Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Learning Curve '98 (Interlude-The Song of Emil)

     I remember my first trip to the Grass River area like it was yesterday. Well, when you ain't ever been alive, I guess most every day is like yesterday, or tomorrow for that matter. Back in '58, Grass River Park wasn't as yet past the talkin' about stage. The lodge I stayed in was still in the narrows between First and Second Cranberry lakes. Ended up in Cranberry Portage 'cuz that was about as far as I felt like driving. Couple of years later the area became an official Provincial Park. The Caribou Lodge had to be torn down and moved to the peninsula on the edge of town. Not boatin' to the cabin changed it for me. And not for the better. Fishin' was still good. Maybe even improved. So I guess it all balanced out.
     The next year I took my tent and camping gear with me. Nothing fancy mind you, canvas tent, Coleman stove, pots and pans, cooler of food, a bottle of Seagrams and canned goods. Lotta bulk but there was plenty of room in the Lund. Still stayed at the lodge but hit the boonies for a couple of nights so's I could feel all Daniel Boone-like. Set up camp on the portage to Wedge Lake. Pike heaven in a nutshell back there. With enough walleyes for supper.
     In '60, I dropped the lodge bit completely. Motored to the portage to Wedge Lake, hauled my gear and canoe over and spent a week under the stars singing with the loons.  Next year I went with my nephew Archie. That's a story in itself.  Did a few things a sane man would've passed on with a fourteen year old along. Lucky we didn't die. Coupla trips followed till, in '65 I built the cabin off the McFarland Road.
     I may now be an old fart but my fishing gear was state of the art in those days. Glass rods, monofilament line and Garcia spinning reels. I learned way back when to put my money where the rubber meets the road. Had a nine foot, eight weight, glass top of the line Shakespeare fly rod for diddling with the pike. On those evenings when Wedge was mirrored out, a 'teener on the long rod was five minutes of poetry. Put that on my tombstone. Me in the Grumman, rod doubled over, line snapped tight, bein' towed around. I'd take that for my heaven any day. You know, life's way too short. Gotta grab some of it that fits you to a 'T' once in a while. Dinner done, cup of coffee, smokin' a Lucky. Knowing there's no real hurry to head out 'cuz the fish'll always be there waiting on me.

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