The Very Last Step

Trout Whisperer

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Five miles from where were parked is this little tiny brook trout lake nested inside the Superior National Forest. There is no snowmobile trail. No short cuts unless you own a helicopter which by the way I don't. Five miles walking, is two hours one way. Two hours towing a small sled, and just about a mile into it you are well aware of the sled and the sounds of your boots crunching in the snow. After two miles and one downed water bottle it's almost a mind numbing walk until you arrive.

It's not a leisurely stroll where we talk about sports, politics or current events. You hike one foot at time for a long time. It's marching in snow for what seems way to long. Just keep moving and you get there.

If we stop it's where we take notice of tracks that might be bobcat or lynx. A moose plowed along and was it yesterday or three days ago. Aging tracks in snow is not one of our strong points, but we can tell moose tracks from cats tracks so we keep walking.

The only possible reason to go this far on a frozen Saturday for trout is that the lake doesn't just have brookies it has big brookies and every year, and every annual trip, it does not disappoint. Same two guys, same old ruts, but fresh trout we will have.

My line drops down the first hole cut through twenty six inches of hand augured ice and the small jig tipped with a waxie just keeps going. First line drop and I’m hooked up, walk, what walk, all I can think is fishing.

At ten a: m the two of us have our limit of five each. We could leave, get home early, drive while it's still light out, all that stuff that makes good sense or we could stay and fish and fish and fish until dark. We like to fish, and since it makes no sense to walk five miles one way for a half a day of fishing, we might just as well stay until dark.

The truck heater is on high as we load the gear. Mountains of jackets get peeled off and tossed in the back. All the bulk is off, Amen; it's like losing a layer of flexible concrete after all that trudging in darkness.

I stop walking. I get in the cab of the truck and it's done for today. No more walking to and fro for or from that wonderful magical lake. My feet have had enough. I look through the thoughts of walking today and its balsam tress and birch mixed in a maze of white after white in endless snow.

Now seated on a truck seat while the memory of nothing to sit on all day reacquaints itself with my gluteus minimus suddenly the brains, oh how they do soften, so We both agree that this year is the last year were hiking in there. We, this year, finally, are now too old and the walk must eventually win. We said the same thing the last four years, but I believe it more this year.

Posted by Trout Whisperer under Hunting Stories on January 26, 10 05:41 PM | Permalink

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