Thursday, May 17, 2012

Border Country-"Time Well Spent"

For years, our father, along with myself, my brothers, and a couple of friends have always gone fishing on the Minnesota opener. Last year was one of the first we missed because of my father's health issues. This year's trip had been up in the air for quite sometime, but the doctor gave us the OK to take dad on our annual trip. Once again it was to a small lake up in the border country. The same place we have been going for the last fifteen years. Before that it was wader fishing on Winnie, and in my formative years it had always been Lake Kabetogama.

With a little twinge of reluctance I decided to take a bike along with the hopes that I could get a ride in at some point in time over the course of the weekend. As it turned out, it was a great decision.

I drove north from the Twin Cities on Thursday evening and we left for the resort early Friday morning with the hopes of getting my dad out for a few hours of crappie fishing in the afternoon.
Friday morning turned out to be wet and rainy, but by the time we arrived and got settled into our cabin the rain had stopped and I decided this would be a good opportunity to ride along the Echo Trail, which covers a 50 mile stretch between Buyck and Ely. I've been wanting ride this for sometime now and have hopes of doing a winter trip along the trail on my Pugsley.

The Ride...
The afternoon turned out to be phenomenal and the conditions were perfect. The road dried out quickly due to the windy conditions and four hours later I was quite content to let the bike sit the rest of the weekend to spend time with my dad and brothers and hopefully catch some fish.

This turned out to be one of the best photos along the way. Several people have already expressed interest in getting copies or prints made.

The Echo Trail is fifty miles of rolling gravel forest roads with an abundance of other minimum maintenance trails and logging roads extending from it. There is plenty of opportunity for some exploration and adventure of which I'm hoping to do this summer. The road cuts through some pretty wild territory which at one time contained an abundance of moose. However, northern Minnesota's moose population has continued to decline and seeing one has become a bit more difficult. Wolves abound in the area along with whitetail deer.

The trail is dotted with an abundance of beautiful lakes along with quite a few rivers and streams.

Lake Jeanette is another popular walleye lake along the trail. It is very typical of a lake on the Canadian shield, very rocky shorelines, dotted with rock islands and outcroppings. In shallow water season this lake can be a hazard to navigate if you aren't familiar where the rocks a located. Often times they are just below the surface and we have witnessed more than one unfortunate boater ruin a motor on this lake. The rocks are also notorious for not giving up anchors. This is when you strip your clothes off and start diving to release the anchor from the lakes rocky grip.

One of the many side roads to ride down and explore new territory.

I would finish the afternoon with the satisfaction of having ridden 40 miles of gravel along with seeing some amazing countryside.

"Timber Wolf Road"

After coming back off the trail in Buyck, Minnesota it was only about a mile ride on pavement back to the resort and dinner with my dad and the rest.

How fitting is this??

The Fishing...
Saturday morning turned out to be absolutely perfect. The waters were calm, but this would not last. The temps were actually rather cool, 33 (F) at sunrise.

After a big breakfast we headed out onto the water in search of that elusive walleye. The beauty of this little lake is that if the walleyes are not biting you can always go after some crappies. Usually one or the other is biting, but there are those occasions when both are active and you can really have fun and end up with a very nice fish fry:)

Our dad was more than pleased to get out onto the lake and wet a line. He was even fortunate enough to catch a few nice fish for the live well.

We spent much of our weekend working the waters around this rock point and were quite successful. People knew we were catching fish and by Saturday evening several other boats moved into the area.

Eating was hearty but not always heart healthy. I guess I can sacrifice good eating and calorie worries for one weekend:) Those brats and sausages were certainly tasty especially when they are made with...

I guess "Fatty" would prefer Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Brother Mike aka "Blacky"

Brother Jeff, our tactician. He spent years fishing as a pro and continues to work extensively in the outdoors industry. Unfortunately, not in the biking industry so I can't garnish any good deals.

After a long day of sitting in the boat, my dad was feeling tired and decided to stay back at the cabin and just relax and play solitaire.

We enjoyed our evening on the lake and were able to pick up some more fish before heading back to the resort after sunset. What a fantastic way to spend a beautiful day. It was hard for me at times to just sit as I'm not used to that, but I didn't think about a bike all day long. Nice:)

We arrived back at the cabin to find dad already in bed sleeping soundly. We had a few cold beers out on the deck, followed by some food, a few more cold ones, and a lot of stories and laughter. Dad slept through it all.

Parting shot...Dad relaxing at the kitchen table while my brothers ready the boat and I pack to head back to the rat race. I should have taken that extra day. We have another trip full of memories, but we are not sure what the coming year will bring. I certainly have enjoyed all of the time I've had to spend with my father over the years. On my way home I stopped and spent several hours with my mother and helped her do some things around the house. At 89 she refuses to slow down and take it easy. Like my dad says, "She is one tough woman and I couldn't live without her." I'm looking forward to the school year ending and having the opportunity to travel north to spend more time with my folks.


Death Rider said...

your fist photo in the post is awesome, it looks like something that should be in a calender. Awesome! looked like a great ride too.

WheelDancer said...

That first photo is absolutely stunning! Seems like it perhaps matches the rest of the trip. Your photography is always good, but that first one took my breath away. Wow!