Friday, December 30, 2016

Where From Here?

     Only made it on the water up in the Boundary Waters this year. Never floated a boat at the cabin. Seems people fear for my life and see me being alone on wilderness water as a straight line to death.  I don't think they fear me dying as much as my inevitable toasting on the coals. Odd thing is that thought hasn't entered my head. It's not that I'm stupid, though some'd disagree, more that I still have a sense of my limits. Not a vision in my mind at all of soloing down the rapids in the Canadian Arctic. Nope, none at all. These days my visions lean toward a couple of hours on calm water with a fly rod in hand. The intention would be catching a couple but wouldn't pass the line into burning desire. Yeah, I still desire these days but it doesn't burn anymore.
     Over Christmas I spent a few minutes with El. Dean. Good minutes. If you've read a few of my posts then you know El. and I have passed a hundred or more hours paddling the same canoe. This spring will mark three years since we've shared the water. Three years too many. While we were talking, the thought struck me that the end of a tradition is rarely a decision. More that one day you wake up and you realize half a decade has passed. Years slipped by.
     Anyhow, the upcoming year holds the possibility of another Boundary Waters trip, maybe two. In a week or two I'll put the bee in Brian's bonnet, then, when my grandson's summer schedule is fleshed out, set up the dates for his introduction to the wilderness waters.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Folk Art

     I'd like to be a better writer. Or cabin builder. Paddle carver. You name it. Yeah, I'd like to be better, maybe even a master but I'm not. My punctuation's inconsistent, ragged. Don't know if I'm lazy or efficient but I sure leave out a lot of words. Even do it on purpose. I look around the cabin and can recall structural errors here, there and everywhere. The cedar siding is board and batten but lacks the batten. Run your hand down the loom of any paddle I've carved and you can feel the inconsistencies.  It's not that I haven't tried to be perfect and drive every nail straight but I sure as heck haven't. On the upside, everything works as it should. And there's even some pretty in most everything if the light is low and you squint just right.
     What I'm angling toward is my writing. It'll never be perfect in any sense or form. Can't say I'd know what it would look like if it was. So I write my writing off as folk art. Imperfection as beauty. Or at least as not ugly.
     At the moment my butt rests up at the cabin and cozied into the red Ikea chair that was too ugly to leave at home. My coffee sits next to our thirty year old radio on the scrap-made table. Emil nicely describes the table at the end of Archie's Tale - 1965, though the lamp atop the one next to me came by way of my father-in-law. As was Emil's wounding in the Philippines. Thanks John.
     Spent my life learning a little about this, something of that but never made it close to shooting expert in anything except me, where I've been and what I've thought and done. Even then my expertise can be a little clouded and doubtful. So when I finally sat down to peck out the Little American Novel, it had to be about me. So that's what it is. Call it autobiographical fiction. 
     Years ago I rambled on a lot about writing up the details of my life so my grandchildren could have an idea of how things were back in the dark ages of my formative years. That was the original intent behind Between Thought and the Treetops. Kind of a convoluted method if you ask me. If I was a nice grandpa I'd made it a lot easier on the five of them. But I'm not. Instead I ran off four hundred pages they'll have to think about. Or maybe not give a damn one way or the other.

     S'pose I could blame it on Emil. Back when I first took a stab at writing my words left no margin for doubt. Graceless. Then around a dozen years ago along came Emil. Problem was I killed him off about the time I realized he was there. Could be the reason why the novel was such a roundabout way of saying who I am. Call it Emil's revenge. Or maybe his gift. On the other hand, a single look at one of my paddles leaves no doubt as to function. Call it balance.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Slugs in Paradise - BWCA '16

     This post will take a while, maybe a long while.  At the moment I'm grunting my way through a full scale writing project with marginal brain power.  Story of life.
     Fifty years since my first trip.  A good round number and maybe one to end on.  Of course I've said that in the past, mainly in the days immediately following when I'm dragging ass.  We'll see.
     This year's trip was simple, five miles paddling with a steep, hundred-twenty rod portage to a dead end lake known for its walleye fishing.  Part of the plan was to kill and eat a few.

     I have full intentions of finishing this entry.  Might take a few month's as I'm putting a book together for publication and have no ambition or energy to do any other writing.
     Yup, still at it as of September 27.  Been editing since late April.  Hopefully I'll live long enough to finish though there's no guarantee. The title's "Between Thought and the Treetops." She's more or less a coming of age trilogy of novellas set in the 1960's of Manitoba and the Arrowhead of Minnesota. Ain't that a surprise.  The old saw is 'write what you know'.  Guess that sums it up nicely.  Humor, adventure, fishing, building and war.  The book's got it all but falls a little short when it comes to sex.  Maybe also a little short on quality writing and editing but each edit improves the flow.  Truth is it's not all that bad.

     So much time has passed I've nearly forgotten the reason for this entry's title. Admittedly, I have my slug side; Brian, not so much. But our campsite did have slugs. Never seen them in the Boundary Waters before though I doubt our site was unique. I didn't think of it at the time but I'm now wondering if walleyes would eat the slimy buggers. Can't say I've ever run across anything on the subject. Oh well, another experimental opportunity squandered.
     Let's see, where was I? Oh yeah, kill and eat a few. That was the plan but I had my doubts. I've never considered myself a walleye fisherman though I've caught my share. Not many in Minnesota mind you, nearly all were boated in the wilderness waters of Manitoba and they don't count. Those out of the way backwaters are where the inept go to fish. Yup, that's me in a nutshell. So the idea of counting on gathering a meal or two from the water was pretty sketchy. Better I'd planned on eating the slugs.
     Five months have passed since the trip and I still have a bone to pick with the Forestry Department. Early on I sent an e-mail to the powers that be about which entry point to use to enter and camp on Crocodile Lake. First off, what the hell kind of name is that for a lake of the north land? Regardless, entry point 66, Crocodile River, is shown on the map as being the proper way into the lake. And, should it be chosen, the canoeing party can only camp on Crocodile Lake. Yup, it's dead-ended. Somehow that kind of implies to my way of thinking, only those choosing 66 can camp on the lake. Turned out I was wrong. Or the Forestry Department doesn't know what it's doing. Or some canoeists don't much care where they camp. There's more I could say but won't other than mine was the year's first permit issued for entry 66. More later.
     After a final look at the snow cover maps and an e-mail or two to Brian I reserved our permit for entry point 66. Like I said ours was the first for the year. Yes, my memory might be wrong.
     For a change we drove up early on the morning of our entry date. As usual we were allowed to watch the video and take the oral exam. Not having gotten any further in college than a couple of quarters of grad school I always relish undergoing an oral, even study up for it, do research and am more than ready for any trick questions. Yeah, we aced it. Then for a change, we didn't discover any missing gear or even have any road construction problems on our drive up the Gunflint Trail though I did miss our turn. Seems I always manage to do that.
     At the East Bearskin access we found only one truck in the parking lot. All looked good. The short down lake paddle went by quickly. The landing at the portage sucked. Sofa-sized boulders everywhere. Good thing Brian remains middle-aged agile so it proved no great problem. However it brought to mind one of the great philosophical questions of our time, my time in particular; why is it that a man in his seventieth year farts nearly every time his body changes positions quickly? And why is it he feels little remorse when doing so?
     I also found the portage interesting. At 120 rods it's not particularly long nor very difficult. It begins with a steep ascent of 40 rods. I was in shape and found the rise actually easy. But somehow my lungs were sucking air like I was at 10,000 feet. What did they know that I did not?
     Immediately across from the end of the trail on Crocodile there lies what looked to be a fine campsite. But we didn't need no stinkin' campsite so close to civilization. People tramping over at all hours of the night, carrying on and yelling politically incorrect nonsense. Nope, not us. And like I recalled, ours was the first permit of the year for this dead-end lake. Both the world and the lake were our oysters. We loaded, pushed off and paddled away.
     We'd both done our research, read the BWCA campsite discussions and knew the second site was the plum. And it was. Excellent landing, beautiful rock shelf jutting into the lake and as we learned later, a classic rock pile/walleye haven about a hundred and fifty yards off-shore. Perfect. Of course it was occupied. I either stared gape-jawed or cursed a blue streak. One truck at the access, several directions to paddle from there, dozens of possible campsites and there they were, right where we wanted to be. Part of me wanted to continue the discussion I'd begun with the Forestry Department's staff as to the intent and meaning of obtaining a permit for entry point 66, this time with the occupants of what I considered our rightful campsite. Part of me knew that would be inappropriate behavior. And part of me suspected I'd get my butt kicked should we intrude. We paddled on toward the swamp end of the lake.
     Crocodile is really two lakes, neither all that spectacular. Disappointed, we headed east on the narrowing lake, passed through a bottom-scraping channel and into the tiny lake we became very familiar with over the next four days. I'm a fan of small water and have been for better than a quarter of a century. I should have been happy but wasn't.
     We passed the first campsite. Didn't have much of a landing and from what we could see from the water, lacked charm. The second was even less to behold. We returned. Ah well, better than nothing and we did have it to ourselves. Thank God, a second party would've felt a little crowded on the fifty acres.
     The site was definitely a make-shift affair. The only reason for its existence was the marginal canoe landing. It did have the required log benches, latrine and a single, barely big enough for our four-man tent, clearing. Outside of a few unmovable roots and rocks, it wasn't bad so long as you had better than two inches of self-inflating pad to soften the naturalness of the ground. Lucky for us we did.
     So there we were, the wrong end of the lake, marginal campsite and on a dead-end lake. But the companionship was good. Brian and I think differently about a lot of things, politics and religion in particular. However there is a link between us. Don't know why but I've always felt good when in his company. Yeah, both of our touchy subjects come up in our conversation though they never lead to emotional conflict. Usually we find common ground and there's plenty of it to be found. Why not? There's a lot going on in this universe and a whole lot more going on behind the scenes. There are few lines that need be drawn in this life and even those can get a little sketchy at times.
     A lot of the details of those days have been lost in the mush that's my brain. We ate good. Yeah, we did do that. Don't know how it came about but I've become decent at pan frying steak. It's a once a year thing for me. Mostly it just happens and voila, there they are, New York strips, crusty on the outside and juicy within. Not the easiest food to digest and I've read steaks are hell on wheels when it comes to colon cancer but once a year, ummm-ummm.
     That first evening we paddled east to the end of the lake. There we found a small reef and something of a drop off. The deepest hole in our slice of lake was no more than twelve feet so the bottom did indeed drop but not off the charts.. There we found fish. Walleyes and perch just like advertised. Truth was it was me who found the walleyes. Don't ask me why. The walleyes in Crocodile were supposed to be on the small side, a foot or so. The ones we found that first night were much bigger, the largest a paddle measured twenty-three inches. That's a lot of inches per acre. On the other hand the perch were as advertised, big and chunky. Most would have looked good in a frying pan, however none were put on the stringer.
     You have to wonder at my logic. I caught more Minnesota walleyes that evening than in the previous sixty-nine years of my life and I released them all. Threw 'em back. What the hell was I thinking? Truth be known, I must have figured the fish were even dumber than me and that's saying a lot. The idea simply never entered my head that we wouldn't catch more in the morning. Never. Where the hell is experience and wisdom in that attitude? Yeah, there was a doubtful tone in Brian's voice when he asked if we might stringer a couple. But, I mean jeez, where's the faith in that?
     I suppose this tale could wander down the past of wasted chances but it won't. Yup we caught more the next day. Not as many, not as big, but we for sure caught them. And killed them. And ate them battered in Cajun breading. Yummy. Brian did the butchering, I tended the pans.
     In a fit of preparation I'd thrown a length of aspen board in a pack as a filleting surface. In the past I've used a paddle; not this year. Over the previous summer I'd laminated and carved a half dozen paddles. Five or more woods in each. Beauties all. A little banging on the rocks didn't bother me. However, the idea of carving upon their hand-varnished surfaces with sharpened steel seemed a violation. Odd how that goes.
     Careful, there's an R rated part coming up. Make that a potential R rated part.
     So we're sitting there in the afternoon. Nice afternoon in a swampy kind of way. Brian's rummaging through his pack and pulls out a handgun. Seeing as how he's licensed to carry that's okay these days. Not something I'd do but it's legal as can be. Back at the ranger station the the lady behind the desk even said so. Keep in mind that in the old days a handgun in the pack was considered as normal as a bass-o-reno. Made me feel a little ill-at-ease but I didn't say anything.
     Odd, considering I'm a Vietnam combat vet. The woods over in southeast Asia held a lot to be afraid of. Not so much the one we were camping in. At least that's the way I've always felt. Could be things are different these days, a lot more people are armed and we've all seen Deliverance. Also there've been reports of violence in our wilderness. Not sure what that's about. Wilderness campers have a non-violent aura about them and I don't think that's what Bob Dylan had in mind when he sang "The times, they are a-changing."
     So I looked the piece over. Plastic on the outside, steel in. Held a twenty round clip and fired bullets so fast they went backwards, so you always aimed in the opposite direction of the target. I thanked Brian for the tour and handed him his weapon. As to a position on the owning of firearms, simply put, they don't interest me. Not for them, not against them so long as they aren't against my temple.
     That done we returned to what the trip was about, eating, talking and wandering the woods in search of a dead but still intact cedar. In short, we found none. The previous year we'd had them aplenty. Straight, bone dry and rot free. I thought of them many times over the winter months and all the things I could do with them. The plan was to saw a few two footers and bring them home. Rip them into little planks and maybe carve one on the band saw. Seems an odd thing to do, take part of a real tree and make it into a little, cartoonish one. Sometimes I do things just to do things then stand back, say to myself, "Look what I've done," then move onto the next pointless thing. Yup, didn't find a one but haven't given up hope. Next year my son-in-law, grandson and I are heading off on a twelve-year-old's adventure and I know just the spot where those dead, toppled cedars lie waiting.
     As the days passed the fishing slowed. I caught less, Brian boated more and the size of the walleyes dwindled. However the perch were forgiving and willing to sacrifice themselves to our appetites. Guess they were more Christian. Made me feel like one of the lions in the Roman Colosseum. Once again I let Brian do the butchering.
     Mostly we had good weather. Even the bugs weren't bad. However, on the last night it began to rain. Not a hard rain but it came down like it was in no hurry to stop. That night we learned my sixteen year old Eureka! was no longer waterproof. Didn't leak bad and for the most part only got Brian's side wet. Yes, I was concerned. Even felt bad but not bad enough to switch sides.
     The following morning we packed it up and headed out. It was on the outbound that we passed over the wonderful reef out from the choice campsite. Oh well, we came to catch walleyes and perch and that's what we did. Even had a couple of meals courtesy of the lake. What more could we want?
     It was at the access, now brimming with canoes, that we learned the walleyes had taken up making babies. Seems we caught the end of the pre-spawn on our first two days. As usual spring fishing is all about timing. All-in-all another good trip.
     Back home I pitched the inner body of the tent to remove temptation but kept the fly, poles and pegs. A month later I caught a four man Kelty on sale and gave it to my son-in-law as an early Christmas present with the stipulation I could borrow it if needed.
     Not bad. It only took me five and a half months to polish off this entry.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tough Year

     Not much to write about since last summer.  Made it to the cabin early in July then hung at home awaiting the call that'd tell us our fifth grandchild was on the way.  His name is Joshua.  While he was entering the world we had his brothers.  A week later Lois was diagnosed with cancer.  After surgery and chemo she's doing okay.  Then came winter in Alabama where she did her radiation.  When push comes to shove time in the woods and on the water takes a back seat to life.  However, we made it north last week.
     Outside of dust and dead flies the cabin was as we'd left it.  Each time we approach the gate at the beginning of the year there's always the fear of a breakin.  Seems 'Minnesota nice' doesn't apply to everyone.  This time, no problem.  Also, no leaves anywhere.  Guess spring hasn't fully sprung in the northland.
     Over the winter months I wrote the third part of my fictitious years with Uncle Emil.  Now it's in the process of becoming an actual book, maybe.  Yah, me write book.  Mostly it'd be nice to have a professional read the entries and let me know if they're wasted words or a decent tale.  I have my opinions but they're heavily prejudiced.
     One month till the Boundary Waters trip.  I'm finally getting off my duff and preparing.  Trying to keep it simple this year.  Good luck with that.  More paddles in the offing.  Maybe I'll take a few pics and post them.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


     It ain't everything but it sure bends the twig.  Motivates and sometimes procrastinates.  Twenty years ago I counted the days from one wilderness trip to the next.  Did so on a daily basis when the number dropped below a hundred.  Don't do that anymore.  Could have to do with being retired.  Age softens desire in many ways.  Yeah it's still there, still stop for a moment now and then to count the days.  Forty if you must know.  In a week or two I'll pull out the gear and check for condition.  How's the screening on the tent, do the self-inflating pads hold air, etc.?  This year Brian and I'll actually coordinate our food list.  We brought enough for four last year.  It's a pleasure to eat well but when it cuts into fishing time….
     The plan this year is to eat some walleyes and perch, one or two meals worth should we be lucky.  Most would think that goes without saying.  Eat fish on a fishing trip?  Yup, sounds like they go hand in glove.  Also saves carry weight.  That's a goal this year.  Last year on our drive home we drew up a list of 'don't needs' and 'didn't use.'  No hard sided cooler, no chairs, less food, no seat backs, maybe a freeze dried meal or two.  All told, twenty-five pounds.  We've a hundred, twenty-two years between us, less to carry is good.  Yeah, I'm entering the wimpy years.  Not there yet but it's in sight.
     On an up note, I've spent a few hours checking out vintage spinning rods on ebay.  Almost but not quite bid on one or two.  Would've but could see no need for more rods unless they came from a garage sale for less than five bucks.  Then it wouldn't be so much a rod as a good deal.  Big difference.
     I haven't written much in the last two weeks.  Call it a deflation.  Finished the third Uncle Emil story and for the moment have run out of things to say.  Simple as that.  Instead, I rewrite and revise.

Monday, March 28, 2016


     New water.  This year's spring trip the Boundary Waters will be to a lake I've never paddled.  But it's not as much of a mystery as it might've been twenty years ago.  More so had it been fifty like my first trip to the waters of the Arrowhead.  Back then we fished lakes without a clue as to what we might or might not catch.  That we tied into some smallmouth bass came as a complete surprise.  Same thing back in the early '90s concerning the little lakes near the cabin.  You root out a way to get onto the lake then start searching for Lord knows what.  That's what my mind's eye sees when it conjures up mew water.
     The lake Brian and I will fish is not a mystery these days even though we've never seen it.  The internet has provided us with the fish we can hope to catch, where to find them, probable sizes and what the campsites look like.  Dozens of photos provided through the wonder of computers and communication satellites.  So is it new water?  Yes, but it sure's not an unknown.
     Yet there still remains a mystery or two, weather and bug hatches.  Brian and I have spent seven nights camping in the Arrowhead in the last two years and haven't shipped a drop.  Even the skeeters and black flies have left us alone.  Makes me nervous.  In in the northwoods of Minnesota there's always a piper standing down the road.  How far is never known till he taps you on the shoulder.  Then you better have the rain gear near at hand.  And maybe a head net.
     I have no great expectations.  Small ones yes.  Might be different if my son-in-law and grandson were coming up.  There's a thrill in sharing something as wonderful as wilderness camping and fishing. And the flip side of knowing the excitement and fears of the newcomers.  Canoe towing pike balanced by wilderness bears.  Camping out and noises outside the tent in the dark.  The possibility of shared wonder with Ryan and Jakob would no doubt get me jabbering away on the drive up.  I do that a lot.  Do my best to paint a picture of what the next few days will be like and don't do a good job of it.  Create expectations that only pan out one trip out of ten.  Might be best to keep a leash on my mouth and let reality speak for itself when the time comes.
     Yeah I'm happy to be in my seventieth year but there's a part of being ten once again that has its appeal.  A man with many thousands of casts under his belt knows well the odds of a lunker being at the end of his line.  A ten year old has expectations.  Big ones.  Knows the fish of a lifetime hasn't yet been seen.  Makes me happy there's a little bit of kid left I haven't outgrown.  Just enough to keep me on my toes with each cast.  Pick a likely spot, lay my lure or fly as best I can and work it in.  Small expectations are reason enough to pay attention.
     For now Ryan and Jakob are no more than maybes.  Brian is for sure, as is our upcoming trip.  When I made the permit reservation it looked like an early spring in the Arrowhead, maybe too early.  Not so anymore.  Seems like winter is holding onto three feet of snow up there.  Temperatures this weekend are supposed to drop below zero.  Gets me thinking of frozen lakes to the end of May.  It's happened before, might happen again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Leaving the Southland

     Another winter of pecking out a story in the Uncle Emil blog.  Figured to write something like a trilogy when I started "Canada" back in December of 2013.  Now it's kinda done.  Edited, re-edited, revised and rethought.  Mostly makes sense but now I don't know what to do with it.  Or where to go from here?  And am a little deflated after the last, full edit.  What to write next?
     Along the way I've been thinking of canoe paddles.  Made a fistful last year and have intentions of making more.  At art and craft fairs I've been looking at the work of other woodworkers.  Mostly I stare at cutting boards and the patterns used.  And consider if they could be incorporated into a paddle.  Seems like thievery but when I speak with the craftsmen, they don't seem to mind at all.  Even offer a tip or two.
     One of the craftsmen had a half dozen canoe paddles for sale.  Walnut grip and blade cap.  Loom and blade of what appeared to be light pine and dark-stained spruce.  He was asking seventy-five bucks apiece.  Hah!  The man was giving them away.  He said he was from Arkansas and was told down there his price was too high.  Had I not been making my own I'd've bought one for sure.
     As for what's planned when I get home, I figure it has a lot to do with confidence.  Try something that seems far fetched as to the alignment of the blade strips and if it doesn't work, so be it.  Rather than use strips of wood as they come from the board, fabricate them from multiple pieces of wood.  Random chess board - I started writing checker board but figured chess had more class - of color.  Had I more talent and a better band saw, inlay would be a possibility.  Who knows what they'll end up looking like?  The best part is I'm making them for myself and to give away.  Should I bust one up one the rocks I'm only out my time and twenty bucks.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Spring Trip

     I'd no intentions of making lures this year.  Still had a pile of unused spinners from last year and the year before.  Should homemade lures and canoe paddles become collector's items I'd be set for life.  Of course I'll make a few new paddles.  Pretty ones.  Maybe even use them in the Boundary Waters.  But lures?
     Then it changed.  Not all of a sudden.  Things don't happen that quickly with me these days.  Takes a while for my brain to grind out a few hints then even longer for me to accept the proposal.  Might've happened quicker had a few of the voices in my head learned to keep their traps shut.
     If you've read any of my entries you probably know I'm mostly a bass and pike fisherman.  Might have to do with them being suckers for in-line spinners.  But they're not the target for this year's trip to the Boundary Waters.  Nope, walleyes and perch.  Our entry permit says we have to spend our entire trip dead ended on a single lake and that's what's in the lake.  That and a few tons of suckers.
     I blame it on my nephew Brian.  He's been hankering for a meal of one or the other on both of our previous trips.  Don't know if it's the flavor or if he just likes to kill and eat something once in a while.  Doesn't matter, if that's what he wants that's what we'll do.  Seeing as how he's the only human being who'll do this kind of trip with me, I better keep him happy.
     So the plan is to make a few walleye friendly trolling rigs and some hair and feather jigs.  Goes without saying the trolling lures will be educated spinners.  Like Winnie the Pooh I'm a man of little brain.  Besides, it's always a little more fun to catch 'em on homemade.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Decisions, Decisions

     Yup, goin' to the Boundary Waters this spring.  And heading to an odd, dead end corner.  Many small walleyes, a few big ones.  Good perch also.  Problem is there's only one proper way to enter the lake we'll set up on and that way hasn't been maintained in an unknown number of years.  Read a blog discussion on the entry point and no one seemed in agreement as to what to do.  Finally e-mailed the powers that be and got an answer almost immediately.  Their solution was to go in the wrong entry - or maybe that was the correct one - as the proper one might not be passable.  Seems the right thing to do would be to simply do away with the unused point.  Or send in a crew to clean up the access.
     Stellar Mason, the Superior National Forest agent I e-mailed, also forwarded a BWCA planning guide and the guide cleared up my confusion.  I'll say no more at the moment and should the fishing be excellent, I may remain quiet on the subject.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Considerations from a Distance

     I'm over here hiding from my Uncle Emil.  Left him eating breakfast and breaking camp in September of '69 on Lake Gabimichigami.  He's hiking both the Border Route and Kekekabic Trails, around and through the Boundary Waters.  Not sure where he gets the ambition or the energy.  Probably from the same place as me, foolishness and a lack of perspective.
     As always, he's my inspiration.  Why not?  As far as I know he's never existed anywhere but in my head and can be exactly as he wants to be.  If he chooses to be an honorable and upstanding man with an odd point of view that's fine with me.   Anytime I've tried to change his ways he's said no.  Go figure.  So he's hiking.  Didn't see that coming till he got the urge.  On the other hand, that he asked me to keep a journal for him was no surprise.  Now I'm considering doing the same.  I'd do it in a heartbeat but, you see, it doesn't involve fishing.  Even when you're a marginal angler like me, a trip to the wilderness without a canoe and rod seems a waste of valuable water.  Odd thing is I value the opportunity to fish more than the actuality.  Simply put, a dozen casts and a boated smallmouth bass will calm my addiction.
     Emil's a horse of another color.  He's doing two weeks afoot and passing dozens of blue ribbon lakes along the way.  Makes me want to lace up my sneakers to learn how such an experience would feel.  See the sights he's seeing and be able to describe them better.  Maybe even see how a mind works while putting one foot in front of the other for days on end.
     Anyhow, it's a thought.  Probably'll never set foot on either trail.  If for no other reason than the reality of a forty pound pack on my pack for six or more hours a day holds no appeal.  Don't mind walking for fifteen or twenty miles a day.  But the pack?  Just don't see that happening.  

Friday, January 22, 2016


     Finally went and did it, wrote an entry in the wrong blog.  Called 'Plans for the New Year' and in my Vietnam blog innocent  Way too lazy to re-write it.