Picture of rapids on a river.

After we arrived at the lake and the pilot was gone, we hauled our gear from the dock up to the cabin. None of us were expecting much, but it was better than we expected. There were six or eight single bunk beds in a back room. In the main room there was a picnic table, a few chairs, a wood stove heater, an LP gas refrigerator, an LP gas stove and a counter with some shelves. There wasn't much else except graffiti and the walls and ceiling were covered in it.

I think my favorite, and I looked at it all week, was "This ain't no place for a honeymoon." Right. There were other things people had written and by the end of the week, we added a few things too. We didn't care about the graffiti anyway. We wanted to go fishing. The lake was eleven miles long and had three or four rivers that came into it, and one river that emptied it. We'll get to that river a few chapters later.

The guys the pilot picked up when he dropped us off were workers who were there to do repairs. It wasn't their first visit to the lake and they gave us directions to some fishing. The spot they sent us to was probably one of the most picturesque places on the entire lake. But first there was the moose.

My brother and I took one boat and our parents took the other boat. We set out to find the river the workers told us about, but then my brother and I went back to the cabin because we forgot something, so we were separated. After we found whatever we forgot, we left again. On the way to the river, we passed a peninsula and standing in the water was a moose. It wasn't a big moose, in fact it looked kind of like a baby moose. A baby moose is a big animal for sure, but it was still a young moose. We watched it for a while and while we watched, we fished and caught a couple of walleyes. So far, so good.

Eventually, we got tired of looking at the moose who was eating some kind of sea weed and went looking for our parents. We found them just inside the river mouth the workers described. There was a water fall maybe thirty or forty feet high and a lot of rocks and stuff. It just beautiful. We beached the boat to explore a little and took our fishing rods. I jumped to a rock, then another rock and another and before I knew it, I was standing about one-third of the way across the river. It was cool.

Plop! Spash! Laugh! I lookd upstream and Chris was standing on rock similar to mine. He had cast his lure so it landed right in front of me, probably hoping I'd be startled and fall in. I was getting ready to cast my own line, but he cast past me. I could see his lure in the water, then a flash behind it. He kept reeling in the lure and right behind it was a walleye. "Get ready!" I hollered. "Here it comes. Here it comes!" Then Wham! I saw the fish grab his lure just feet in front of me. We were laughing so hard, catching fish and having a good time.

Picture of a walleye pike laying on rocks.We stayed at the waterfall for a couple of hours, caught a lot of fish and kept enough for breakfast the next morning and supper that night. The waterfall was one place we would return to again and again, whether for a few minutes of fishing, to look at the scenery or stand on a rock and watch fish chase a lure. But the lake was huge and even though we were there from Saturday to Saturday, there was no way we would explore the entire place or even half of it.

We had a map and we'd look at it, decide on a place to explore and then go. In the morning we'd catch some fish, clean them and cook them over an open fire someplace and eat them for lunch. In the afternoon we'd catch more fish for dinner and breakfast. It was... awesome. The fishing was fantastic and I will tell you a lot more about that in later chapters.

One thing that always fascinated me was what time the sun rose and set. I knew we pretty far up north, but I didn't realize just how much a difference it made until that first evening. It was full daylight still, but there were clouds covering the sun and the lake was gray. It was the part of the day just before dusk when the light has softened just a little, but not enough that you notice, unless you notice on purpose.

And, we were hungry. I know I felt hungry and so did Chris and my mom and dad were certainly hungry. The dog kept eying up every fish we caught. You had to keep an eye on her too. She'd steal a fish and eat it faster than you could grab it away. Not that I'd begrudge her a fish of course... We had dog food along in case the fishing was poor, otherwise the dog ate as well as we did.

This trip took place in the third week of June, so it was very close to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. We were having a great time at the waterfall, but our stomachs felt empty, because they were in fact, quite empty. We'd had breakfast early, around five in the morning just after we crossed the border into Canada. There wasn't time for lunch except some snacks, so it had been quite a while since we'd eaten.

My dad asked if we were ready to go cook supper since we had enough fish for both breakfast and supper. I was reluctant to leave, but then he pointed out that it was nearly ten in the evening.

"Ten? Are you serious?" He was serious. It was late and all week I would continue to be amazed by how late the sun set in the evening and how you could easily read a book at ten in the evening. I woke between four and five every morning and it was always light outside. The night was no longer than five or six hours.

"So our first day in the wilderness, alone on a lake that was eleven-miles long, came to a close with a fresh caught walleye dinner, potatoes and cold beer. Life was good and it was only going to get better.

A true story by MJ Logan

 

Photo of River Rapids by Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at Flickr.com

Photo of a Walleye by Woody 1778a at Flickr.com

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