where he eats, so he took us to the off-beat, less touristy places. We loved it because we love meat and wine. They have incredibly good food—the chickens are free-range their beef is all fresh and grass-fed—delicious big cuts, all tender and BBQed.


JERRY:

Michael accidentally ordered a horse steak, so we all got to eat horse. It was a steak the size of a dinner plate. He thought he’d ordered lamb.


JO:

It is a gorgeous city—a big lake, the colors, and textures, and languages.

Woman casting a fly rod

Day 8: A Bittersweet Goodbye


JERRY:

This was the first trip we’ve done with our kids that they were more in charge than Terry and I. We got to sit back—they planned, rented cars, took the lead. It was not a hard hand-off.


TERRY:

When you fish, or ride, or hike in scenery as beautiful as that, your mind is taken to exactly where you are. It focuses on the scenery around you or the water that you are fishing. You get to let go.


JO:

The last five years have been pretty chaotic and a blur. Being able to take time to catch our breath and have a break from routine and chores and our property and our animals—it was nice to have that time to collect ourselves.


MICHAEL:

Jo, Jerry, Terry, and I have fun exploring together. We laugh so hard, and we’re able to just really cut loose and relax and leave everything behind. So, saying goodbye was for sure bittersweet. We want to go back when the girls are older to continue where we left off.


JO:

We missed the kids. But it was nice to have a break and to remind each other of who we were before kids and before dairy.


MICHAEL:

The last few years have been hard for both of us—we needed to stop and realize there’s a whole world out there.


JO:

I learned that it’s critical for me to reconnect with the things that I enjoy and that make me who I am. I’m more focused on doing more things that I like and that make me, me. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of our lives, and if I don’t make time for me, then I lose part of myself. It is important to touch base with yourself and make sure you are the person you want to be.


Man and woman drinking red wine

San Huberto Lodge

San Huberto Lodge is located on a 54,000-acre cattle ranch along the rivers that flow east from the volcanic peaks of the Andes Mountains. Wide open plains against a backdrop of snow-covered peaks make this Patagonia setting irresistible to anglers and hikers alike.


The Olsen family arrived from Europe in the 1890s and homesteaded the land. In 1976, Carlos and Carmen Olsen built the lodge to serve as a destination for red stag hunters. Thanks to the location on the Malleo River and the reputation for hospitality of the Olsen family, the lodge quickly became one of Patagonia’s most distinguished fishing lodges. Today San Huberto is managed by Carlos and Carmen’s three children, Karin, Gustavo, and Ronnie. The Orvis-Endorsed lodge is relaxing, idyllic, and complete with first-rate service.

Woman petting dog
Man fly fishing
Vineyard in Argentina
An Orvis Helios 3 fly rod

The Orvis Helios™ 3

Fish have a natural sense of how much energy to expend based on potential caloric reward. It’s key to their survival, which is why trout sit in feeding lanes and let the food come to them. Outside the lane, the reward is not worth the effort. The Helios 3 is the most accurate fly rod ever built in a sport where the difference between a take and yet another cast is often measured in inches.

Helios™ 3—Accurate From Anywhere

Riding horses in front of a mountain.

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