Thursday, December 5, 2013

Esther Lake - I

     Since it was morning we figured we might as well eat breakfast.  You know, the real north woods kind, cereal, milk and juice with maybe a banana on the side.  I know that doesn't sound like a true wilderness meal since it was lacking meat but it was what we liked.  I've been told a real north woods campin' breakfast should be eaten long before the sun crests the treetops.  But we slept in and didn't hit the road till mid-morning.
     The road was once again the Arrowhead Trail.  There was a lot of water off of the trail, both moving and still.   Nearly all of them were nothing more than names on a map to me and I wanted to see a couple before our time was done.  This morning we were gonna take a side trip.  Most of the way inland there was a fork in the road.  Yesterday we'd gone to the right.  Today it was left up the Esther Lake Road.  I figured they called it that 'cause it ended at Esther Lake.  But I could've be wrong.
     Just before we got to Esther we passed the turn for Chester Lake.  Don't know if there was a romantic couple with those names, possibly a pair of oxen or someone just liked the rhyme and happened upon teethe lakes before anyone else.  No doubt the Ojibwa had named them many years earlier but I strongly doubt they called them Esther and Chester.
     We bypassed Chester even though it's a trout lake stocked by the DNR.  It wasn't that we had anything against trout but the ones in Chester were brown trout.  I'd done enough reading to know they were pretty skittery and line shy.  I had hopes we might actually catch some fish and browns didn't sound all that interested in being caught.
     So we continued on to Esther and its more easily caught brookies and rainbows (guffaw, easier for who?).  There's a campground there, that is if you consider three unmarked spaces enough to qualify.  But there's also an outhouse and a boat launch so it's rarely vacated.  It wasn't.  We found a small trailer and a couple of tents crowded on top of each other.  Also found a couple of old guys and a couple more really old guys.  Don't know how long they'd been there but they did have moss growing on them and their feet were sprouting roots.  Figured those dudes had been fishing the lake since they'd been mustered out of the Roughriders and had known what the backside of Teddy Roosevelt's horse looked like as he led them up San Juan Hill.
     So I avoided them like the plague.  I didn't know what the hell I was doing and didn't want to let on 'specially to some codgers who no doubt knew the Esther Lake trout by name.   But as soon as Allan and I started to load the canoe, one of them wandered over.  Didn't know it back then but old guys are always looking for fresh faces to talk with.  Most anyone they knew had already heard every one of their stories and heard them way too many times.

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