Waking up the camp

After a late night at the bonfire at Rickman’s Harbour Pond, with many a beverage in hand, Eric and I are usually the first to stir.  Always a morning person, no matter how late the night, I am usually awake with the dawn.  Its May 2-4 weekend, Victoria Day, probably the biggest party weekend of the year back home, and for quite a number of years, we always made our way to Elvis’ cabin for it.  We get the naphtha in the old Coleman stove and start pumping it up, while someone else heads to the pond for a kettle full of water.  Firing up the stove we get the kettle on and the frying pan too, and soon the scent of bacon is wafting around the place, causing the rest of the crew to stir.

Big heads require a beer to start the morning, a hair of the dog, to help cure the hangovers, that and a nice greasy plate of bacon, toast and coffee get us started for the day.  The sun is shining, unusual for May 2-4 to be honest, but its about 2 degrees Celsius outside, and we got about an inch of snow over night.  Doesn’t matter, the few of us who actually want to trout pack up or rods, tackle and baskets and make our way to catch lunch before the partying starts again.

We laugh about Junior and the beer box on his head, him swearing the whole time it was me.  We make fun of Kendall and Jamie singing the wrong lyrics to Lightning Crashes at the top of their lungs the night before.  We laugh at me lighting the barrel on fire with white gas and singing my eyebrows when I thought it was barbecue starter.  Its a ritual, a rite of passage, and all good natured.  We drive that back road, stopping at ponds we can reach easily, and catch a few trout.  Of course Eric catches more than anyone else as usual.

Back for lunch, pork fat in the pan, trout coated in flour we make our lunch, while the barbecue goes outside stacked full of hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, and everything you can imagine. Lunch over, beer in hand, we start visiting everyone else’s camp sites.  Its like Christmas visits, and part of the event. Moonshine and drinks are shared.  Everyone has a slight glow for the day.

Its friendships, events, memories created that last a lifetime. Its the 24th of May and we likes to get away.

A Perfect Moment – A Poem

I’m no poet I know, but something I wrote a while back has been brewing this, and while I’m not sure it captures the feeling, not sure I have words that can, its my best attempt.  This is me, 10 years old.  This is Apsey Brook, this is Random Island.  This is why, to me, my little piece of the rock is perfect, and this was a perfect moment in time.

It is the summer of my childhood
rod in hand, I stroll to the wharf
an osprey circles overhead
the world breathes in time with his wings

The waves slap the wharf pilings lightly
an unbaited hook drifts to bottom
jiggling, luring a flatfish
snapping sharply, missing

flatfish abandoned, following the shore
flat rocks skipping, skipping
round ones thrown high
attempting a dead mans bubble

driftwood boats ply their trade
seagulls cry, sterrins chirrup
stranded jelly fish decorate the beach
twillicks chase the tide

up the brook, dark pools beckon
beams of sunlight through sun dappled leaves
catch trout swirling, dancing
ignoring the unbaited hook

rocks make a dam, circling the pool
smaller, smaller,  trout contained
hands grab, miss, grab again, fish squirts free,
youth splashes, suddenly soaked

The drops fall in slow motion
sunbeams dry me
walking back, boots slosh
the world breathes with me


Bud Fights!

Spring is here finally (knocks on wood to not jinx it) and greenery is springing up everywhere.  I really can”t recall what time of year wild Irises grew or bloomed, but am reminded of them now as the weather gets warmer.  I kind of think it was closer to the end of the school year, but I may be wrong.

A couple spots on the old school garden in Apsey Brook, and more around Mac Bailey’s and Randall’s garden in Snook’s Harbour had some huge wild Iris plants.  Back then, the somewhat impressive blue flowers really didn’t faze us much.  What was neat was taking the flat blades and holding them between your thumbs just so, and blowing through, making it a reed in our own human wind instrument.

What was maybe less neat, and somewhat painful, but hours of fun were the thick green (well till they dried out) seed pods (buds) that formed underneath the flowers.  We’d gather up tons of these in our hands, pockets, what ever containers we could find, and chase each other throwing them at each other as hard as we could.  Those things stung like mad, but we’d throw them at each other till we either ran out, or were too exhausted to keep it up any longer.

Always curious, we’d also peel them open, and spread the seeds everywhere, throw them in the harbour, carve them out into little boats.  A somewhat wistful memory of the hours of amusement something so simple can give you.


It Only Happened Once

One of the infuriating things about my buddy Eric was that he ALWAYS beat me trouting.  We have trouted in some pretty out of the way places back home, scrabbling over deadfalls, walking through the thick woods where there was no path, one day, maybe more, taking off our or at least my shirt(s) and wetting it in a bog hole to get cool.  And I loved it, its a peaceful experience just being out there with no noises but birds and insects.  Well except for getting the crap scared out of you when a snipe flew up in your face! Holy god they startled ya!

I remember one summer trip in particular, Eric and I got up about 6 and headed off in the country, making our way to Smith’s Long Pond.  I know he definetly beat me again that day, can’t say how by how many, but I think the most memorable part was Vince Smith looking at us when we walked out the path and said “Trouting? TODAY? I looked at the thermometer on my patio at about 3 o’clock and it was 34 degrees!”.  You can only imagine how hot we were after beating through the woods.  And we both had raccoon faces after from our glasses blocking the sun.

Once though and only once I beat him.  It was different than those trips because it was an ice fishing trip to Island pond.  I’ve never really had a lot of luck ice fishing, but it was always a great day to get out for a boil up if nothing else.  Island pond could also be reluctant to give up trout at the best of times, but because they were so good, we kept trying.  This one day, we were fishing down the end of the pond, and I can recall beating him vividly.  The tally was pretty easy to take though, I got one, he got none.