East Tennessee Outdoors… Adventure of a Lifetime

Published 11:24 am Friday, August 21, 2020



I had fought the Northern Pike for about 30 minutes. I would gain a little line, and he would take it back.

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I finally got him to the boat and to where I could see him, then he took one more dive around a giant rock next to our boat. The line snapped, and so did my nerves.

That little fishing trip occurred several years ago, but it is one of the memories that will stay with me until I die.

I was young and this was an adventure that took me a long way from home and out of my comfort zone. Sometimes we all need to get out of that zone.

A friend and I had planned this trip for months. We had no idea what we were doing and what we were going to encounter.

We had booked a guide service in the most northern part of Ontario. It took us a good part of two days to drive to it, and we were excited to get to our destination.

Our plan was to be at the guide service office at 7 a.m. There, we would load our gear onto a single-engine plane equipped to land on water, and they would fly us into one of their lakes.

They would leave us there a week to fend for ourselves in the Canadian wilderness, 110 miles from the nearest house, with nothing but 100 lakes between us and them.

They gave us a rustic cabin to use, equipped with beds, pots, skillets and pans. They also gave us two boats and three motors to use plus gas for the boats.

Everything else we had to pack into the campsite.

They agreed they would come back in the middle of the week and check on us, but otherwise, if we had an emergency, we had to deal with it or try to signal a plane that flew over during the week.

We made some mistakes on this trip. We had to learn as we fished because neither of us had ever seen a Northern pike, much less knew how to catch one.

We experimented with different lures and finally found a couple that worked well.

Another problem we had was we did not pack what we really needed.

For example, we had no way to fry anything because we did not bring any cooking fat with us. We did not bring any bacon, cooking grease, butter or cooking oil, and this limited us in how we could cook our meals.

We broiled, boiled and baked everything we cooked. Don’t get me wrong, you haven’t lived until you have eaten cornbread, wrapped in aluminum wrap and baked directly in a fire.

It would have been nice to have just a little grease.

By far the best part of the trip was the fishing and the adventure of it all. It is a strange feeling knowing that you have to rely upon yourself in the middle of the wilderness, and if something happens, you cannot call 911 because they are 100 miles away, accessible only by plane.

The trip was a trip of a lifetime, but I wish we had done a few things differently.

I wish we had taken this trip knowing a few more things than we knew, and it would have made the trip so much better for us.

If you want to take a trip like this, read this column next week when we discuss the mistakes to avoid when planning and taking an adventure such as this.

That will be in part 2 of A Trip of a Lifetime.