February 28, 2016

Guest Post Doug H

Been reading your stuff and I'll tell you what.....................you'll buy that fishing license and stamp this year again just like you always have and that'll be the end of it.

I am 64 and have plates and screws in my neck and lower back. I have a stent somewhere in my chest, spent 35 years working steel in a factory, and carry a flip phone so that EMS might find my carcass before the crows do in the event I drop dead on the stream some where.

You will do what people like us do. Get out there and enjoy whatever portion of the experience we are still able to pursue.

My wife has MS and I find myself in the role of nearly full time caregiver now. The last few years of reasonable freedom in my life took me on camp trips that sub consciously revolved around doing the things and going to the places I suspected in the back of my mind..............I might soon not be able to get to again.

A trip to the end of the Gun Flint Trail and a kayak paddle onto Seagull lake were finally crossed off my bucket list. The road back took me to a stop at the Copper Range campground on the Brule river...................a place I've camped and fished since 1970.

My camps to Day, Mineral, and Beaver lakes in the Clam Lake area were also hit in the last few years since I wondered if I'd be back there again in this life. I spent an evening on Juniper Rock overlook on the North Country Trail where I have directed the ashes of my carcass be spread when I die. I paddled lake Superior and camped above a steelhead pool at a county park just outside Washburn one more time.


I do not know if I'll ever set up another tent, throw another bucktail at a musky face, hike the trail to Juniper Rock, or wade the Brule in spring when the lake is still iced over and the lingering snow on the ground keeps the camp beer cold.

Now...............having said that, I am certain I will be buying a trout stamp again this year. Our cabin near Ferryville is not the north woods. There are no loons or bears and the smell of pine forest is absent. I expect to not cross trails with wolves like I've done fishing on the Potato River.

What we do have is a comfortable place near Ferryville that both wife and I love and has become our second home for more than 100 days a year these past 15 years. It is there I will continue to do what I am able to do with the free time I am able to scare up. Small mouth bass and morels in the spring. Trail hikes over at "*&^%$" creek bluff or "OT%*&#" creek in the fall.

Bluegills snapping on a kayak paddle down below or an afternoon beer at rivers edge at Blackhawk watching boats go by.

Then there the other thing. A misty morning down the hill on any one of the trout streams I now call my home waters. Last season I was not able to trout fish till early September. When I did get out, my first cast sent a floating rapala down a narrow ribbon of water and around the bend where I couldn't see it. I waited, flipped the bail, and twitched the rod tip. Bam! Fish on. My first trout of the year was a 22 inch hook jawed beauty........... I kept it for the smoker. I kept 2 other trout last season. I released many big guys to grow and be caught this year. I missed or saw many others. I only got out to fish 3 or 4 times but I could not have asked for more if I'd fished every week since the opening.


 We do what we do and I hope you do what you have always done because its what people like us are and is what we seem to need in order to remain grounded in what's real and important.

Years ago you sent me on a trip to "%$#@!" creek as it was never listed in any of the trout books as trout water.  Bring a camera you wrote. I did. Since then I've done my fair share of exploring around the neighborhood and while I may not set up camp at Brule again, I will get what I need in a way I can do it in a place that is just as special and within my capabilities.


Be well.

Doug

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