function blogger_query_vars_filter( $vars ) { $vars[] = "blogger"; return $vars; } add_filter('query_vars', 'blogger_query_vars_filter'); function blogger_template_redirect() { global $wp_query; $blogger = $wp_query->query_vars['blogger']; if ( isset ( $blogger ) ) { wp_redirect( get_wordpress_url ( $blogger ) , 301 ); exit; } } add_action( 'template_redirect', 'blogger_template_redirect' ); function get_wordpress_url($blogger) { if ( preg_match('@^(?:https?://)?([^/]+)(.*)@i', $blogger, $url_parts) ) { $query = new WP_Query ( array ( "meta_key" => "blogger_permalink", "meta_value" => $url_parts[2] ) ); if ($query->have_posts()) { $query->the_post(); $url = get_permalink(); } wp_reset_postdata(); } return $url ? $url : home_url(); } Up North Captured Moments: Fish Camp: Part VII-Logging, Lewis & Clark and Leaving aka "The End"

Fish Camp: Part VII-Logging, Lewis & Clark and Leaving aka "The End"

The time has come to put this Fish Camp journal back into the tackle box.  It's been delightfully fun and I can't thank you enough for letting me share with you an experience that, for me, ranks right up there with my wedding day and having children...well, almost. :-)  I trust that after reading this adventure (Part I - VII) that the next time someone asks you to participate in something that seems a bit out of your comfort zone, you'll reconsider and think that just maybe it might turn into one of those "adventures of a lifetime".  So, do ~ Shannon  P.S. look for Phil's return here shortly. God Bless.

Fish Camp:  Logging, Lewis and Clark, and Leaving - The End

Wednesday, August 31st - Logging. It's hard to believe that with all the planning that goes into a trip that suddenly it comes time when you have to start thinking of home.  This morning we said, "Good-bye" to Dan and Denton as they headed back to reality and began to discuss our own departure day which--with much elation from the boys--was backed up an extra day from the "original plan". So with two full days of Fish Camp to go, our hosts proceeded to make sure each moment was filled with a memory for two very grateful boys and a by now, blown away, mom.

While the day began a bit cold and windy, the sun soon shone its face between the clouds and warmed us up a bit.  And while this was a "pleasure trip", there was still work to be done.  Today's first adventure on the list was to gather firewood to restock the pile that we were quickly diminishing and put some away for next year. Like every adventure so far before us, this was certain to be filled with fun and excitement especially for two boys who think sawing and chopping wood is way "up there" on the adventure scale. So, with eight of us piled in two trucks we headed out to join the landscape of loggers who have gone before us.

With camo-clad Mike as our guide, he soon found a dead tree just waiting to be felled.  It didn't take long before this once tall timber was laying across the road and like busy beavers readying for winter, we all made short order of the branches and quickly cut up log pieces stacking them in the back of Brian's truck ready for delivery.  I loved how both boys grinned a mile wide when I gave the approval to the men that it was "OK" if they used the bow saw and (gulp) machete. I greatly appreciated the safety "how-to" lessons first on the use of these man-sized tools --yet another life lesson learned.  In addition, we were also reminded of the fact that "many hands make light work" as within the hour our job was complete.  But not without some fun! I greatly appreciated the "something out of nothing" game that sprung up on the side of the road.  A simple circle target and everyone picked up four stones...while standing on the other side of the road, each person had a chance to aim at the target and whoever came the closest to the center...won!  How fun is that?  I'm sure this is a "game" the boys will relive time and time again. Who says kids need "gadgets" to have fun?  And finally, the morning would not be complete without a side splitting, belly busting moment of Jerry calling for a moose.  With a big piece of birch bark coiled into a cone shape--and all of us "safely" on the other side of Mike's truck--Jerry proceeded to hold the birch-bark megaphone to his lips, take a deep breath and yell, "Here Moosie, Moosie!" The best part was watching the two anticipation filled, wide eyed boys who didn't move from their safe haven nor take their eyes off the woods ... fully expecting a moose to come sauntering out!  (With that kind of call, I half expected Rocky and Bullwinkle to show up!) What fun--yes, there was that word--AGAIN!)

The afternoon yielded R&R as plans were made for the evening fish.  Warmed with more of Chef Tom's fine cuisine...tonight was venison chili which we all scarfed down with smacked lips. I'm not really sure who went with who but I do know that I eagerly accepted the opportunity to fish with Lake Racine summer residents and fish aficionados Mike and Paula.  With the threat of rain, we all donned our rain gear--ah, the moment I had been waiting for! (Not!)  As I pulled on my husbands glamorous sage green circa 1970's all weather slickers, I had to remind myself that I would be fishing under the stars and not dancing with them and besides, it did help against the cold and wind. Sitting in the middle of boat, I found myself once again holding one of those "bail-type" poles and grimacing at yet another a new question. (Paula): "Shannon, what kind of lure would you like to use?" (Me): "Uh, whatever you recommend!" And whatever it was it did the trick, I was soon the subject of a photo moment as I held up the first nice walleye of the night. Ta da! The evening unfolded into a beautiful card as the sound of a family of loons surrounded us, an eagle perched in a tree nearby and the landscape looked even more rugged up close as Mike took us on a mini tour of a part of the lake I had not been on yet.  All too soon, it was time for the return voyage across the lake and a chance to share in the adventures of the others.
The boys were impressed with my additions to the string of fish and I was feeling "a bit smug" until my dad asked, "Wow...nice fish, Shannon. What did you catch them on?"  Busted!  Around the campfire that night I discreetly asked Paula, "What kind of lures did I use?"  While she told me, I had that, "feeling-like-I'm-in-a-foreign-country" with the language barrier.  I then asked, "Would you mind writing that down for me?"  And she did...on the day we left, she slipped me a cheat-sheet of paper with the following info:  Cotton Cordell Wally Diver - Black and Gold; Flicker Shad Rap Deep Diving - Perch Colored...just in case some of you "out there" want to give it a try! All too soon, it was time to once again put the days adventures to bed and dream of our last full day in Canada. By now the night time routine of sleeping bag pillow talk with Ethan and Hunter in our Silver Bullet camper was ranking right up there in my "hold 'em in my heart memory bank," which by now was close to being full.

Thursday, September 1stLewis and Clark Adventure.  Little did I know when I woke up this morning that a.) I would be greeted with "How would you like your eggs cooked?" from the short order grill of Tom's Cafe or b.) It would turn into my favorite day of the trip. The day began with a bit of a sentimental journey as I noted while flipping through my Bible for morning devotions, I fell on the page where "deaths" are recorded and realized that it was 37 years ago today that my maternal grandmother, Neva McCallum, had passed away.  I was 10 years old. ( you want to "do the math" you'll get my current age which is fine with me.) Brian was 12.  I was struck with how blessed I was that Ethan-11 and Hunter-9 could spend this magical week with their grandfather and how the memories they were making would be with them the rest of their lives. Special indeed. do you top an already "over the top" fish camp experience?  Why with a "Lewis and Clark" type of expedition!  My hats off to this fine group of men who thought the boys might enjoy one last unique experience...I'm not really sure what to call it other than "extreme wilderness fishing".  With the precision of a NASCAR pit crew, the men loaded four flat bottom boats onto a trailer, proceeded to clamp four motors onto a board that fit in Mike's truck, add all the fishing paraphernalia that goes with it, load us all up and take us down the road to remote "Lake Florranna."--that's Wilderness with a capital "W".  One way in and one way out. 

Boats were unloaded, motors and seats attached, fishing gear gathered and off we all went...Dad with Brian, Mike and Paula, Ethan and Jerry; Tom, Hunter and me.  Now, I have to admit that while I found myself enjoying fishing more this week than I had originally planned, I had still hoped to capture some "National Geographic" type photos --something that I felt had still alluded me. Knowing this was my last chance, I would have been content to sit in the boat and snap away. I had even bit the bullet and brought my camera bag with two cameras and extra lens or approximately $1000 worth of equipment that I hoped and prayed did not go overboard.  However, when a pole was handed to me, which by now was beginning to feel a bit familiar, I couldn't help but smile when Jr. Fish Guide, aka 'Hunter' impishly smiled and said, "Mom, I'll pick a lure for you".  And he did; a fluorescent pink Hot 'n Tot -- the little rascal! And wouldn't you know it, within minutes of it landing in the dark waters, I had the first catch of our boat...a mini, throw back walleye. I laughed again when Tom, who helped me land this little lunker, asked if I wanted my picture with it and I said, "No, I'll take a picture of YOU holding MY fish!"  In reality, the idea of me passing a camera to the back of the boat and Tom passing a fish to the front of the boat with Hunter in the middle just sounded like a bad plan of action to me.

Speaking of was about that time that Hunter in his nine year old sage wisdom declared, "We're sinking!"  NOT what I wanted to hear as I gripped the bag with my camera equipment in it a bit tighter on my lap but yes, indeed, he was right.  Water was beginning to form in puddles around our feet. I could "picture" myself standing in the sinking boat with my camera bag over my head praying I would hit bottom sooner than later.  Announcing our plight to Brian as they motored by, he simply said, "Start bailing!"  So...I did. Thankfully, it was a rather slow leak and nothing I couldn't keep up on.

With my new bailing chore and time slipping away to capture the now taunting family of loons declaring, "Catch us if you can", I decided to reel in my line and focus on photography. This action prompted Captain Tom to ask, "Shannon, what are you doing?"  I said, "I'm going to take pictures."  To which he said, "You can do that and keep your line in the water." So with all the grace I could muster, I plunked the pole between my knees, praying the "Lake Florranna Lochness" twin would not decide to grab a hold of my hot pink lure at any moment, sending us on some water skiing-like adventure. I twisted my body in the direction of the loons and with my lens at its farthest setting tried to capture these magnificent creatures...a lesson that would prove futile; upon editing at home, I barely eeked out one keeper.

The fun continued as we trolled our way around the lake. With our four boats as the only traffic on the entire lake, it was indeed heavenly.  The air oozed with "peace and tranquility"--a picture straight out of Field and Stream magazine.  Of course, the fun of fishing abounded as we had come to find with three in the boat, lines were bound to get tangled.  My favorite "blonde" moment came when I began reeling my pole in to help alleviate the line congestion as Hunter had caught his lure on the rocky bottom. It was then that Tom declared, "Shannon, you have a fish!"  Oh?  I do? Sigh...five days later and I'm still such a novice...Unlike Hunter who seemed to enjoy a bit of "showing off".  With his feet propped up on the side of the boat, legs crossed, he would look at me ready to cast and with a flip of his wrist, cast BEHIND his head with his whole face/body still facing forward totally freaking me out.  Gotcha, mom!

In the meantime, Ethan was relishing in a his own grown up world as Jerry let him take over not only the running of the trolling motor, steering the boat, watching the fish finder and oh yea, throwing out his line, he looked like he was in Roland Martin's school of fishing heaven.  How does a mother even begin to take this all in and spit it all back out to their by now missing-my-family, what-have-we-done-with-getting-a-dog- husband/dad?  I just tried to keep tucking these memories as far as I could in the farthest reaches of my heart and mind, all the while knowing that the end of this incredible trip was drawing nigh.

With the magic meeting time of 5:00pm nearing, I was jolted out of my heavenly stupor with Tom reporting, "There's a bear over there!"  To which immediately came to my mind the Cub Scout Skit, "Over 'whar'?" Spinning around with camera and [thankfully] long lens in hand, I snapped as fast as I could.  WHOA!  A Big Bear!  And then, while I was glancing at my photo screen to see if I "got it"...wouldn't you know, two baby cubs and yet another big black bear ran across the scene before us.   It was then that I realized that they were right by our truck and trailer AND our only way off the lake!  Hoping the saying, "They're more afraid of you then you are of them" was true, we all, carefully, made our way back to shore.  With 18 bears per square mile in this area, Paula knew to always carry a whistle with her and proceeded to sound the alarm while the NASCAR team regrouped and did a reverse set up of the days earlier actions.  With boats secure, we headed back to camp for our last night around the campfire.

Like each night around the campfire, the flames seemed to dance with laughter-filled memory making fun. Tonight would be no different.  With hearts full of thankfulness, we wanted to show our gracious hosts and guests a bit of our appreciation.  Earlier in the week, at the Campground Store, the boys had picked out special t-shirts for Uncle Brian and Mr. Tom and unique book marks for Grandpa, Jerry, Mike and Paula.  Quite surprisingly, the boys received a special treat as well.  Mike presented them each with a hollow, wrought iron "fire stick" that he had made by hand.  Looking like the long horns from Switzerland but skinnier, you could blow air in through the top of the stick and have it come out at the divergent duct of a bottom which was placed near the fire. more burned eyebrows!  These have since become much loved tools around our own home campfire pit. All  too soon, it was time for bed. To say the nights' sleep was deep and sweet is putting it mildly. What a day of fabulous memories!

Friday, September 2ndLeaving -- Could it really be?  Time for us to head home?  With the calendar clicking ever closer to the start of school, it was indeed time to point this adventure back to the United States.  Doing as much "KPing" as I could in our accommodation, I regrouped all our "stuff" and with the help of many hands, got it all stowed away in the back of Jerry's truck. Ironically, I honestly believe we at one time or another used "all the stuff".  I was happy to note that we were not returning with any chocolate covered Traverse City dried cherries--they were indeed a hit! (Perhaps a bargaining chip for a return trip?) Brian and Tom were staying behind for a few extra days to close down the airstream and help Mike and Paula shut down their place for the winter.  So, this homeward bound adventure was going to be a solo voyage.

Given that there are two routes to and from Chapleau, we were highly encouraged to take the "scenic route" home via the road to Wawa and down the shores of Lake Superior.  With a bit of an overcast morning, we were hoping we would drive out of the fog and into some spectacular scenery.  With lots more laughs, hugs and group pictures, we were on our way. As we drove out the driveway of the campground, I could hardly believe the experiences that we had since we drove in.  What a blessing.

Of course the drive home was filled with adventures of its own, especially as the fog, instead of lifting, actually got thicker and thicker; by the time we reached Wawa the fog was, as they say, "as thick as pea soup, eh?" As for that "scenic route" and beautiful views of Lake Superior, well, lets just say, we'll have to try that again another time.  By this time I had offered to take the wheel from Jerry and found myself white-knuckle driving, often going only 30 mph or less, though the dense fog--an experience I would rather not repeat. It was also about this time that the boys made mention that they were going to take the "Moose Crossing" signs and put a big line across them as we never did cross with a moose.  Maybe next time.  We did enjoy a quick stop at the "Float Plane" airstrip that would take fishermen to Kabinakagami--a word Jerry enjoyed pronouncing a great deal this week, impressing all of us with his language fluidity! All too soon it was time to cross the International Bridge which for the start of a holiday weekend was beginning to get backed up with traffic.  We didn't encounter any problems with customs and they didn't give any indication of wanting to keep two boys much to this mother's relief.  As we reached the Mackinac Bridge, the sun broke out and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset--a fitting benediction to a fabulous trip! 

We were greeted back at Camp Cheboygan with hugs from mom who was all ears over the weeks' adventures.  I was thrilled to hear Jerry tell her that this was one of the best trips he had been on thanks to the boys and yours truly.  By now, we were ready to hit the hay. As I laid on the same couch that just a week ago I had been on with a bit of "fear and trepidation", I found it ironic that now my heart and mind were filled to overflowing with enough memories to last a lifetime.  And tonight, instead of a fitful, toss and turn sleep, this night was filled with sweet dreams. 

With the greeting of the dawn, I heard the boys rustle from their sleeping bags in Grandma and Grandpa's room. With clothes thrown on, I caught site of them just as they headed out the door toward the dock to do what else but ... go fishing...with yellow poles no less! A week ago, when Tom and Brian arrived they told Ethan and Hunter after they showed them their new fishing poles that they couldn't catch fish with a yellow pole--that was only the beginning of the lighthearted teasing. All too soon, it was time to hug Jerry one last time as he continued to make his way south to reconnect with his home. I'll miss his "super" reply to most everything.  A true delight to meet his acquaintance that's for sure!

And now it was time to turn our sites to another adventure...that of puppydom.  I can hardly wait for Phil to share with you some of those stories. In the meantime, I feel very blessed to have had this experience with not only our two boys but with my brother, my dad and the fine men who were on this trip.  While it might have seemed like "just another week" in Canada to them, it will remain a highlight for me for years to come. Asked if I would do it again, my hearty reply has been..."In a heartbeat!" And that, my friends, is "Fish Camp...A Reflection...from A Women's Point of View."

Photos by Paula Martin