Canadian Awakening By Todd Bowles There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sound of waves lapping the shore and loons calling solemnly to one another, then walking down a wooden board walkway to eat the best home made eggs, bacon, and oatmeal you’ve ever had. This was how I started my days on Reindeer Lake in Saskatchewan, Canada. While I knew this trip away from civilization would be packed with new experiences, I had no idea it would be one of the best weeks of my life. It was crazy just trying to get there. Bad weather, a missed connecting flight, lost luggage, a long cab ride on a gravel road, and finally, an eye opening trek on a sea plane. I was beginning to wonder if we would ever get there! When we did finally arrive, it was too late to fish so I worked on my fishing equipment. I put new line on my reel and oiled all the different components. I reorganized my tackle box one last time and tied a leader on my line while thinking what it would be like to fish in such a different environment. The next morning I could feel the excited build as we ate breakfast. When our guide Henry said it was time to go I literally jumped up. We were in the middle of no where and would have easily gotten lost on the water without our guide. Henry was a native Indian who grew up in this area far removed from paved streets and stores. After driving for about thirty miles on a deserted lake, our guide told us to throw in a line. I was nervous. I’d fished plenty at home, but was used to the five-pound bass or two-pound crappie native to Missouri lakes. After about ten minutes of dragging our lines behind the boat, WHAM! My rod bent double! Line was tearing from my reel. All the guide did was motion my grandpa to reel in his line and calmly said, “Fish on.” I was pulling with everything I had; still the fish was ripping out line. The only thing that kept us entwined in what seemed like an everlasting struggle was a small thread of monofilament. After what seemed like hours, the fish gave in. The fight was mine! I reeled in the biggest, most extraordinary fish I had ever seen weighing 35 pounds and 42 inches in length. Time passed quickly and I could hardly believe when Henry said, ” Lunch time!” We headed for shore. Once there we took two long logs and placed them parallel to each other, put smaller branches and twigs in between, and started a fire to cook our fresh catch. As each piece of fish went into the frying pan you could hear the crisp crackle and smell the wonderful aroma of the northern pike. After lunch, it was back out on the lake for more fishing. The days flew by and the week was over before I knew it. Being able to spend time with my grandpa and being so far away from my normal life that the everyday trivialities didn’t even cross my mind was priceless. I discovered many things on this trip that are likely to stick with me for a lifetime: there’s nothing like finding your piece of heaven on earth, there is so much more to life then the high school drama, and how important it is to get away from the every day chaos to take the opportunity to do what you love with the people you love.
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