Sunday, September 21, 2008

At long last....Canada!

(Written after our first trip to Keystone during the first week of August)

While in one of our more successful fishing spots from last year (Not nearly as successful this year. Fish are fickle buggers!) we were kept company by one of the many Bald-headed Eagles in the area. They often hang around the spots where the most fish are schooling. On one weedy, reedy area a family were having a squabble. I think mom and dad were urging a youngster on to get his own fish, but he wasn't buying it. The youngsters can be distinguished by their still darkly feathered heads.

I never knew Eagles could make such a clacking racket. It was kind of like that which a Dolphin makes and resonates in the same way. I could feel it going right through me at times.

We also saw Otter and Beaver, but they dived back into the water before I could point and focus my camera. Rats! I did manage to finally get a pic of a Loon before he dived yet again. We played peek-a-boo for about 15 minutes before I got this pic and it isn't very good. But I felt triumphant! Hah! Got ya, ya wee bugger!

There weren't as many Loons on the lake this year as last. We were told by the Frostiaks (owners and proprietors of Keystone Lodge) that the Eagles have been making meals of the baby Loons. They snatch them right out from under the parent Loon's beaks. Because they still have their down and can't dive, the babies are left above like dainty, fuzzy appetizers for the Eagles while mom and dad head for the depths. Nature seems cruel at times, but that's the way of it.

Bass! Cedar Lake has been designated by the Canadian Powers-that-Be as a Bass lake. Indeed. We pulled in 2-4 pound Bass with annoying regularity. While I love to fight a good-sized Bass-- it's a real thrill--it can be a pain when you've already made your limit and are fishing for Walleye or Perch. I got the biggest one for the trip-- a really nice 15 incher. *Betty is smiling to herself, reliving the feel of that baby on the other end of the line*

On Tuesdays the Frostiaks hold a "Camp Fry" under the Tent. It used to be a fish fry, but it required such a great number of Walleye and, well, being proprietors doesn't allow that much time for fishing. Leanne gets out there and sometimes the boys, but they leave the fishing to the clients and do hamburgers and Nana's fantastic potato salad on Tuesdays now. Dave and Leanne, Mike, Doug and Heather (their kids) and Leanne's mum, Nana, make being at Keystone like being on a family outing - without all the family fracas that often ensues at those. They are wonders and some of the best folks I've known. Keeping up a resort is hard work - kind of like being mom to 30-50 people each week for 4 months, 24/7. They do it all with smiles, laughs, hugs and an occasional free beer! Amazing.

We did have showers off and on for the first few days and we did get caught out on the lake a couple times. (We fished 4-5 hours each morning and evening.) I got soaked through once and the temps were in the 60s. I shivered my way back to camp, but there were no repercussions. I'm no foreigner to fishing in the rain. Did it when I was a kid most summers at my grandparents cottage on Fourth Lake. I did remember to tote along rain gear in the boat after that, though!

It was beautiful watching the clouds, both puffy white and looming gray, chase over the lake while we sat, often in silence, in the boat. Light and shadow were mesmerizing. We were rewarded twice with rainbows after showers.

My visits to Cedar Lake have not just been relaxing, fun and stunningly beautiful, they have been a chance to re-connect spiritually. I have always found mySelf and my Creator much closer when I am out in Nature. With Mother Earth under my feet and the broad expanse of sky, cloud and stars above me I find my roots and return more clear-headed and knowing who I am.

And the water -- in a boat on water I can dive through the ins and outs, ups and downs of my life and find a peaceful center, even on rough waters and shivering when soaked through.

It's magic. Pure magic.

We went back for another week last week. This was the first time Bud had been there in September. It was a totally different story weather-wise.

We settled into our cabin Sunday afternoon which was the other half of the duplex cabin we stayed in last year. The view from the balcony was gorgeous. The sunny was shining, blue sky, but the wind was almost a gale. The lake had whitecaps. We bumped and rolled to our favorite fishing spots. It was so bad Monday night that everyone came in early. It was just too dangerous to be out there.

It stayed like that until Tuesday when a storm came through at night and the temp dropped into the 40s F. Wednesday there were a few showers, but mostly sunny, so we braved them with the help of sweatshirts and a couple of Keystone fleece jackets we purchased and our wind/rain gear. (We old dodos forgot our jackets in the dryer at home! Ugh!)

It became Autumn in that one night. The lake turned over, green algae from the lake bottom formed a scum over large parts of the lake. Sensitive characters like Walleye and Perch are not so active and picky about biting under those conditions. The aggressive Bass and Northern don't give a fig and kept on coming at us. We, however, had already landed a couple of 16" Bass and plenty of smaller ones. I got surprised by a 26" Northern! I haven't caught a Northern that big in many a year. But we were almost stymied in finding Walleye and Perch for a couple of days - with the exception of my 18" Walleye caught where we saw the Eagle in the tree last time. And, by gum, there he was again!

I'm quite used to waiting for fish to bite. Bud, however, was dismal. He wanted to hit the Walleye like he was used to doing. They just didn't cooperate like that. The last day, though, we managed to exceed our limit. Walleyeman still pouted.

But it was grand and beautiful out on the lake, if a bit nippier than we had anticipated. The Frostiak family were their usual friendly, helpful selves and because there was only one other couple in camp we got to spend more time with them. It was a cozy bunch.

So that's all until next year. *sigh*

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