Feb 6, 2013

An elusive lake

There is an elusive lake filled with trout, says Ed. I read about it in a Sam Cook column. He never found it but we should. It's just loaded with lakers. 

This conversation I file under "future adventures." A few weeks later I am still thinking about it. The difficulty only increases the desire.

There are two reasonable options into this lake. One is shorter but requires more bush-whacking. The second is a longer hike but the trail passes nearby. Looking over my F13 Fisher park-map in the out-house I visualize the approach up the frozen creek. A small space heater roasts my right thigh, and I burn the course into my gps.

The Packers lose miserably on Saturday night... and we move from early ice to the mid-season. On Sunday we watch more football and play cards, we feast solemnly on slow-roasted beef.

Monday rises cold and quickly. Too quickly. After breakfast KB and I lazily gather gear, sip on coffee and watch the sun hit high noon. No urgency. But at one there is an itch, let's go blaze this trail, let's go find the lonely lake. It's too late in the day and too cold, but we go anyways.

Should be three miles in, or maybe three and a half. Wonder what this path used to be? Somebody's old drive-way, some dreamer. Something goofy with almost anyone that would live up here. Someone cut this path and the trees try and erase it. It feels level but the whole way we're going downhill, deep into the park. 

A helicopter flies over, are they counting moose? Are they watching us? We take a few wrong turns. Sections of the trail are so overgrown we are crawling on our bellies. In a cluster of birch sits the metal remains of an old buggy, rusty and haunted. And then we reach the valley, where even in winter the water keeps running north. 

The trail levels out and when it turns back north my gps grows wary. Turn right. Turn right! An organ starts playing in my thorax, somewhere in my guts a bass drum starts kicking. It's over there, I can feel the gravity. Off the trail the snow gets deep but we bounce through the marshlands and tall grass poking through the snow.

And then the landscape opens up. And there it is, the elusive lake. Off a deep point I punch four holes and set the traps. We snuggle against the shoreline out of the wind, chewing frozen granola bars. 

This is fun, but this is crazy. And our eyes say:

This is ourrrr lake!

Yesss it is!

But we've left ourselves too small a window here, and lacking live bait, we fish for just one-half-hour, unsuccessfully, then point sore legs uphill, into the wind. 

We cross the creek, meander along the valley of the marsh gawking at the rock-cliffs, up to the west, across the secondary creek, up and up and up, and under the fallen trees. But I don't remember that tree. Or that one. Then: there's the old buggy. And: look at the size of that cedar! 

We reach the truck in the blue of night light dissolving into blackness. And now we know the way. It is so burned into our thighs. And another day we shall return, but today, oh today so hungry, we are done.