Sunday, January 02, 2011
A New Year
After a long day with Norland and Harv on Thursday I arrived home to learn we were going to make a run at the cottage Thursday night rather than the morning. I had also learned that an inquiry about a couple of snowmobiles I had made prior was looking very good and warranted a trip to Allen Park, MI. This such trip would have to coincide with our trip to the cottage as it was a minor detour from our usual route. Or at least I thought. Having gotten up very early that morning and having had pushed my tired body through the snow and bush I was feeling aged and run down. The end result would truly justify the extra effort and longer drive and it would most certainly be nice to sleep in and wake up under the cottage roof. The drive to Allen Park was well worth it and we found ourselves the proud new owners of a fine pair of Ski-doo's that will bring many a smile to our family's faces this winter. As we made our way North West towing our new found toys the journey seemed to take forever. As a matter of fact we pulled into Wellston shortly after midnight under heavy fog and a major thaw. As I made my way down the hill towards our drive I decided to stop half way. My fear was that I might have to make a run at the hill in the drive to clear it. I unlocked the gate and noticed that there was a good 4-5" of slush accumulation. This left an uneasy feeling as the van already struggles on the hill with snow and no towed load. I decided to take a run at it and quickly discovered that the slush was going to be a problem. After a dozen or so attempts in 15 mins I informed the girls that we were going to have to hike back to the cottage and I'd deal with it all in the morning. I think the entire episode was quite entertaining to them and they were a bit disappointed that the fun was over. Knowing quite well that I would not be able to sleep until this mess was resolved I hiked back out to the van fueled by stubborness and off loaded the sleds. Thank God for reverse on the snowmobiles.
After getting the sleds up to the cottage I made another attempt at the hill with the empty trailer and managed to make it over the top. I parked the van, backed the sleds into the garage, cracked a cold Creemore and called it a night. Upon waking in the morning I went out and surveyed the lane-way situation. It was not a pretty sight. By now another 8 hrs of thaw had passed and the lane was a complete mess. The little mini van had no chance and to make matters worse the road was a complete and utter sheet of ice. Even if we could have made it out of the lane we would never make it up the small incline in the road on the way out to the hi-way.
I had hoped to spend a few hours Friday on the water but once again Mother Nature had different plans. I made good use of the extra time and worked in the garage making stands for the snowmobiles. It was nice to spend our first New Year's Eve as a family at the new Cottage. The girls were most certainly going to sleep in on New Years day so I decided to make a break for the river if the roads would allow. Much to my surprise the road melted substantially and gravel could be seen between patches of remaining ice. The van crested the hill and I was on my way to the river on the first day of the year. When I left the cottage it was still mild but there was a slight periodic breeze through the tree tops. I arrived an the access spot and geared up. By the time I managed to get dressed the winds whipped up and a major cold front was upon us. The temperature plummeted and the wind gusted out of the North. The river had a fair amount of traffic as others shared my opinion that the thaw may have brought some new fish up river. The day was very reminiscent of the Guided outing Norland and I had struggled through a week or so prior. I fished the river hard for three hours and only managed a handful of small resident fish and one Jack Coho. Hiking up the stairs on my way out to the van I was approached by a younger fellow who had been swinging streamers down lower in the river. He was intrigued by my method of fishing and we talked briefly about the Big Manistee, Centrepin float fishing, swinging flies, Montana, Indiana, and the fabled Blue Ribbon Waters of MI. Mid way into our ramblings I discovered my waders had frozen solid. I asked the young man where he was from and he informed me he drove up from Indiana New Years Eve and slept in his Van in order to fish the Big Manistee. The winds had ruined his morning and the cold front had changed the remainder of his plans. He was going to head back that day.
I told him that he would be driving over the Pere Marquette and would find reprieve from the wicked wind on her banks. After a brief discussion and exchange of directions we parted ways. A fellow trout bum I concluded as I backed the van out from my parking spot. It never ceases to amaze me how the allure of Mykiss can drive an individual to do such irrational things. I had to chuckle as I drove past the parked Motor Home towing the 16' bow rider ready for launch and fishing with the frozen net sticking up from a rod holder. Only in MI I thought to myself.