Thorofare Expedition - update 1

Hi families! 

Airport day was a big success; we all had so much fun getting to meet everyone! The group is getting along great, it's always fun watching the nerves melt away as guys make connections and get to know each other a bit. Tonight we will camp at Gros Ventre campground and enjoy stunning views of the Teton mountains. We'll settle in, have dinner, maybe play some games, catch the sunset, and likely get to bed early after a long day of travel. Tomorrow we'll begin to prepare ourselves for the journey ahead — we'll backcountry prep in a park in Jackson (and perhaps throw the frisbee once or twice… or end up playing an intense game of ultimate frisbee!). We'll pop into some fly shops to get some information and flies. The challenges ahead have much to offer and everyone is ready to crush some difficult hiking. Two days on the trail will take us to our base camp at Hawk’s Rest, near the confluence of Atlantic Creek and the Yellowstone River. From there we'll fish all the Thorofare has to offer and hopefully find some of the largest cutthroat trout in the United States. Everyone is excited to get after it! However, something more exciting than the fish is the lifelong memories and friendships we will all create over the next ten days.


The Thorofare is truly one of the most special and unique places in the world. For the past three years, I have been fortunate enough to venture into this remote area, considered the most remote place in the continental United States. Each visit reaffirms its timeless allure. The Thorofare offers breathtaking views, pristine wilderness, and exceptional fly fishing opportunities. It’s a place that leaves an indelible mark on those who experience its beauty, a privilege reserved for a select few. The challenging hike to reach this natural wonder is a small price to pay for the magnificent reward that awaits. 


As much as we could drone on and on about how special Thorofare is, we, the leaders and guides, want to introduce ourselves: 

My name is Cole Hauswirth, and I will be the trip director for the Thorofare Expedition. I grew up in San Francisco and spent much of my early youth fishing around the state. I have participated in every single Thorofare trip since its inception, and it is consistently one of the highlights of my year. I am entering my senior year at Colorado College, where I study economics and business with a specialization in environmental economics. This will be my third year working for Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions and my eighth year with the program, including my time as a camper. Every moment has been an incredible experience. Fly fishing and conservation have been significant parts of my life, largely inspired by my time as a camper with Lillard. These passions continue to shape my journey, and I am excited to share them with my campers with the hopes of creating a lifelong passion. When I am not fishing, I love to ski, backpack, and play golf. I am also a certified Wilderness First Responder.


Hello, my name is Owen Reeve, I am from Potomac, Maryland. Like Cole, I attend Colorado College where I study biology.  I went on the inaugural Thorofare trip with Cole, and ever since I’ve been dreaming of going back. This will be my second year working for Lillard, and my fifth year with Lillard including my time as a camper. My time with Lillard has been an extremely formative part of my life, and I look forward to facilitating that same growth for my campers. Conservation has always been seen as a huge part of my life, and living outdoors has forever altered the direction of my life. When I’m not fishing, some of my hobbies include darkroom photography, skiing, mountain biking, and backpacking. 


Hello, my name is Mack Helble and I grew up in Austin Texas. I will be starting my final year studying Construction Science and Business at Texas A&M University. I attended my first Lillard trip almost ten years ago, and this will be my fourth year working as a trip leader. I have grown so much through Lillard over the years, experienced great fishing, met lifelong friends, and -most importantly- learned the importance of protecting these places we love. I believe the responsibility and challenges Lillard trips presents to young campers truly shape their young adult life, and I’m excited to be a part of that journey!   When I am not on the water, I enjoy bow hunting, photography, camping, biking, and all sports. I look forward to this journey with this group of campers! Like Cole, I'm also a certified Wilderness First Responder. 


We couldn't be more excited about this trip! We'll spend some time over the next 24 hours talking through a lot of things: we'll cover the critical safety stuff, some LFFE ground rules about how we treat each other, the environment we're in, and our gear. We'll also talk about our goals as individuals and our goals for the group. By the time we hit the trail Monday morning, we'll be a cohesive group that's ready for some awesome time in the backcountry! 




Tight lines,


Cole, Owen, Mack, and the LFFE Team


Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions was started in 2010 as a graduate thesis for my Master's Degree in Environmental Conservation Education at NYU. The operating premise was simple - by coupling amazing wilderness fly fishing camps for teens with environmental education and service learning we can help inspire future generations of fly fishing conservationists. We have been growing our unique list of trips and experiences ever since.

When it comes to choosing a summer program for your teen the options are endless. For the teen who loves to fish, be outside, and has a strong sense of adventure we have made the choice easy. We are the leader in teen fly fishing adventures and are dedicated to providing the best backcountry fly fishing experience with opportunities for teens to engage in leadership training, community service, and backcountry camping.


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Will Lillard, Founder/Director/Guide

Contact Us

[email protected]

Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions
2540 King Road
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

(828) 577-8204