© Robert Capa / Magnum
*Originally from the eulogy Hemingway wrote and read at the funeral of his friend Gene Van Guilder who died in a tragic hunting accident. This prose now appears on Hemingway's memorial
along Trail Creek in Ketchum, Idaho, not far from where Hemingway and Van Guilder are both buried.
He was from Illinois, saw wartime service in Italy, lived in France, skied in Austria, owned homes in Cuba and Florida, and hunted in Kenya. Yet the places he loved most were Spain and Idaho, in that order. His deep affection for Spain and the similarities it shared with Idaho - the rugged piney hills, snowy peaks, cold trout streams and Basque shepherds - created an inseparable bond.
So, this fall, it’s from Sun Valley - where he wrote For Whom The Bell Tolls - that we draw inspiration from Hemingway's life, reflections captured in the photographs depicting an intimate moment shared with his son, bird shooting with friend Gary Cooper, or deep in thought over his manual Royal typewriter.
These are the images that give us a glimpse into the life of a writer, a sportsman, an adventurer, a man with flaws and weaknesses, a man with passion and greatness, a man of character.
© Robert Capa / Magnum
© Idaho Division of Tourism Development
In the Bible of angling, few places are more revered than Silver Creek southeast of Sun Valley, Idaho, where Hemingway loved to cast its cold, spring fed waters. The size of its trout are legendary as is the constant challenge of matching the hatch. Anglers come from around the world to test their skills here because to catch a trout on Silver Creek is to achieve the rank of expert fly-fisherman. But as a result of this legendary status, the waterways can become difficult to access in peak season.
For an alternative, try the Salmon River north of Sun Valley. Just over the pass down in the breathtaking Sawtooth Valley flows what may not be the best fishery in America but certainly one of the most picturesque. Framed by towering, majestic mountains and views Hollywood couldn't conjure, the river provides almost guaranteed solitude as well as good odds. Although the trout won’t be as big as those in Silver Creek, the experience will be just as unforgettable.
© Ayuntamiento de Cuellar
The running of the bulls during Las Fiestas de San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, is without question the most famous of its kind. Thanks entirely to Hemingway, who participated numerous times in what was then a parochial event and made it central to his plot in The Sun Also Rises, this week-long annual party in July now attracts hordes of revelers from around the world, swelling the town of Pamplona (population 200,000) with over 1 million people. Interestingly, the running of the bulls was never exclusive to Pamplona and takes place all over the kingdom of Spain.
For a more authentic experience, perhaps one more akin to what Hemingway actually experienced, try Las Fiestas de los Encierros in Cuellar. Located in the province of Castile and Leon, in between Madrid and Valladolid, this is the oldest running of the bulls in history, dating from at least 1215.* Taking place in late August, it contains all the wine, fireworks, bull fighting and mayhem as Pamplona minus the suffocating foreign crowds. Better yet, it begins with the bulls being driven by horsemen into town from the nearby forest, adding an equestrian element to the taurine spectacle.
*A document from 1215, written by Bishop Geraldo of Segovia, expressly forbade the clergy of Cuellar from participating in the "bull games" as such behavior was unbecoming
of men of the cloth, punishable by suspension from the ministry.
The Men of Character features are strictly editorial. In no way does this article imply association with or endorsement from the Estate of Ernest Hemingway.