Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Great North

             For almost twenty years my son, Daryn and I, have been coming to northern Ontario, Canada for a remote fishing trip.  We come to a fly-in camp on Big Canon Lake, and of course the camp is called Big Canon Lake Lodge.  I write this post to you all from that camp.

            I traveled last Thursday evening after work to my son’s house in St. Louis to meet up with him and some of his work friends.  We left there at 3 a.m. St. Louis time Friday morning for International Falls, Minnesota in two vehicles, a 13 hour drive.  After spending the night, we woke early and crossed the border and drove another three hours to our meeting with the boat. 

            When you go into these remote camps, you can fly in or sometimes you can go in by boat.  For years we flew, but recently the owner offered to come get us by boat, saving us $400 each on the trip, as the air operators have really gouged the public in recent years.  The boat ride takes about an hour.  As long as it is not pouring down rain, it isn’t too bad.

            I hadn’t been on this trip for about five years.  It really is great to be back, and not just for the fishing.  It is for the entire experience.  No phones.  We do have internet.  I’ve been getting up at 5a.m. and writing every morning.  We look over a massive lake.  They treat us so well.  Incredible food.  Pork chops one night that I swear were two inches thick.  Prime Rib another night.  Lasagna, Sirloin, all the food wonderful and first class service.  The equipment is great and you sit on the lake, but have access to a river system.  We are in cabins with a bathroom and generator-powered lights with refrigerator.

            The staff is incredibly friendly.  I must say I had forgotten about the mosquitos.  Apparently it got warm here early because they are out and ready to eat.  Normally when we are here they are not too bad.  Not so this year.  When we arrived at the dock to unload, they were there to greet us and help us to our cabin.  They’re big.  Think of sparrows.  Think of sparrows that suck blood.  These guys were friendly though.  About a dozen of them helped carry our bags and gear to our cabin for us.  There is just nothing better than a trained mosquito.

            Don’t try to kill them.  If you hit them, it just makes them mad.  If you spray yourself with repellant, it just lets them know where you are.  The best way to sleep is to have some sort of way to get air from the outside, and then throw the covers over your head.  They can’t get to you.

            Unquestionably, the best part of the week has been the time with Daryn.  From 7:30 in the morning until nearly 10 p.m. each day we fish together, except for a break for supper.  We are in a boat the entire time.  We love it.  Moose, bear, eagles, beavers, loons, and only 30 other humans.  Two guys in a boat with the same sense of humor.  Two guys in a boat with the same love of fishing.  Two guys in a boat with the same love for each other.

            With our busy lives and modern, complicated world, we don’t always get the chance to sit and talk about important things and about stupid things.  14 hours in a boat for six days gives you a chance to do that.  It gave me a chance to listen to him again, to hear what he loves, what worries him, what shouldn’t worry him, what he seeks advice on, and what makes him such an outstanding man.

            I have watched the other five men up here with us, his friends and co-workers and how they interact with him.  I see and hear what they think of him.  They have come to me, to the side, unsolicited, to tell me how they respect him, appreciate him, and look forward to working with him each day.  What more could a dad want?  Fishing is not about catching fish. 


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