Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The 2013 fishing season in review

Enormous cold front was like nothing we had seen before
Guess what state Lonnie, Mike, Mark and Debbie Boyer are from?
The 2013 fishing season at Bow Narrows Camp was one of the best in our 53-year history, at least for walleye and northern pike.
The season started with a near-record-late ice-out, May 19, if I remember correctly. From then until mid-July, fishing was absolutely fabulous. It was common for our anglers to catch and release 100 walleye or more a day per boat. There were lots and lots of big northern pike caught and released. Our catch-and-release photo board in the lodge is plugged with shots of enormous pike.
Then, the third week of July, a freak weather event occurred. Lonnie Boyer captured it in the photos above. A cold front right out of a Hollywood movie struck. The temperature fell to near freezing and barely warmed up for a week. It was, in fact, the coldest week of the season right up to the end of October.
Walleyes that were in 6-12 feet of water hurried down to their fall and winter depths of 35-45 feet. Lake trout left their summer haunts of 65 feet and came right to the surface. The lake had turned over, something that normally happens in late-September. It was simply incredible.
This should have totally ruined fishing but it is a testimonial to the skill of our anglers and just the abundance of fish in the lake that we still did quite well.
By the first of August the weather and the water had begun to warm up again and the fish mostly returned to their usual depths. We had a warm September which kept many of the walleye right in the shallows, something that some of our fall-time anglers had difficulty adjusting to.
The Ministry of Natural Resources lake trout project struggled to find spawning lake trout in late-September, early-October. The water was just too warm to trigger the usual spawning run by the trout. The researchers did, however, eventually get near their target of eggs to raise in the hatchery.
We had one 50-inch northern pike caught and released last summer. That will have been one of the largest pike taken in all of Ontario. We caught a great many in the 40-inch range.
The last people to fish from our camp were Brenda's sister, Lynda, and her husband, Ron Wink. They came to camp to help Brenda and I close up, do some fishing and take part in our annual family moose hunt.
Ron has a video of Lynda battling an enormous pike. It took 15 minutes before they even got the first look at the fish which ended up not only breaking Lynda's line but her rod in half as well.
As the fish swam away from the boat with three feet of rod it was possible to estimate its length. My guess is that it was probably 50 inches as well.
It was fitting way to end the fishing season for us.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A herculean task completed in 2013

A major accomplishment at camp in 2013 was the replacement of the lodge's rolled roofing with shingles. This was done during the first two weeks of September.
There were 50 years of successive layers of roofing to remove. I estimate the weight of the old rolled roofing to have been at least 25,000 pounds.
We have been replacing all of the roofing on the buildings in camp for the past three years. There are only two cabins still to be done and they will be completed in 2014.
Our son, Josh, came to camp twice last summer and fall to help with construction projects. That's him on the roof of the lodge after the old roofing had been peeled. He is also shown operating our shingle bundle lifter. This is something we invented two years ago to lift bundles of shingles up to the roof. It uses a 12-volt winch and pulley hooked between two 2x6 rails and pulls up a plywood sled that is guided between the rails. It easily lifts two bundles of shingles and can be positioned so that you don't need to bend over on the roof to pick up the shingles.
Also in 2013 we replaced the roofing on Cabin 5, straightened and strengthened its roof, added an awning roof to the rear, and insulated the cabin's ceiling. There were other renovations done to the interior as well.

Friday, October 25, 2013

How did Wheat Belly diet work out?

I thought I would let you know about my experience with the Wheat Belly diet. I wrote last winter that I had stopped in November eating wheat to see if I could finally lose some pounds. It has now been nearly a year.
I weighed 213 pounds when I began to follow the advice of Dr. William Davis and his book Wheat Belly. My goal was to break the 200-pound barrier, something I had not been able to do no matter how much I exercised, limited food portions, ate "healthy whole grains," restricted my fat intake, etc.
I recognized that basically I had been getting a pound heavier every year of my life and I wanted to take back control of my body. I was developing a pot belly and that had to go. By the way, I am six feet, three inches tall.
About the same time, two people close to me, in separate cases, had been told by their doctors that they needed to lose 40 pounds. They both made the same comment, "If I lost 40 pounds, I would weigh the same as I did in high school!" What a ridiculous notion when you're 60! Ten pounds, maybe, but 40 pounds? Get real.
The doctors' advice: cut down on food portions, eat less fat and exercise more. In other words, do exactly what I had been trying myself for years. It didn't work, at least not for me, so I was ripe to try the Wheat Belly advice.
One thing about me, when I make up my mind to do something, I carry it through, come hell or high water. For instance, two years ago I decided to stop drinking alcohol, just in solidarity with people I know who were suffering from alcoholism. I have not touched a drop since and, you know what? I don't miss it one little bit. I'm not kidding.
Beer, of course, is made from wheat or barley so it makes sense not to consume it if you are avoiding wheat. But all alcohol is also basically a sugar and along with wheat I had added sugar, even natural sugars such as those in fruit, to the list of foods I would not eat.
So what do I eat? Meat, eggs, every vegetable there is, including potatoes, rice, cheese, coffee, tea, Diet Coke, milk, popcorn. I ate all I wanted, often having seconds, especially on potatoes.
I lost about a pound a week. By mid-summer I had added four new holes to my belt and my size 38 jeans were bunched around me like a blanket. I ordered 36-inch jeans from Cabelas. By the time they arrived they too were extra big and I had to shrink them in the dryer to wear them.
By this time I was starting to make trips to the vet in Dryden where there is a clothing store. I found 35-inch jeans fit the best. A month later they too were large. I was a 34-inch waist.
It was mid-October and I weighed 177 pounds. That's what I weighed in high school. I had lost 36 pounds!
I went farther than I had hoped. I don't think I had any body fat at all. So now I have put back on a few pounds and weigh 180. I would like to settle at 185 which is my ideal BMI (body mass index).
So, it worked. I lost that weight without ever once going hungry, without any extra exercise at all.
Sure, my life at camp and here at home is pretty active, but remember, I was leading that life when I was heavier too.
How do I feel? Almost like I did in high school. Aches and pains are gone. I have oodles of energy.
It makes me think that we don't get older, we get fatter. Fat is what makes us old.
Do I miss wheat or sugar? Honestly, I do not! I don't even think about those things any more. It's like they don't exist for me.
I know there are some of you out there in the same boat I was in last year. I hope my story will help.

Thank you, everyone

Brenda and I are so touched by the outpouring of sympathy we have received on Sam's passing.
Thank you all for your comments and e-mails and, for many of you, sharing that you too have gone through this experience.
As my brother, Bill, pointed out, in many ways we can become closer to our dogs than to most people. I was like that with Sam. We shared a lot of life. As a tiny example, I calculate that we walked over 3,000 miles together just on our dirt road here in Nolalu during our daily two-mile walks in the winter months. 
There is nothing to do now but move on and so I shall give it a go. I haven't felt much like writing anything on the blog for a long time but I'm going to do some blogs, starting today, to see if it can get my mind off my troubles.
Again, thank you all so much.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Very sad news

It is with profound sorrow that I must pass on the news that our dog, Sam, has died.
It became evident this fall that something was wrong with his hind quarters but the exact cause could not be determined by the vets. The only way to see for sure was for him to have an MRI and the closest place in Canada to have that done was Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 14 hours away.
I drove there with Sam right from the vet's office and after two days of tests it was determined that he had cancer. We came back to camp and hurriedly closed for the season, arriving home this past Sunday. He died on Tuesday.
I know Sam will be missed by everyone at camp but no one more than myself. Sam was my near-constant companion and was the joy of my life. I am having difficulty going on without him.
He would have been 10 in January.