This here's not really an epilogue. So I gave it a woodsier sound. Ain't I clever?
Since the six Manitoba trips already covered there have been three more. None had the passion of those first six. My fault. I just couldn't get all fired up. Not that I didn't want to. But it just wasn't in the cards and you can't force emotion. Maybe it was age. Maybe Al and I turned a corner in '03. He was moving on, moving into a new life on his own. Things change. And not always the way you want them to. Like a person has any say in the way life deals the cards. Maybe it was age. Not so young anymore. The body okay but the mind was moving on toward late middle age.
So, you could say it was weather that sent us to Quetico in late September of '04. I'd checked the forecasts for there and up in Grass River Park. Quetico was supposed to be so-so, Grass River cold and wet. Turned out the forecasters were wrong. Oh well. Then the day before we left, my back went out. Found it hiding in the garage. Being the chicken that I am, our plans changed.
We'd planned on entry at Beaverhouse Lake. Then through Quetico Lake and finally into Jean. Deep enough into the boonies to find good fishing. Jean looked something like Wedge Lake in size. Short about eighty islands but made up for that with lake trout. My back out, we cut it shorter. Quetico and Cirrus lakes. Both supposed to be good in a park known for it's fishing.
Hate to say it but being that much closer to the border took away from the trip of a lifetime feeling that Grass River brought to the table. Six cars at the access didn't help either. All of that felt too normal. Too Boundary Waters for me. Being the only canoe in Grass River Park, passin' through the fishing boats, on our way to the back country, that was my cup of tea. Doin' what others weren't. Doin' it right by doin' it wrong. I won't and can't say taking the road less travelled for fear of feeling like a Harley owner with a snot rag on my head. It's a dilemma. A person does what a person does. Hopefully has a good time on the way and gives it some thought.
By the way, we hit the Quetico lakes during turnover. That's my way of saying the fishing wasn't much to brag about and I'm sure as hell not taking the blame for that. Though I could be wrong.
One experience doesn't tell the whole story. Given the chance, I'd go back. I've heard Quetico is a tough park to get an entry permit. But not in late September when the northern accesses turn into an all come-all served situation. Maybe that was the problem and why there were so many canoeists.