Beau Walker

Meet the Locals

Beau Walker

Meet the Locals

Interview by Rebecca Huntington

Beau Walker
Photograph by Price Chambers

Beau Walker is a renaissance tween. A speedy reader since kindergarten, Beau, now eleven, has an appetite for books voracious enough to break a mother’s back. Luckily his mom, Jen, doesn’t mind hauling home thirty-plus books a week from Teton County Library. Beau doesn’t just like books; he likes hefty, hardcover tomes, such as Smithsonian’s Knowledge Encyclopedia: The World As You’ve Never Seen It Before, The Big Book of Things to Make, and Rube Goldberg Inventions. (These are just a few of the titles he’s checking out during our interview at the library.) Books don’t consume all of his time, though. He plays sports—swimming, Nordic skiing, downhill skiing, lacrosse, and fishing. Since learning to fish, he has built a custom rod and started tying his own flies. He also likes to dabble in experiments and creations, with the ideas often sparking from books.

Q: Your earliest memory of going to the library?
A: Checking out a pile of Dr. Seuss books for my dad to read to me.

Q: How do you decide what to read?
A: I like browsing through all the books to see what I can find. That’s how I found my favorite series, Adventurers Wanted [M.L. Forman]. It’s about a boy who walks into a shop with a magical sign that says “Adventurers Wanted. Apply Within.”

Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: My favorite book—I wish it was a series—is The Swiss Family Robinson.

Q: How did you get into fishing?
A: My Uncle Steve [Dennis] gave me a fly rod, which started it all, and my dad gave me an Ugly Stik, a brand of spin-casting rods.

Q: But you still made your own fly rod?
A: That’s a sad story. It started out as a two-piece rod, and now it’s a three-piece rod.

Q: Did books teach you how to make it?
A: No. Teton County 4-H Sport Fishing Club and Will (Dornan of Snake River Anglers) helped.

Q: Did you get to use your rod before it broke?
A: Once. On the Gros Ventre River. It was torture. By the end of the day, I thought the river was trying to get me to leave. There were so many sticks sticking out at so many angles, waiting to catch your line on the back cast. I didn’t get one good cast in.

Q: What fly would you like to master tying?
A: A stonefly or a mayfly—mayflies because they are really delicate, or a stonefly because you have to do all of the layering perfectly or it doesn’t look like a stonefly.

Q: What have you been up to this summer?
A: Visiting my teacher, I found a book in her classroom. She let me take it home for the summer. She spoils us.

Q: What’s the book?
A: Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun.

Q: Did it give you any ideas for an experiment?
A: If I had the correct materials, detecting ethanol. You take yeast and put it in a bottle with water and biomass, which is sawdust or dried leaves, and then you put a balloon on the top of the bottle. You can’t see ethanol, but ethanol puts off carbon dioxide, and you can see the balloon fill up.