Friday, June 02, 2006

Canoeing the Pere Marquette and a softball update

Father Marquette was the 17th Century Kilroy. As a French Jesuit, he explored the Great Lakes and left his name on a college, a few towns and counties, a defunct railroad and a river. I’ve always liked the sound of Pere Marquette and on Wednesday got a chance to canoe and fish the stream. Leaving home a little before 6 AM, I picked up Lee and we drove north, stopping in Baldwin to pick up permits and arrange for someone to shuttle my truck. The Pere Marquette is a popular river; evident by this outfitter who had have had a hundred canoes. And he’s only one of three outfitters working out of Baldwin. But Wednesday wasn’t going to be busy on the river as the forecast called for rain and thunderstorms.

We got to Bowman Bridge, our launching point, about 9:30 AM. The mosquitoes were out in force and we wasted no time unloading the canoe and storing gear. In a few minutes, we were in the water. By the first bend of the river, the smell of wild onions overwhelmed us. For the next eight hours, we saw all kinds of birds and animals. Great Blue Herons guided us downriver. A young beaver was seen, splashing the water with his tail to warn of our approach. I spotted a muskrat and a doe and her young speckled fawn climbing a steep bank as we rounded a bend. We even saw a few turtles up on a log; we’d seen a lot more if the sun was out. Not long after we started, I hooked a small rainbow trout on a spinner. We’d catch a few more throughout the day, but didn’t set any fishing records. Occasionally it sprinkled, but it never down-poured and mostly the skies held their water, allowing us a wonderful day. Well, it was almost a wonderful day.

We had a mishap. I hate to admit it. I've been canoeing since I was 12 and have owned a canoe since I was 16. It’s been nearly 15 years since I had a mishap, but we were fishing in rather fast water and not paying attention to where we were going. Without knowing it, the boat was swept under a tree that had fallen into the river. The tree pushed down the port gunnel till water slipped in over the side. I dropped my rod down across the thwarts, grabbed a paddle, but it was too late; we had water in the boat and were caught in the brush. Trying to work the boat out, we took on more water and both had to get out of the boat and work it to shore. Although the boat stayed upright, my rods got knocked into the water and some of the gear floated downstream. We retrieved the gear and I found my fly rod fairly quickly, but in thirty minutes of searching fast, chest deep water, did not come up with my spinning rod. I’m going to miss that reel, a small British-made ultra-light.

Later in the day, I began to notice more mayflies and, since I no longer had a spinning rod, tossed out a fly. But the trout didn’t seem to be any more interested in my artificial fly than they were with the natural variety. I only saw a few trout come to the surface to feast off the mayflies. Lee was able to catch a couple more trout on spinners, but after losing my rod, I was skunked. We got to our landing at Sulak a bit before 6 PM and headed home.

For dinner, we stopped at Bob Evans for dinner. We had a young waiter with a lot more exuberance then intellect. I asked for eggs benedict (they serve breakfast all day) and he asked how I wanted my eggs prepared. Poached, I responded. “I don’t think we can do that,” he said. “What,” I asked, “how else do you prepare eggs benedict?” He went back to the kitchen and sure enough, they don’t poach eggs in this restaurant that specializes in breakfast. I ordered a sandwich and made a mental note to avoid Bob Evans in the future. I got home around 10 PM.

Softball Update. We played our first game last night and easily beat the Baptists, 17 to 8. Our first game was to be Tuesday and it was rained out. I can’t say I did that great. In my usual fashion, I caught one running shoestring catch and missed another ball hit right to me. At bat, I walked a couple of times and got a single and popped out and grounded out.


  1. Okay I am ready to get to Montana, ready to do some fishing. I know what mayflies are now!

  2. So how does Bob make his eggs benedict? Fried eggs?

    I wanna come watch a game. That must be a hoot. :-)

  3. It sounds like a wonderful day! Would have loved to see photographs...but that is because I am a photo-nut!
    I thought that was hilarious about the Eggs Benedict...So, how DO they make THEY'RE Eggs Benedict?? LOL!
    Here from Michele's today!

  4. Sounds like a day I would have loved except for the mishap -- although even mishaps make for good storytelling when one is ready for that.

  5. I'm glad you had a good time Sage, I put my feet in the Mississippi river today. First time ever. I dreamed of the french broad last night, wich is destined to join the Mississippi. Upper Wisconsin and Minnesota must surely have some fine Canoeing. Don't feel bad about the mishap, we all have them, jus be glad everyone is alright.

  6. I'm with Murf, would love to see a game ;)
    And just where are the pictures??????

  7. You were expecting culinary savvy at Bob Evans? That's like expecting a piñata at a bar mitzvah. ;)

    Here via Michele today.

  8. Deana, Lately I've been fishing evenings a lot, a fly rod and a popping bug or black spider, for bluegills. It's great fun, but I still miss those creeks and high mountain lakes of the west... Somewhere, high in the Beartooths, is September Morn Lake... just the sound of it is poetry.

    Murf, I'm not sure since I decided that if they can't poach eggs, I wasn't going to have one. And no, you can't watch!

    Lady of the Hills and others: I'm sorry. I carried a camera and never took it out! It was stored in an ammo can (which keeps things dry even in mishaps).

    Tim, it was a great day and you're right, mishaps make for great stories.

    The Appalachianist: Although Southern bred and having adopted the Great Basin out West as a spiritual home, I do enjoy the Northwoods.

    Daydreamer, your name says it all--imagine you're watching me play.

    Prego, no pinatas are bar mitzvah's?

  9. Here from Micheles.

    I've never eaten at Bob Evans. We dont have them here. Dont spose I'm missing anything from the sounds of it! LOL

  10. Michele sent me back once again!
    Did you ever find out how that restaurant makes what THEY call Eggs Benedict? It's like "The Cobb Salad", which was created at THE BROWN DERBY RESAURANT, here in L.A. for the owner (I think he was the original owner, Mr. Cobb...) and it is a CHOPPED Salad. All the ingredients are supposed to be chopped very finely so that someone who was having teeth issues would not have to chew very much at all! Well, it is now served in practically every restaurant in America and what is served has no resemblance to the Classic Original...They shouldn't even dare call it a "Cobb Salad"...but, they do...and this is everywhere I've ever had it that was NOT The Brown Derby...!
    Go figure! (lol)

  11. ahhh, no pics? I was looking forward to pics. :( at least it was almost a wonderful day. despite the mishap, sounds like a good day.

    congrats on the game. I hate making mistakes in a game, especially those I know I shouldn't make, but it is going to happen and it's still fun!

  12. Sounds like you had a great day!!!
    Sorry to hear about your rod. Hope you can replace it without too much trouble!!!
    Michele sent me today!

  13. The canoe outing sounded like a lot of fun. My family is not that outdoorsey.

  14. Sounds like an (almost) perfect day. It's always the things that go wrong that make the best stories later on... Here from Michele.

  15. Sounds like a great day

    Of course I zeroed right into the lack of poached eggs

    Did you ask how they make the eggs if not poached?

  16. I never knew that about Bob Evans restaurants, but then I always order scrambled eggs there. Too bad about losing your rod and other gear. I wish you had a camera for the heron and beaver.

    Michele sent me this time.

  17. Congrats on your ball game victory.

    Michele sent me here.

  18. ACK.... just tried to comment and Blogger ate it.

    Anywho... LOL about Bob Evans, my mother's favorite restaurant. Blech!!

    Here via michele. I also noted that I need to update your Cyberian storyline...

  19. Thanks for stopping by Mrs. Darling, Yaeli, Yellojkt, Mighty Mite.

    Lady of the Hills, Sounds like I haven't had a true "Cobb Salad." I know McDonalds has them now (Mr. Cobb is probably rolling in his grave).

    Kontan, I had a camera with me, it stayed in an ammo can (waterproof) and I never took it out. Sorry! But I wouldn't have the pics right away anyway since I don't have a digital camera yet.

    Pia, didn't ask about the eggs, instead decided to try something else.

    Kenju, I'm sure they'll lop some Hollandaise sause over scrambled eggs, fried bologna and white bread toast and call it Eggs Benedict

    Thanks Capt. Picard!

    Panthergirl, I can't wait to see what kind of trouble you get me into next.

  20. hi sweetie!

    i've just discovered this evening that you have left me lots of comments over the last weeks. i was wondering where you had disappeared to actually! but for some reason i seem to be having many many tech difficulties at present.

    this particular problem is that you and a few others appear to be right-clicking and opening the comments in a new tab. this for some unexplained and apparently unsolvable reason means they end up festering there for all time, alone and thoroughly un-chatted up, while the party proper goes on in another, left click window. join us next time there please sweetie. we miss your wit and fabulous stories.

    i tried emailing this to you because, suprise suprise i have another problem, i cant seem to post any comments on blugger at present. either i post 7 times, which is rather embarrasing or i can't post at all. when it sorts it pooh out i will comment. i promise! if it has you will get this!

    i love your old tales. thank you.

    just so's you know my blogroll also went awol and my stat counter up 'n got stationary 2 days ago too! wierd. maybe my fictional magnetism just got tangible or summat?!


    oh my word veri is fakot. how brilliant and apt.

  21. I avoid Bob Evans all the time *L*

    I love Western Wisconsin. In my limited travels I think it is one of the most scenic places I have seen. I suspect many of the locals do not entirely appreciate because they have grown up with it.

  22. Glad to hear about your wonderful canoeing trip. But seriously Sage man, no pictures? Crack that ammo can open next time and take some beyooteeful pictures for us blog folks. Hah.

    Glad to hear about your softball league. So I'm guessing you'll be playing your way into game shape? I'm sure you'll be hitting homers in no time.

  23. I do not know this Bob Evans. Is he single? His name -- I think I've seen it on a mailbox somewhere, deep in the heart of the heartland. . .

    I, too, am sorry about the fishing pole (I'm afraid I'd rather not call it your "rod"), and I'm glad to hear you're beating those Baptists.

  24. Panthergirl! I'm can wait to see what kind of trouble you get me over in Cyberia. As for your mother, I'm planning on posting a Bob Evans knock-off recipe for Eggs Benedict, so you can bring a smile to here day when she next visits.

    Keda, I was lost but now I'm found, eh?

    Mallory, I do love the northwoods, although I haven't spent much time in WI or MN. Ontario is even nicer!

    V, sorry about the pictures, I'm truly ashamed now as several people have berated me for not taking pictures. It's been so long since I played ball (I played 5 games last year, it had been 24 years before that I last played any ball.

    Ing, I think Bob's single, he just can't cook. Not sure I won't to go down this row, but a fly pole just doesn't sound right. yes, it's always feels good to beat the baptist.

  25. Lucky you on the canoe trip up north, how fun!

  26. Glad that you made it out okay. As an avid boatman, I know how dangerous strainers can be and have been near a couple that have taken lives, once up in Wisconsin on the Red River the day before I went by it. A canoe went through it, overturned and the life jacket was snagged on a branch only a foot under water but that was all it took. After that, I have always carried a knife velcroed to my life jacket when kayaking or canoeing on moving water.