Friday, February 13, 2009
how long have i been asleep?
wow, time certainly flies doesn't it! i thought this would be easier to keep up with, but procrastination has always been one of my stronger qualities and i've slipped on my blogging. it's certainly not from lack of activity, nor from any lack of my enthusiasm for Vera. she is a wonderful dog, and we finished out a very good season this fall. i still hope to get her on some rabbit hunts in the next few weeks, and will try my hardest to write about them.
in the meantime, i'll try and jog my memory and recall some of our adventures since the last writing.
this last weekend, some friends and i took a trip up to basket lake. we used to make this trip with regularity, and it was good to hit the familiar trail again. since my first winter trip some 15 odd years ago, my gear has grown considerably. while i used to muscle a few days worth of comfort on my back, or in a small sled, i now rely on horsepower-whether by snowmobile or dog. this trip is somewhat sacred to a few, myself included, and it is the unspoken rule that stinky gas fumes are not invited. so i harnessed up my two largest mules, hank and vera, and attached them to my homemade 12' toboggan that held a small warehouse worth of sporting goods, food and liquor. after some delicate "schooling" on freight dog behavior, we hit the two mile trail with vigor. i had vera in place as lead dog, and she pulled enthusiastically, coaxing an unsure hank into a steady rhythm. together we ate up the trail, stopping only once to visit with a fisherman along the stream/trail we were traveling. he was impressed with the sizable load, and i can only imagine equally impressed with the dogs pulling it.
when we reached the end of the first trail, i unhooked the dogs and shouldered a pack for the trip up "the hill". this is where we begin an 800' accent on a 15% grade through a mass of blown-down trees and brush. my friend and i made the climb, with the now freed dogs showing renewed energy bounding here and there, with no discernible trail for them to break. we reached basket lake and recognized our old campsite as home. during the next trip up, i was the mule and caught the dogs reveling in my misery as they bound effortlessly, freed of the load. damn dogs...
the next day found us fishing on a nearby lake, where the dogs - hank and vera, lucy the lab, and lanie the golden - all played and got into mischief. vera's favorite and repeated trick was knocking my friend eric's fishing rod into the water, spool and all. he was very patient, and here is a pic of him having a talk about frozen fishing line with her. we had much success, catching many northerns in the 5 pound range, most released, one kept for the oil and pan. the dogs settled in, each finding a spot of their own to watch the action. while the fishing slowed, happy hour commenced and we soon found ourselves just enjoying the day. one highlight was eric catching a fish that i had failed at...and returning my lost jig in the process. my lucky jig is the red one, still stuck in the greedy hammer-handle. with the jig and fish returned to their proper places, we turned to find hank doing some fishing of his own. i took a short video before putting an end to his thieving ways. as the sun dropped, we headed back to camp for our final night. the dogs and i slept soundly after a long day on the ice and a supper fit for a man twice my size. we awoke to a beautiful morning and reversed our course back to the truck, the dogs now falling quickly into line towing a sled lightened by extended happy hours and large meals. a complete, more eloquent version of our trip can be read by clicking here. and more videos may be found by visiting my youtube account, found here. that's all for now, tim.