Monday, August 22, 2011

Border Country ~ Time With My Father & A Seed Planted

Having just returned from a long weekend fishing trip to the Minnesota border country, I have been doing a lot of thinking. Oh, not just about the trip, trust me on that. Mostly about my folks and how the past several years have been so very hard on them. To watch my parents age and see their health start to slip has been a very difficult thing for me. Over this past weekend, having to be my father's caregiver, gave me a new perspective on just how frail he has become and how much my mother has had to do. Yet, his spirit remains very strong. I also believe that the weekend was a nice break for my mother who has been taking care of our dad since he returned home from the hospital and a short stay to recover in the nursing home.

We ventured up to Echo Lake for three days and three nights of fishing. This has been something my father has been looking forward to all year and we were delighted that he was feeling good enough and strong enough to go.

Echo Lake is located about twenty miles northeast of Orr, MN on Crane Lake Road. It sits between Lake Vermillion and Crane Lake not to far from the border with Canada.

Twilight on Echo Lake

It lies upon a vast geological formation of igneous rock know as "The Canadian Shield". Upon this shield of rock you can find the BWCA and Quetico Wilderness Areas and much of North America's boreal forests.

Our father has fished this lake and many other lakes in the area for many years. It truly is an amazing place to visit and explore and has left us with some very good memories.

We had spectacular weather for our little trip. The fishing, however, was rather slow, and catching fish required a good deal of time and patience. This time allowed me to think about how I could explore this area more intimately on a bike. Five days away from a bike will cause one to go through this thinking process.

The road which spawned this thinking process and the idea of exploring it more by bike lies just to the south beyond the trees in this picture...The Echo Trail. A fifty-two mile ribbon of rolling gravel (72 miles if you include the 20 mile stretch of pavement to Orr) that leads you southeast of Echo Lake all the way to Ely, Minnesota. This trail goes through some of the most beautiful and scenic forest areas in the state. It would make for a great adventure on a mountain bike and even a better one in the winter on the Pugsley. So, this is the seed that has been planted. Now it just needs to germinate and grow.

So, I spent my days watching the line, laughing with my brothers and father, enjoying the sunshine, and thinking of riding my bike through the forests of northern Minnesota.

The evenings were always spectacular and in the end it really didn't matter whether we caught a lot of fish or not. It was the time together that was the most important. Especially the time with our dad who we know doesn't have many trips like this left to go on.

Echo Lake Crappies

Dad, Patiently Waiting to Fish

Quiet Time

Today has not been productive other than the fact that I got this post completed and have actually dug out some topographic maps of northern Minnesota. I need to get out on the bike and do some hill work. Also, there things for me to do for school and around the house. These things will also help to keep my mind from thinking about my parents and the time they have remaining. I truly want to make the best of it in any way that I can.


Joboo said...

Nice Bill!!
Glad you enjoyed your time!!!

52 miles of pure sweetness, that is the Echo Trail!! I've ridden it once many years ago to Ely.
Since I've been a Pug owner this pedal has also been running through my mind. What would it be like to pedal during the "dark time?"

We took the kids up to the Vermilion River Falls on Sunday; they throughly love running amongest the rocks and wading in the cool water.
Let me know what you come up with!!
I told the Mrs. I'd like to pedal the Echo Trail to Ely this fall; her response was less than enthusiastic!! Lol
I think it was, "you are crazy, aren't you??"


Apertome said...

Stunning photos ... what a beautiful place! I'm glad you got to spend some good quality time with your dad ... seems important at this juncture.

Anonymous said...

Wow! looks beautiful and so tranquil! What a great part of the world to relax in.