Friday, February 18, 2011
Tales From The Outdoors Show Part I: Northern Ontario
So I've spent the last couple of days trying to decide which of the three tales to share first. I think a good place to start is my trip up to Lost Lake Lodge, as it pretty well sums up my Dad's obsession with fishing: we celebrated my graduation from high school with the trip to Canada that he had always dreamed about. But I really can't complain too much about my father taking me up to some of the most beautiful country in North America. Don't cry for me, Argentina.
Anyway, the major drawback of vacationing in the middle of nowhere is that you have to drive all the way to the middle of no where. If I remember correctly, it took about 14 hours to get there. And that was with Dad ignoring speed limit signs (both miles per hour and kilometers per hour) as well as my claims that I was ready to piss on him and eat his arm. But once we reached our location, The Lost Lake Lodge, we immediately knew the drive was going to be worth it. Lost Lake is the type of pristine landscape that you put on a postcard.
But the best part was that we knew that no where beyond the tranquil shorelines were we ever going to find an RV park or a bunch of screaming white trash kids shooting pellet guns at one an other. The only thing beyond the lake...were more lakes. And we would access to all of them to fish for small-mouth bass, northern pike, and even trout.
So, Dad's addiction being what it is, I believe we were in a boat fishing on the lake within two to three minutes of checking into the lodge. And within another two to three minutes, something became very clear. Green flies in Northern Ontario are like one of the ten fucking plagues. These little bastards were all over both of us immediately as we got out on the water. By the end of the trip Dad and I had sprayed so much bug repellent on ourselves that it literally oozed out of my pores. If you ever take a trip up north during the summer, I recommend you bring a bee suit.
Speaking of Canada in the summer, did you know that it does indeed get extremely hot? Somehow, this fact had eluded both my father and me, because we did not plan for the amount of sun that we were going to get. Why? Well, we aren't very bright. For some reason, we expected that being so far north would put us into milder temperatures, but as it turns out it's still pretty much summer up there, and when you go out without proper sun protection you get to look forward to this feeling by midweek.
One day I actually had to sleep off the sun stroke, so I left Dad to go out on his own. Which means, of course, I missed the best trip of the week. Not only did he catch the biggest fish of the week, but on his way back to the lodge he spotted a wolf on the shoreline. A FUCKING WOLF! We talked to Ed, the owner of the lodge, and he told us that through a couple of decades running the place, that's only happened about 3 times. Meanwhile, I'm back at the cabin trying to avoid setting the couch on fire with my skin.
But I can't act like this was a bad trip. One day we went on a hike to get to a lake with no road access. We had to walk for approximately 30 minutes through woods that maybe a handful of people get to see each year. Everything was ancient and untouched. Except for one strange anomaly...even though there were no roads within miles of this trail, there was the shell of a car that looked like it had been there since the 40s or 50s. To this day I can't think of how that son of a bitch got there. But it looked pretty damn cool. Which is good because when we got to the lake we didn't catch a damn thing.
Not to say that the fishing wasn't great elsewhere. Lost Lake is actually the first place that I ever caught myself a northern pike. The best way I can describe catching a northern pike is to hook onto something that feels like you've caught a rock at the bottom of the water, only the rock starts fighting back. And when you finally pull the rock up out of the water, it looks like this.
Needless to say, it was a hell of a dude's trip. We fished a lot, ate too much, and as previously mentioned did very little to protect our bodies from the elements. And I need to take a moment to give a tip of the cap to Ed, the owner/operator of Lost Lake Lodge. Not only did he treat us like family while we were at the lodge, but I swear to God when we saw him this year at the outdoors show he recognized both of us, which is quite a feat after almost a decade.
Anyway, that's my tale from Northern Ontario. Hope you enjoyed it, because there's plenty more like it to come. Next, I think we'll talk about the 27 separate times I almost shit my pants while whitewater rafting in West Virginia. Stay tuned to find out how!