Right around 14,146 days. From what I have heard, first couple nights were spent in my grandparents' home on Hill Lake. Near Aitkin/Itasca county line. Within 120 yards of fish holding steady under ice. I think there were shelves of National Geographic magazines and a swordfish mounted over a smooth rock fireplace and a pheasant on one wall. I woke every few hours wanting dry blankets and fire and comfort.
That day to this one the number is 0.5% which is not negligible. It is not de minimis. Meaning I didn't make one foray and then tell stories about it to everyone I know. Half a percent of a life; that is the number. We've been paddling for a while. My dad, probably twice what I've logged. It's not a novelty; it's a tradition we are fortunate to have kept. That means there isn't necessarily new material; revelations, exclamations to report. The lake is the same; the rock is the same. The fish win a lot; we win some. The clouds and the stars still define the sky and yield to no false illuminations. We've caught thousands of fish; any number of methods, any number of species, sizes.
There are some fish pictures to post subsequent to the following images, which represent an effort to capture some of the details of the paddling and our camp; some of our gear, etc.
|At the time of purchase, the Paul Bunyan was the largest Duluth Pack made. From the storefront I think you can see Lake Superior.|
|Some places you can visit twenty times for five minutes per; maybe couple hours of your life at most. And yet memorize more completely than the roads you walk every day. I think we boys first came to this portage in 1985 or 1986. There have always been logs there at the top of the outflow. |
|Camped on our "main lake." We now have a couple tents that stand up very well to the rain. The tent in the foreground is owned by father-in-law; long-term caretaking by me. It is a Marmot Limelight; I would recommend this tent to anyone including Chong Li or JC Van Damme. Good features and good rain fly. No moisture got in, despite rain every day. Can't see buying a tent at this point in time that does not have a fly that goes down to approx ground level. |
|Every day. But not all day. One soaking rain; others just spittings. My brother and I were fishing a 20x5 foot rock island when a squall came across the lake. We heard it. Then saw it. Then felt it. Then it was gone. |
|Minestrone. First night. One of the warmest, best meals I've had in a while.|
|First morning. Don't eat breakfast before fishing. No canoe. Wading.|
|Appreciate the process of getting wet and then drying out. The sun and wind will dry your gear. The middle of the day to be used for drying, resting, conversation, relaxed fishing as appropriate. I got wet every morning (externally and also due to leaky waders, which I accept), and dried out each afternoon. |
|We talked a while with some wolf trappers.|
|We did have glassy nights. Good fishing. Easy paddling and wading.|
|One afternoon paddled solo with both rods; mostly trolling big streamers.|
|Typical fly rotation.|
|There is a beer keg in there.|
|View from camp looking N/NE.|
|3/4. My brother left a day early and I didn't get a picture of all four of us. He shows plenty in fish pictures though.|
|Paddling out solo. Turn canoe around and sit in front seat. Weigh down as needed. This turned to whitecaps but it was manageable. |
|Veteran sternsman; ancient rock face.|
Plenty of fish; pics in next post.