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C.W. "Butch" Welch

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The Middlefork, Idaho

Cast Iron Cook / Raconteur / Idaho Game Warden

For two decades C.W. "Butch" Welch (aka Cee Dub) served as the game warden / conservation officer along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. When we disembarked from our "squirrely" bush plane landing in high winds it had been nearly 30 years since the man had set foot back on that hallowed, dusty ground. What we knew of Butch had been learned through the pages of his cookbooks. So, on a windswept mountain top runway we saddled our horses, packed the cast iron on our mules and set out for the Cougar Ranch. It was not our mission to hunt the big game, or climb the highest mountains. We were there to cook over fire, eat and drink well, and listen to the oral history of a venerated land from one of its great stewards; reason enough to be outside...

Special Thanks to Butch & Miss Penny, Dano Hendrickson, Andy Patrick, Idaho Fish & Game, Ron and Karla Ens at Middle Fork Outfitters, and Scott Farr.

Color by Pascal Shirley

Photographs by Nate Bressler and Peter Buchanan-Smith