After a life-threatening diagnosis, avid angler and fly-fishing guide Katie Cahn discovers the healing powers that run deep in the crevices of the earth.

Katie Cahn paddling canoe with her dog, Bean, at her feet - The Great Spirit | Legends

"Today I’m alive, and today I will live.”

Meet our friend Katie Cahn. She lives on the rivers and streams of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is her daily journey of discovery, healing and living life unrestricted.

Katie Cahn fishing - The Great Spirit | Legends

You have to reflect on the past in order to move forward.

“Two years ago I was blindsided with kidney cancer. It did its best to sweep me away in the current of fear. For many days I was on the losing end of that battle. Finally, I decided I didn’t want fear to control my life. I took the advice of a loved one and decided to be a warrior and not a worrier. I’ve moved forward with the mantra ‘today I’m alive, and today I will live.’”

Trout and Bean - the dog - The Great Spirit | Legends

Life is a delicate balance of holding on and letting go.

A born adventurer, Katie finds her deepest self-connection through solo fly-fishing with her trusty companion and watchdog, Beans.

Small Trout - The Great Spirit | Legends

The future is uncertain, but we must navigate toward it with courage.

“Right now I’m cancer-free and I hope to stay that way. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but fly-fishing continues to be my source for meditation. I use fly-fishing to be alone and to not be alone; to be surrounded by wildness and to grow thoughtfully within it.”

Katie Cahn fishing from canoe - The Great Spirit | Legends

The hardest things in life are often the most character-building.

“I’d never ever say I’m glad I was diagnosed with cancer, but overcoming it has changed my life in a positive way. Being able to live as cancer-free Katie has made me appreciate everything so much more. I’ll never forget my first catch after I was cleared. It felt like the very first catch of my life.”

Katie Cahn tying flies - The Great Spirit | Legends

It’s never too late to learn something new.

“I was introduced to fly fishing in my 30s. Most of what I learned was through trial and error and risk taking.”

Early morning fishing - The Great Spirit | Legends

“Catch or not, Beans always has my back.”

Casting a line - The Great Spirit | Legends

“Fly-fishing requires patience. It deepens our connection to natural rhythms. It reminds us that we are part of something much larger than our own personal self.”

Fishing in a stream - The Great Spirit | Legends

“My favorite places to fish are the ones that take effort to find. The creeks and streams that are high up in the mountains house the native fish I love to catch most.”

End of the day - The Great Spirit | Legends