Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day weekend

A few weeks ago Jen and I were invited by our friend, Bryan from Milwaukee, to join him and a group of fellow fly fishers for Labor day weekend. We had no commitments so we gladly accepted and set about getting ready for a weekend of camping, fly fishing, and enjoying the beauty of the remote wilderness and the trees as they were starting to display their fall colors. And I do mean remote, as we were lucky to have an outhouse, but no more. It was just the kind of weekend we needed.

Very early Saturday morning we hit the road and headed to our destination. We arrived just before noon, where we set up our campsite a hundred yards or so from a nice small lake amongst the other tents of our trout seeking group. The usual routine of setting up the tent, filling it with sleeping stuff and our clothes, camp chairs, setting up the new portable camp table so that we wouldn't have to use our cooking stuff on the ground as we have been doing in the past. I think this is a huge improvement to our camping adventures. Checked to make sure both the Coleman cook stove and lantern worked.

Then we grabbed a map since no one was around and canvased the area looking at potential streams to fish and doing a little off-roading. Apparently the red-dotted lines on the Delorme is used to mark ATV trails in addition to minimum maintenance roads. Oops! We went a little ways down one of the red-dotted lined "roads" and ended up backing our way out as an ATV raced toward us from behind. That was embarrassing. But, on a better note some of the red-dotted line roads were basically nice logging roads that I am familiar with seeing in northern Minnesota, which was comforting. We had a blast on our explorations and seldom did we find paved roads to follow along on nor other people. When we got back to camp, a few of our buddies where there that we knew and a few that were new to us. After some quick catching up and introductions, we headed down to Eli and Tara's campsite where they had set up right on the beach and had a good fire going for cooking supper. The feast, by the way, was fabulous. Appetizers made of wild game, pork loin cooked over the coals, summer veggies, and much much more. Stories, naturally, where shared around the campfire and lots of laughs were had among the 14 of us. It was a late night. :)

Sunday morning, after a making some hot cocoa and oatmeal, I got some guidance from Gimp as to where Jen and I could catch some trout. Jen and I tried one of the rivers for the first part of the day. It took about 20 minutes of driving into the woods off of a back road on to a forest "highway" (basically an un-groomed logging trail with a number indicating we could drive it). It was a slow moving river and crystal clear. Gorgeous right? Yup, very much so. And therefore hard to fish. The trout were spooky, so we had to cast longer distances and delicately. This ended up being a little too much for our patience level that morning so we moved on.

The second half of the day we spent on pocket water tucked in an old growth forest, with very little undergrowth and nice cool shade on a pretty warm day. Jen and I took turns catching brookie's and rainbows. None of them were very big, but there were a lot of them caught in their little pools and they were very mad that we caught them. They were true firecrackers of a fight for their little size, which I would say averaged around six to seven inches. We returned to camp for another feast and lively campfire conversations.

Monday morning, we had a quick breakfast, broke down camp, said some good byes, then headed off to a river about 20 minutes from camp. It was another pocket water river that gave up some brookie's to my #16 Royal Wulffs and #12 orange stimulator's. Which, by the way, almost all of the fish caught on Saturday were on #12 orange Stimulator's. After an hour or so, I returned back to the Tahoe, stopped for ice cream at a local tourist trap next to some water fall, and then we headed for home.

I'm glad we had three days for this trip, but I think making it a four day trip would have been a little better. I can't complain though, it was a good trip and the only casualty was that my Thermarest blew out. It was not really a surprise, as I use them a lot and these are getting pretty old. And with all the off-roading, the dirty truck escaped breaking down, flat tires, and almost getting into a situation that would have ripped out our rear axle.

I love fall!

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