Sunday, August 19, 2018

To Cross a Fox

Cross Foxes is a 5 star restaurant at the foot of a mountain in Wales that is apparently dog friendly.  It is called "a dining extravaganza in a fantastic setting."  Did I just return from Wales?  Did I visit my acquaintance Harry Holland, a famous artist in Cardiff?  Although, it seemed like I traveled 6 time zones, sadly, I have never been to Wales so the answer is "no."

But...I did experience a cross fox, the four footed critter.

The Cross Fox is a mutation of the red fox, mostly seen in the boreal forests on Canada.  This was where I was and as I sat in line at the Canadian Customs line, a cross fox came out of the forest to look at us and defying rules on cameras, I snapped a quick shot of the beautiful creature harvested for its unique fur.

It was a typical week of pike fishing, birding, and having an adventure.  There was a rare Greater Black hawk in Maine to chase but this trip had been set year's ago so there was no second thoughts on that, Ontario was on.  Not everything is a seaplane awaited to take us northwest from Armstrong Ontario

On Sunday the 12th I luckily knocked off item #121 on my bucket list.  I drove completely around Smoothrock Lake, making a 35 mile or so odyssey in a 16 foot boat with a 20 horsepower motor,something I had never done since I first came there in 1982.  We caught some nice walleyes cruising around and saw some nice views.  It was my longest boat ride since 1991 when my wife and I crazily drove a 14 foot boat 100 miles down Lake Powell to see Rainbow bridge actually knocking off two buck list items, oddly both having nothing to do with the journey or the monument, and both incidental
#2 Catching a 1lb bluegill and #9 catching a 2lb crappie,both under the dock at the trail to the famous natural arch

Besides completing a life goal, I also caught some fish....

I saw some birds
Gray Jay

Baby loon with parent

Ruffed grouse on a cabin roof

Red eyed vireo

I also saw some "good"bugs:

A common branded skipper

One of the northernmost  reported to the bug site, BAMONA

Aphrodite fritillary

I saw some fabulous scenery, before a nearby forest fire filled the air with burning smoke and making days seem like dusk and dusk resembling nights

Sea Monster Bay from my book..."Confessions of a Pike Whisperer" absent this year of anything scary including large fish

The falls on the west side of the lake

The falls on the east side of the lake at Funger Lake

Trophies were handed out:
Unfortunately, none to me.  It was another year without hardware or prize money. 
Dr Jerry McCollough from Wadena, MN won the Stan Peer Trophy for winning the walleye challenge, catching the winning fish on his last fish.  2017 champion, Eric Thoreson of Rice lake, WI is handing him the trophy.

My boat partner Greg Peer bested my pike by over two inches to win the pike trophy, the 9th year of the last ten, the "pike boat" won the contest.with his second fish of the trip.  It was Greg's 3rd in a row, since we tied back in 2015.  Our boat caught 151 pike, down about 100-150 pike from a good year, due to the calm and the heat.

I ate some fine bush lunches:in remote spots, it wasn't five star like Cross Foxes, but my cooking was good, I gave it half a star because it was hot and generally we had something to sit on
I made grilled cheese

Franks on Burnt Over Lunch island

There were woodchucks:

There were few blueberries on the bushes to pick again this year, but we got enough for pancakes

While I was out searching for warblers to photo on one of the too many hot and lazy days without fish, I stumbled upon a scene with a guide Greg Alexander and some of the camp help, tried to water ski.  One  looked to be almost drowning after starting well.

Another kid finally making the longest run possibly ever on the lake, and Greg gave him the thumbs up!  way to go!

Yet another great trip up above the tension line, hundreds of miles north of the 48th parallel in the land of the North....It wasn't Wales but oh Canada!  I think this is my 42nd up here. I could go for free in September but well,  I have other things to do, like fire up our new land yacht....


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