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Fly fishing as a meditative, healing process for veterans




Sgt. Kurt Erickson fishing on the Naches River as part of a Rivers of Recovery trip.
Sgt. Kurt Erickson fishing on the Naches River as part of a Rivers of Recovery trip.
Courtesy of Kurt Erickson
Sgt. Kurt Erickson fishing on the Naches River as part of a Rivers of Recovery trip.
Sgt. Kurt Erickson in 2012, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan
Courtesy of Kurt Erickson
Sgt. Kurt Erickson fishing on the Naches River as part of a Rivers of Recovery trip.
Soldiers doing yoga while on a Rivers of Recovery trip.
Courtesy of Kurt Erickson
Sgt. Kurt Erickson fishing on the Naches River as part of a Rivers of Recovery trip.
Sgt. Kurt Erickson and SSG. James Butler wade fishing in the Naches River while on a Rivers of Recovery trip.
Courtesy of Kurt Erickson


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For some soldiers, learning to live with physical injuries or post-deployment stress in a clinical setting is a less than conducive atmosphere for making progress.

Rivers of Recovery, a Minnesota based nonprofit group, uses a different approach:  They take soldiers out into the woods and teach them to fly fish. The aim is to provide counseling, camaraderie and self-care tools that soldiers can build on.

Sergeant Kurt Erickson is an infantrymen serving in the second Stryker brigade at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis McChord. He deployed to Afghanistan for nine months in 2012. Since his return, Erickson has become active with the Rivers of Recovery.

As Erickson was headed out on his second trip with the group, KUOW reporter Patricia Murphy asked him to record an audio diary of the experience.