Just went over all the entries and realized I'd skipped over a dozen or more trips to the Boundary Waters, most of them with Al. Not a good sign. At the moment I've got what we used to call a head cold. Seeing as how my memory ain't what it used to be, I better not be throwing away my tissues after blowing my nose. Might be some important grey matter in with the mucus.
My best guess is that I did cover a few of them. But definitely not the one with biggest potential to embarrass my brother and his son-in-law. So I won't mention Bill and Rob's names in this entry. We all make mistakes. So long as nothing happens to ruin our futures they're no big deal. I'll leave it at that.
How and why we found ourselves in the position we found ourselves needs a brief couple of trip intro.
Blame it on my old buddy Rod and his need to do a post graduation trip to the Arrowhead region of Minnesota back in '66. And frost it with his last minute decision to head into East Pike Lake. Gotta blame him 'cause I didn't know squat about the area. If the smallmouth fishing hadn't been great none of what followed in the northwoods would have come about.
I needed a summer job in '66 and ended up in a canoe with my son five hundred miles north of the border thirty-five years. It's like Marilyn Monroe said about men liking her slightly oversized bottom, "Go figure."
In '92 I returned to East Pike with my son Allan. The bass were still there on our one trip in just like they'd been waiting. We slept outside the Boundary Waters in a leaky old umbrella tent listening to the thunder come rumbling down the hills like distant artillery. Good trip that pumped us up for a second one the following year.
This time we were more prepared. Real tent and lots of marginally edible freeze dried food. Set our sights for a return to East Pike with visions of sinking the canoe with all the bass we'd haul in. Instead it was a lesson in timing. Black flies. Clouds of 'em. Mosquitoes. Hard to breath without sucking in a few. And the bass were on their spawning beds. Sex trumps eating. We caught little and lived covered head to foot. Ate out on the water. Our four day trip turned into an overnighter.
Anyone with sense would've questioned a third trip. Not us. In fact we invited others to share the joy. I knew that the fishing inside the Boundary Waters was better than outside. At least I think I did. But scrounging up all the necessary gear for a party of six was beyond me. Three canoes? No problem. But we'd have to rent most of the camping gear and I hate to spend other peoples money. So we camped outside the borders with what we had.
Finding a campsite was a story in itself. And I'm just the person to share the fiasco.