So I went to the end of the world.
Here’s a rundown of the trip:
1) Drove the family to Iowa, including a stay over at Ben and Angela’s where Micah met his lady friend Jocelyn. She is not an angry raptor baby.
2) We moseyed onto Des Moines.
3) I boarded a 6 am flight to Winnipeg. Met brother Mike (“Shooter”) at O’Hare.
4) Made it to Winnipeg, met up with the rest of the family. Quickly loaded up and headed to Wal Mart and Cabelas.
5) Eventually headed north.
6) We were all excited.
7) Rolled into the Super 8 at The Pas, where we found out that I booked the Super 8 in Portage La Prairie Mb…a out 9 hrs south of The Pas. Whoops. It worked out. Ate at the worlds busiest Tim Hortons.
8) Woke up and rolled onto Cranberry Portage. Mike and Steve in near fetal position at prospect of no internet or phone service. Visited the hardware store to get Elbow Lake maps. Cranberry Portage was never the nicest place in the world but it is a bit depressed. A drunk first nation person welcomed us. Mary felt at home (due to previous encounters with similar people in CP)
9) Met Todd the lodge owner at the dock. Super nice guy. He and his wife ran a great operation.
10) Nearly sank Todds boat with clothes, gear, beer, and food…
11) Made the 36 mile trek through First, Second, and Third Cranberry Lakes. This is where the trip really began. We were mesmerized by the scenery. Memories flooded back of the journey to Elbow Lake which we had taken many years ago. Todd drove the boat like an F1 driver.
12) Arrived at the wilderness camp. Unpacked and got fishing gear assembled. Eventually put our lines in the water. Dad and I fished together day 1. My first time captaining a boat. We didn’t do all that well. Jim, Steve, and I went out for some late night fishing.
13) Day 2 – I went with Mike. He drove. We fished Jim’s Walleye spot (outlet of Tee Lake) to no success. Eventually headed back to camp, where we ate lunch. Dad stayed and napped. Mike and I joined Jim in his boat and we headed off to Chinamen Island, where we have caught Big Pike in the past. Eventually Mike caught a 36 in Pike. Meanwhile Mary caught a big Pike with Steve near the mine on Webb Island. We came home and enjoyed a bittersweet birthday bash for Dads 70th. We toasted Mom with Baby Duck, a sparkling wine shed get in Canada.
14) Up and at it again on Thursday. I headed out with Steve…on a mission for my big fish…as I hadn’t caught much by then. We headed over to Moen Bay where Todd had marked some N’s on the map. Steve came onto some big Walleye and I did the netting…6 times :). See below. Back to the cabin for lunch. Dad and Mary opted to stick around the cabins. Jim and Mike stayed out as they were on some fish. They eventually made their way back to Chinamen Island where Mike caught the fish of the trip…a 42 in Northern Pike. He was the fisherman of the week. Steve and I found some nice cabbage off Poplar Island and fished it. Steve predicted a big boy would be there…and caught him on his first cast. We eventually made our way to Smith Island…another N on the map from Todd. On our first float I finally caught my big fish…a 38 in Pike! Was using a pink Mepps Giant Killer that I stole from Dads box. After this we headed back. We went out as a family that evening to Jim’s Walleye spot but not much luck.
15) Finally on Friday I went with Jim. Dad went with Steve, in search of a big Pike. The three boats stayed together. Dad and Steve took the “good” spots while Jim and I explored nearby. We found some fish to say the least, catching more than 60 together throughout the day. I caught two Walleye, one in the morning at Jim’s spot…then between two islands near Poplar Island. Jim caught his big Pike, a 35 in fatboy. Jim and I fished hard that day. I finally lost my trusty pink Mepps.
16) We came back to camp, had one final fish fry, told some stories about what Dad has meant to us, and then were lucky to watch the most brilliant Northern Lights that we’ve ever seen.
17) We packed up Saturday morning before loading down the boat, traversing the 36 mi with Stan the former lodge owner, and making our way back to our cars in Cranberry Portage. Drove back to Winnipeg…and caught our flights the next morning to disperse to our homes across the country!
Hopefully will have time to add more anecdotes in future blog posts…