Here We Go Again!

Yes dear reader I am back. (why I am posting a blog rather than just emailing it to my single reader I don’t know) I’ll try to post on a regular basis about camp and summer goings on as well as wrapping up the lurid and fantastic tale of Bob and Jack’s second trip to India. Stay tuned for great news and hijinks!

We came north to open the camp (as always) around the 10th of May. But that was just what the calendar said not the climatic reality! As for as the progression of the seasons it was still late winter. On the drive into camp we notice several barns and buildings that that have been standing for years and being kept in good repair squashed like a squirrel drunk on fermented mulberries jay walking on the QEW! Not pretty! And extremely worrisome for the owner of a camp with seven poorly constructed 50 year old cabins smack dab in the middle of the densest snow pack region in all of Ontario (according the  Weather Network that our friend Chris Murphy runs). Worrisome indeed with each additional pancaked structure noted on the way in. I keep banking on my cockamamie vinyl roofs shedding the snow before the burden becomes to onerous. That is to say I am somewhat anxious as I pull into camp. But my fears were not realized – the camp has survived the winter intact. But there is more snow pack on the ground all through camp than I have ever seen before and the ground is still completely frozen. The snow shed by the north facing slope of the lodge roof is higher than I have ever seen it. Due to the impermiable nature of frozen soil there is water ponding everywhere! The satellite dish for the TV has also been ripped off the front slope of the roof! Just like someone attached a chain to it and used their truck to yank it off the roof! The saving grace here is that the Penguins have already been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs so Janet isn’t panicked.

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After unloading and investigating possible damage – which was minimal – I boot down to the Wapus landing to see how high the water is. Its very high and was higher before we got here. The dam at Duncan is entirely covered and the landing parking lot and ramp are flooded.

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Kevin gazes quizzically at the flooded picnic table at the landing.

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The dam is a mere ripple.

After that our time at camp is occupied with all the necessary work to open the camp. I also have a frenzy of list making for all the tasks I’d like to complete and working out the staging for said projects. But alas these things must wait for a quick foray onto the river to see if any monster pike may be nabbed as they bask in the small flooded pools of the Wapus/Montreal river flood plain. No giant pike were in evidence but a few bass were caught unawares. I think the water was still a bit cold at the upper 50’s F.

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Kevin is only slightly impressed with the bass.

After the short interval of nice weather (and no blackflies or small mosquitos) the weather turns foul for a couple weeks. It typically rains and drizzles all day and night with highs in the low 50’s daytime and mid 30’s at night! Nasty nasty nasty. But we move forward albeit at a slower pace than normal. We hope for warm weather so that the water system will function and the holy grail of a hot shower is more than the fleeting glimpse of a walleye follow up on a mepps. This wish is tempered by the fact that accompanying this wish comes the downside of black flies and the swarms of mosquitoes.

Our wish comes true and we get about a week and a half of high temps and the water system breaks through to even the lodge! I think the ponded water transmitted the heat to the ground pretty efficiently after the hot sun warmed everything up. I did however get the water to within 20 feet of the shower house the second week we were in residence. I was really disgusted (and dirty) so I did what any worker would do to remedy an untenable situation – I went back to the lodge and had a couple stiff gin and tonics! When I went back down to the shower house the hot water tank was flushing out and clear! Next step, let it fill and light the beast up! So we did get showers relatively quickly after arrival. Some would say not quick enough.

At this writing we’ve had guests in and I brought the docks over to position for setting up and Janet has had to cut the grass. The leaves are out on most of the trees and everything is in bloom and beautiful.  The fishing has been good and Janet has been out on Firth to catch the first bass of the season. How she does it I have no idea. The day of fishing was good but odd in that only the one bass was caught all the other fish were walleye with mostly larger ones – say 20″ or so, and some small pike.

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The proud winner of the first bass from Firth contest with Gull rock over her shoulder.

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Joan and Kevin (suited up for the blackflies) survey the position of the newly placed dock as they wish for the dragonfly hatch!

I hope to get the docks set this weekend with the generous help of my friend Mike.

Now for the big news —- The Camp has made an acquisition of major import. Wait for it…. notice the tension building —– We now have a 24′ pontoon boat! The boat was crowd funded by several friends of the camp as well as camp funds so its availability for rental will be predicated on availability outside of times when part owners are not using it. I will note that most of the owners are late risers and not fishermen so we will be as flexible as possible. The cool thing about this boat is that it is an open format boat without built in seats facing inward. We have ample chairs and seats that can be used for lounging and easy placement for people wishing to be seated whilst fishing. I will be constructing a lounge type seat for the stern area that will double for stowage. The other cool thing about it is that it has a pretty new 4 stroke 30 hp Mercury on it that purrs like a kitten and trolls like a Russian hacker pushing the Trump presidency!

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There it is sitting in all its abominable splendor in front of the lodge. I will be making a few adjustments to its configuration but over all it a fine boat for our needs here at camp. The name will necessarily be “ABOMINATION”. A reference to my earlier dislike of these boats as not being worthy of plying the pristine waters of the North. I am catching a bit of grief from long time friends about this already and assume I will be given the gears about this all summer.

A bit of bad news is that we’ve had a bear incursion – a young bear wanted to visit Joan but was rebuffed as he was on the steps of her porch (she’s not the most welcoming sort yaknow) then he walked in front of the lodge. I had to speak with him about unregistered guests. He had several colored ear tags so I am assuming that he is a problem bear that was relocated to the “wilderness” from some “hoity toity” location. I hope he takes the hint and doesn’t make a habit of visiting. We’ve also had another incursion of sorts. I placed a couple of downed 20′ poplar sapling on the fire pile at the beach that apparently were too great an enticement to Mr. Beaver. He ambled up onto the pile and chewed off the tree tops for a little snack while sitting on the left dock.

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He walked right up on top of the pile to lop off a tasty snack!

The Dragon fly hatch pool has started : Chris Murphy has June 17th (he might run the Weather Network but is clueless with this guess), Janet (with foolhardy optimism) has the 15th. I am in for the 22nd. Its not price is right rules but is just the closest to the hatch date. Sometimes poor weather protracts the hatch in which case I will make the call based on when I se a cloud of the delightful beasties swarming over the camp. I can’t remember numbers so my decision will be entirely detached from any opportunity for me to cash in on the fabulous prizes.

That about wraps it up to date. Its another miserable day here in a string of about 4 days of rain and cold (50’s to 60F) so I got the blog back up and running.

 

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8 thoughts on “Here We Go Again!

  1. Where you been??? I was beginning to think that you guys have given up posting! Glad to hear that the camp survived the winter. I watch Gowganda weather on my Accuweather app, and there were a few days where it was warmer there than here in State College!

    It sounds like Firth may be turning into a walleye lake with some bass, rather than the other way around. Last year was a good year for walleye and it sounds like this year might be even better.

    Sounds like things are running late this year, put me down for June 21, the summer solstice, for the dragonfly hatch.

    Looking forward to an evening cruise on the pontoon boat!

  2. Great fun reading this post while in the Langhe, Piedmont, Italy. Stuffed to the gills on too much food and wine longing for the pristine and spartan pleasures of camp life. Ah well, only 20 more churches and 10 castles to go and Paolo will relent on the forced march tour of northern Italy.

  3. Delighted to see an update, Jack. And despite the long hiatus you haven’t lost a step turning a good phrase. I nearly spit my beer laughing at “trolls like a Russian hacker pushing the Trump presidency.”

    Looking forward to many Firth sunsets on the Abomination!

  4. The first newz dispatch from camp is easily the single most intriguing “newz” story of the year. And not just an Abomination, but a 24 foot Abomination! The damn thing makez the Big House look like a shed!. . .

  5. 2nd try @ a reply…..don’t know ehat happened to the 1st attempt…in any event, welcome back to the blog…..I’ll take the 20th for the pool…and what kind of dumb boo-boo of a bear wants to tangle with Joan??

  6. Well, there were two shocking things in your posting. The first was seeing the Duncan dam completely submerged. If you didn’t know about it, you would never suspect a dam was under there, except for some surface disturbance. The second was how low the standards of Sportsmen’s Camp have fallen – when you didn’t think there was any lower they could go – to see Jack change his mind about a pontoon boat on Firth Lake – not just tolerating it but embracing it. But Ellen says to sign her up for a civilized evening cruise on the lake.

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