Monday, April 15, 2019

Dreams Do Come True

As a young lad growing up in rural South Carolina, my adventures were, how do you say, small. Wandering through the cow pasture to the creek was about the extent of it. But when I got out of sight of our house, I "felt" like I was in the wilderness. My imagination could only take me so far.

Then on day, I grabbed an outdoor magazine from the local country store. I am not sure the title, but I remember reading story after story of men climbing mountains for sheep. Wading streams for steelhead, and flying into remote lakes to catch limitless fish on every cast.

I still have not climbed a mountain for sheep, and at my age, I am not sure I ever will. But I have waded for steelhead in the Lewis river in Washington. And I have flown into remote lakes in Ontario to fish for giant northern pike and trophy walleye.

I remember reading, of paddling boats through glacial lakes as crystal clear as the air itself. Watching as pike the size of your leg tearing towards your large top water lure and nearly ripping the rod from your hands. Of casting curly tail jigs and walleye pushing 30 inches being the norm on almost every cast.

When the day arrived for me to finally travel to northern Ontario to fulfill this dream, the excitement had been building for months. All I had dreamed about and imagined was finally coming to fruition. And the best part is it wasn't nearly as impossible as I had thought.

Like so many other sportsmen and women, we dream of hunts and fishing trips and just assume they are out of our reach. When in fact they are not. With careful planning, some research, most of the hunts and fishing trips we dream of are within reach of all working class people and above. It just takes some planning.

For my dream fly-in-fishing adventure, I chose Kashabowie Outposts from Atikokan, Ontario. Their sea hanger is a mere 2 hours from International Falls, MN a short 1,000 mile drive for me. My first trip to Kashabowie was with some friends we strung together at last minute. But by sharing the expenses, it was very affordable. They tailor trips to your desires and budget. With 10 cabins to choose from, there are several available for most of your group sizes.

When we boarded the Havalon Beaver float plane the reality was setting in. We would be off into the boreal forest of the great north and left there for four days in total isolation. As the plane took off (at a mere 50 mph) we flew for forty minutes into the wilderness. Nothing but lakes and forest below us the entire time. It was surreal. The Pilot did a fly by of our cabin so we could get a look at the lake from above and then turning south, he pointed the nose of the plane into the breeze and with the gentleness of a mother hen and her chicks, he set the plane on the calm water as smooth as a new jar of peanut butter.

Idling to the floating dock, we moored the plane and unloaded our gear. A short instruction on how to use the 2 way radio and he was off.

Standing there on the dock watching as the plane taxied down the lake was a feeling like I've not experienced. As the engine roared and he began his stretch down the lake to take off, I marveled at the ability of the pilot to maneuver this ancient plane into the air. Barely clearing the water, he tipped his wing at me as he went by and soared over the trees. I stood watching and listening until the stillness and silence overcame the surroundings.

For the next four days, we would not see another soul. The amenities at Grew Lake are superior, especially for a cabin so far from anything. 14' Lowe semi-V boats. Each with a 9.9-hp four-stroke Yamaha engine and all the gas we need. There was one boat for every two people. Since this cabin slept 8, there were four boats and engines available for us to use along with a canoe.

Over the next four days we fished about 8 hours a day and caught over 50 fish per person per day. We explored the lake. 6 miles long and about a half mile wide at its widest point. Beaver were everywhere. Loons, bald eagles, gulls, all were abundant.

During the evenings, after a meal of walleye and some extras, we sat around a campfire and listened as the loons cried. There is something unique and special about the cry of the loon in the boreal forest of the north. The echo of her cry carries for what seems like miles. Her cry causes the mind to wander, to be perplexed by the nothingness. All stress is released, all worries of life are faded, if for only a few days as the soul is refreshed.

This summer, I am taking my two sons to Kashabowie Outposts for a father-son week of serenity and fishing. This time at Piche Lake. My eldest son is getting married in September, and my youngest is heading off to college in August. So for four days, it will be just us. Driving for over 1,000 miles to spend some time in the wilderness.

My dream was to fly into adventure and fish pristine waters. Now, it is to pause and capture, if only briefly a few days with my sons before life gets in the way. I know the folks at Kashabowie Outposts will do all they can to make this a trip they will remember forever. I am hopeful, in years to come we will tell stories of this trip, and hopefully, one day find a way to repeat it.

Until then, remember that dreams can come true. In fact, I have come to believe that our dreams are God's way of showing us our true potential. Dream big, chase them and they can come true.

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