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East Tennessee Outdoors… Adventure of a Lifetime Part 2

BY DANNY BLEVINS

STAR CORRESPONDENT

My uncle Ray was a man of adventure. You could place him in any part of the world, and he would make more friends than he could count.

He wasn’t the best outdoorsman in the world, but he tried, and to him, it was all about the adventure.

He loved just being in a place he had never been, fishing for fish he had never fished before.

One evening Uncle Ray was visiting us. I was a little boy who read Outdoor Life and Field and Stream like they were the lost books of the Holy Bible, so I listened intently as Ray brought up the subject of flying into the tundra of Canada and staying there for weeks at a time, living, in part, off the land and having an adventure we would never forget.

My father was too busy feeding his sons and wife to really consider this, but it sparked something in me. I would take this trip when I was older if I had to go by myself.

Years passed and I finished school. I took a teaching job and did not even consider marriage because it would interfere with my hunting and fishing.

It was time to take a fishing trip to Canada.

I started making plans, and before I knew it, my best friend decided to go with me.

We planned, picked out our gear, booked an outfitter that would fly us into the woods and set a date for the trip.

What I did not know was that we would make a lot of mistakes on this trip. Some made the trip better, but most were simple mistakes that would have never happened had we used research and a little common sense.

Since that trip, I have been back to that area of Ontario twice, and each trip I learn more about how to plan these adventures than I did the trip before.

Hopefully, if you ever take one of these trips, you will not make the mistakes that I made.

First, research outfitters. When it came time to find an outfitter, I literally turned to the back of Outdoor Life magazine and picked one that had a nice color advertisement.

The one thing I did not do was get references from other clients that had used this outfitter.

I was really lucky and found a good outfitter the first time I tried, but not all outfitters give you what they say they will.

The only problem I had with this outfitter was our pilot was getting over a hangover from the night before and did not make us feel confident in his flying ability.

Don’t get me wrong, this guy could fly a plane like he had been born in the cockpit, but I wish he had been completely sober before he took my life in his hands.

Lesson – Call more than one outfitter and call their references.

Second, research what to pack.

It simply did not occur to me that we had to pack for every situation. Many of these fly-in trips restrict you to 50-pounds of gear and supplies.

This includes rods, reels, cloths, tackle, and food.

When it came time to board the plane, we discovered we were about ten pounds underweight. That meant there were several things we did not bring that would have made our trip better.

We left behind any form of fat, all drinks and some tackle that should have been on that plane.

During the next trip, I knew better and packed for comfort. This trip was the best one I have ever taken because I took the time to weigh my gear.

A fishing/hunting trip of a lifetime is just waiting for you.

Read more about how to take one of these trips in an Adventure of a Lifetime Part 3 next week in this column.