Can I even do that?
Another year has come and went,
Christmas done, the time is spent.
I hope it all went well with yew.
And '018 won't kick you blue!
I always enjoy the last week of the year. It's kind of a time to sit back with the teapot and consider the past a little and the future a lot. 2017 was very kind to me in many ways. I'm thankful for the travelling i was able to do, and the many unique experiences i enjoyed. There was enough disappoint and pain mixed in to make the pleasure that much sweeter. Just the right mix, I would say..
And that's all the ink i want to spill on 2017. We're about to crack open 2018 and what does it hold in store for us? In the immediate future i intend to make use of my latest aquisition and do a little photography, first in the riverhills here in Saskatchewan and then, a bit later, back near my home in the beautiful yukon. There the lake freezes quite solidly, which is a great feature when you plan to motor, ski or hike upon it. Some of us guys like to do a little ice-fishing for the lake trout lurking beneath that clear sheet of 3 foot thick glass. But my "focus" (hardy har har) early this year will be more on the photographic opportunities in the area. Particularly, I hope to regale you all with some fantastic shots of the local wolf population.
I'm not as confident they will not have me over for lunch as i used to be, ever since I had one charge me from his lying position in the snow-filled ditch. I was unarmed except for a tiny camera and the only weapon i carried was my .458 bluff. I used that one for all i was worth, throwing my arms out wide and yelling at the top of my lungs. Thankfully, the big bad wolf turned and fled back the way he came. He was only ten feet from my throat when he did that. I could have quickly been reduced to a blood-spot, bone splinters and strips of denim there on the side of the alaska highway had he not turned. And ever since, I'm a lot less likely to assume any wild animal is "safe"..
Nevertheless, these shaggy killing machines intrigue me and always have. From the first time i heard one howl late in the fall, in a drizzling rain, on the Big Salmon River, I have held them in a kind of awe. I thiink at some level, they would qualify as being my favorite wild animal. It would be ironic if i was ultimately eaten by my favorite animal, though, so i believe I will pack a deterent of some kind of my wolfly forays into the sub-arctic wilderness.
My new Nikon is not exactly top of the line, being as it is, a "bridge camera". But the cute little B500 has a lot going for it. The fixed lens eliminates the need to pack a lot of alternative lenses, and is capable of zooming to i believe 80 power. This is a substantial advantage in wildlife photography, although obviously, the more the zoom is used in a given shot, the lower the quality of the pic will be. There's a little learning curve ahead for sure, but I felt like this would make a great inexpensive backup camera, should i progress onwards and upwards in photography. And if not, it looks like it should do about everything i'll ever require of a camera anyway.
So that looks after the next month or two. Keep watching this blog and I'll try not to disappoint. If i do disappoint, it wont likely be the fault of the amazing scenery and wildlife i am so blessed to live amongst, or the cute like B500 either... Like Jethro Bodine Clampett used to say on the Beverly Hillbillies: "The Lord looks after drunks, fools and small children, and I dont drink! " (hardy har har)
Time for some down time down in Saskatchewan Canada, the land of my birth and upbringing. I"d been gone a spell and knew for some time it was high time to reconnect with family and friends and yes, i do have a few of both.
I like the one about the guy driving across the prairie with a blind man in the passenger compartment. He asks, "I don't see so well, what is saskatchewan like?" And the driver, possessed of a cutting wit replies, " Put your hand on the dash... now, leave it there for three days."
Now, I don't really go along with that so much, I just chuckle as i think about how many people cross the province and think of it as a pool table, they cant wait to get across. I lived a blessed childhood really, though i didn't really understand that at the time. We lived in the country near a small community called Main Centre. And lately, we noticed that should Kim Jung Un decide to target North "Merca with a nuke and do a google search for the middle of it, he might just decide to put the crosshairs right on this little ex-hamlet. That would be a bit of a waste for whatever resources he's applied to his nuclear armament cache because the town is barely inhabited these days. In fact, the population of one-armed, metis, liberal Trump-fans at the bottom of the Red Sea would put up a fair challenge to the count.
Now if you care to drive, walk, crawl or slither a few kilometers to the north of Dad's farm, you find yourself looking down into a totally different terrain than the flat tableland covering so much of the region. First thing you'll notice is an elongated winding lake where the south saskatchewan river used to meander the length of the valley. Back in around 1967, the Diefenbaker lake was created by building a huge dam. This has resulted in providing the local region with electricity, irrigation, and decent fishing and waterskiing opportunities. And the surrounding badlands gave this farmboy no end of entertainment as i dirtbiked, hunted, fished, fixed fence and rode horseback "down in the coulees".
They say its good to touch the green green grass of home and that's a fact. It's a bit of an emotional experience to travel through the area i spent so much time in as a boy and later a young man, seeing familiar faces in the old church and on their farms. It being December at the moment, I'm going to miss out on a few things. Chokecherries have about had it, deer season just ended, there seem to be no geese left in the area and the lake is freezing over, ending the watersports for longer than I plan on staying. Will have to return when those things are possible, but for now, I'm going to content myself doing a bit of riding in the hills, chasing some cows around, maybe helping my brother find his long lost cow-calf pair. They are jet black and it just snowed, and with that drone of his, you'd think she would have been spotted by now, but noooo. Maybe the coyotes pulled them down, maybe it was one or two of the wolves people claim to have seen here lately. I don't know but we'll keep on trying.
Then, after a couple weeks my kids will join us and we look forward to a family christmas together for the first time in a couple of years.
I plan on making a few hikes down there in those hills, just to trigger some old memories, some of which I plan to share on this blog of mine. Hope you'll join me later for that and hope the season brings you the joy which we all know should be there the whole year long!
Check here for periodic updates on fishing conditions, business updates and helpful wilderness tripping tips!