Paper Maps – Pleasure and Purpose

Recently, a friend gave me several paper maps of one of my favorite places, Lake of the Woods.

Nice waterproof maps for LOTW

I find something quite pleasurable and almost magical about looking at paper maps and wondering what it would be like to explore over here or over there and how would I get there. Plus there is a fascination with the markings, symbols, legends and colours. I find paper maps a pleasure to look at and explore.

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Fall Fishing – Is it really the best time?

This week at the lake I went out fishing twice. Both times had some similarities and some differences.  Both times nobody caught any fish. 🙁 however, one trip was way nicer that the other!

Last Wednesday it was warm, sunny and calm as Shirley and I went out so when we didn’t catch anything we at least had a nice time on the lake and enjoyed the fall scenery on the lake.

In The Hades

Yesterday, the weather was a different story. Roy invited me to go fishing and in spite of the cool 3°C with drizzle / rain I was up for the adventure. I layered up in some warm clothing and headed out to Roy’s place on Blindfold lake. What I wasn’t prepared for was the high water level on Blindfold Lake and what that would mean in terms of going over the boat lift into Lake of the Woods.

On the way over to the boat lift there is some casual talk about how the water might be flowing over the road! Sure enough the dock and road are under about 2-3 inches of water and I don’t have boots. So it’s shoes and socks off, roll up the pants and wade around in the water to get the boat over the lift. Going over is not too bad. The water is 60°F and we’ve only been out for 15 minutes. Two hours later we’re much colder, it’s now raining and coming back up to Blindfold is a little more involved.

Step one, get the boat on the dolly and use the hand winch to get it started and then hook on a rope to use with the power winch.

Getting ready to bring the boat up with the power winch.

Step 2, use the power winch to get the boat up the steep side and onto the flat section

Step 3, here she comes.

Boat coming up the steep side of the lift.

Step 4, pack up the rope & power winch back into the boat and push the dolly over to the Blindfold Lake side, which of course requires more walking around in the cold water.

My feet in the water.

A quick 10 minute but frigid boat ride back to Roy’s and were in the cabin where it’s toasty warm and having a much welcomed  hot coffee.

Out on The Lake

It’s a calm day at the lake with a sun/cloud mix that is quite pleasant with temperatures in the low 20°Cs. A perfect day for some boating and fishing!

After picking up some minnows and catching up a bit with Al of Smith Camps I’m back at the dock picking up Shirley and we head out.

Goin’ Fishin’

However, the fish were not cooperating! We try a couple of spots with no success. At some spots the fish finder shows lots of fish, but the end of the line is still empty.

We cruise through Eagle Pass, Moore Bay, The Hades,  Copper Island and our very own Needle Point before returning home. A very enjoyable couple of hours out on The Lake.

In The Hades

Fun Weekend with Family

Wonderful weekend with family at the lake.

We arrived on Friday evening for a 10 day stay and after unloading we spend some time with Gail & Gord as they are finishing up their month stay. Eric, Parker & Dane arrive late at close to midnight and get settled in for the weekend.

In the morning Parker & Dane meet Bentley & Zoe (schnauzer dogs) and there is a lot of excitement, a few tears and lots of barking. After breakfast Gail & Gord pack up and begin the drive back to Saskatoon.

 

So much happiness and joy especially for me. So special to see the Grandkids taking in the lake life and having so much fun and adventure. We seemed to do it all hiking, biking, swimming, playing games, building Snap Circuits and Geocaching. Strong warm winds make the lake a little rough so no boating but other than that we squeezed in a lot of action. The weather was fabulous with sun and almost 30°C! Seemed like a July weekend not mid September!

Searcing for a geocache on the Storm Bay road

Checking out the new ladder on the tree fort.

The Stewart Boys

Feeding Time

I’m up early and on the dock with two cups of coffee and it’s a sunny clear morning with a light south west breeze. After some reading and just sitting enjoying the view I’ve decided to take the kayak and get a closer look at the 7am feeding.

Most days during the summer a small aluminum boat comes out of Smith’s Camp at the end of our bay at around 7am. One of the staff is responsible for disposing of the fish remains from the filleting shack from the previous day’s catch. They have a plastic garbage pail on board that is dumped on an rock out cropping around the corner from the camp.

Prior to this at about 6:30am a flock of pelicans congregate at this spot awaiting their breakfast delivery. They are joined by dozens of seagulls that circle overhead in anticipation. Bald eagles are also perched high in the trees awaiting this event. Today I spot 5-6 of them. Some are easily spotted, others are tucked away in the branches and others fly back and forth along the shore line.

All of a sudden all the pecans take off and fly around the corner to Smith’s. Sitting in my kayak I can bairly hear the faint sound of the outboard motor of the “delivery” boat. Sure enough, a few moments later the boat rounds the corner and comes into view with all the pelicans following in formation.

As the staffer pulls ashore and dumps out the fish guts the pelicans eagerly land and then edge ever closer to their breakfast. They can hardly wait until the staffer gets back in the boat and backs away before they attack the fish remains.

Today, the eagles remain in the trees for some reason, perhaps it’s because I’m there. On other days I’ve seen them swoop in and the pelicans and seagulls scatter as they take over at the top of the pecking order.

After watching for a while it’s time to paddle back and rejoin the family for breakfast.

Peak of the Summer

This is what we wait for all winter long and here it is. Hot (25°-30°C) and sunny with a light breeze form the south west. Quite a glorious day at the lake.

Up at 6am for a few cups of coffee and some reading in the quiet of the dawning day before easing into a bacon and waffles breakfast. A little yard work before the day gets too hot and I’ve satisfied my need to accomplish something useful for the day. Now it’s time to goof off, relax, adventure, and perhaps a siesta.

We take a scenic boat ride through the Hades and over to Scotties Island before turning back home.

After some dock time and a light lunch its on to reading a book which will inevitably lead to that siesta.

Rainy Day

A rainy day at the lake is still a great day.

I woke up to the sound of gentle rain and a light breeze rustling through the trees. It had been calm all night and as I drifted in and out of a dreamy sleep, I drank in the nature sounds.

Shortly, there was thunder in the distance and then closer as the wind picked up and a small storm rolled through our location. I went upstairs to check on the windows and then just sat watching the raindrops on the patio door form rivulets running down to the deck.

Time for that 1st cup of coffee and more gazing out at the magnificents of creation. It seemed like I was trying to lock it all into my memory, to preserve the feeling for as long as possible.

After a breakfast of corned beef hash with poached eggs on top, it was time to get busy with a small maintenance project.

So thankful to have this place to relax, rejuvenate and let the cares of life drift away for a time.

Fish Finder ≠ Fish Catcher

Spent a nice couple of hours out on the lake today doing some fishing. It was sunny with a light west wind and a little cool at about 8°C. While I was picking up some minnows I received a tip about a spot in Moore Bay from a local guide that was producing yesterday, but for me today, nothing.

I then went to the other end of Moore Bay were I’d been with my brother inlaw and caught fish previously. This spot is the “Fall Spot” and is supposed to be very good around this time of year. Upon arrival, the fish finder lights up and is “beeping” so much I turn off the fish alarm. Below is a screenshot of the Garmin echoMap.

Lots of fish but no takers!

Well, they may have been on the finder, but refused to get on the end of my line! After about 45 minutes and several passes over multiple areas that claimed to have lots of fish, just one nibble and that might just have been my wishful thinking.  I gave up and boated back to the cottage empty handed, but still enjoyed my time out on the lake.

Cottage Opening 2016

Opened the cottage a little early this year, the Thursday before the traditional May long weekend. I took a few days off and came down Wednesday evening. Part of the early opening was a group ride that was taking place in the Kenora area, billed as a “Spring Training Camp” which seemed like a lot of fun, and it would be nice to have the water running for a hot shower after the rides.  Plus, Gail & Gord are coming down on Friday and staying at the lake until they take possession of their new house in Saskatoon sometime in June. 

After last years pump problem where it wouldn’t prime, but in the end noting seemed to be wrong with it after I dragged it into town for servicing, I was a little apprehensive about this years startup. But, no problems! It started up just fine on the first attempt and after starting at about 6:30am I had the bulk of the cottage opening chores done by 8:30 and was sitting down with a cup of coffee and waiting for the hot water tank to do it’s thing.

 Being pretty lazy and enjoying the quiet. After a trip to town to look for an Apple power adapter for the laptop (unsuccessful) and enjoying the first Chip Truck of the year, it was time for a nap. Life roles at a different pace at the lake, well, at least for me. 

I’m thinking there are not too many people around right now as Netflix ran fine all evening without buffering. Normally, on a summer weekend, the wireless bandwidth is getting sucked up by all the neighbours and the Internet slows to a crawl, making Netflix almost unwatchable. 

The weather is cool at 0°C and drizzling, in fact right now it’s snowing kind of hard . HArd to see in the photo, but it’s like a micro blizzard which I’m sure will disappear momentarily, right?


The planned big group rides for the weekend have been cancelled because so many guys bailed because of the weather forecast. I guess I’m on my own. If there is a break in the weather I’ll take a spin over to Rushing River and if things really turn around perhaps a longer spin out to Minaki and back.