In spite of a rough start with fires, summer is here and the variety of guests in camp show it. The wedding reception on the new patio in front of the lodge seemed to kick the summer season off.
We just finished a large family reunion. They came from all over the country. Each night at 7:00 they gathered for dinner to talk about what they had done during the day and to catch up on each others’ lives. Each family had children who were growing way too fast and the grandparents who were enjoying every moment.
Right after they left, we had a couple check in who were here to plan their family reunion for next summer. These folks have been with us for almost 30 years. Every five years they bring their family together to share some time at Gunflint. Next summer there will be 18 of them. With grandchildren scattering for jobs, it gets more difficult to plan dates that fit everyone.
Sunday another couple who have been with us for years checked in for a week of fishing. One of their friends who used to come with her husband and now comes with a daughter also arrived. They will be out fishing every day with two guides. If past experience is any indication, we will expect to see some wonderful catches of fish.
And speaking of fish, Bruce and I have been enjoying and sharing some fresh walleye. Bruce spent a half day on Northern Light with Dennis Todd, one of our guides. We had fresh walleye for dinner that night. There is no way you can beat eating really fresh fish. Lee and Eva came down for dinner. Being pregnant Eva is limited in how much fish she can eat, so Lee, Bruce and I ate her share plus ours. We really made pigs of ourselves but it was a great way to go.
A couple days later we had visiting friends from Florida. Thirty years ago we used to go up into Canada fishing with them on fly-in lakes. In those days we would have 4-6 adults and 10 children. The kids all learned to drive boats and to fish. They cleaned fish, did dishes and swam in the lake.
Our schedule was really relaxed. In the morning Ron fixed a huge breakfast and we were out fishing by 10:00 a.m. By mid-afternoon we came in with fresh fish. We ate our main mean about 3:00 p.m. Bruce would start by frying up walleye fingers. Sometimes he would fry for an hour. The fish were eaten as fast as he could cook. Then it was time to cook the main food. After everything was cleaned up, the kids would swim and the adults napped or talked. About 6:00 p.m. we would all go out fishing until dark. After coming in it was time to break out sandwiches, soup, canned fruit, hot chocolate, and whatever else anyone wanted. We all slept good at night.
You will notice that there is no mention of the two women, Pat and I, cooking. We were really treated like queens. The men cooked and the kids did everything else. Also notice that everyone went fishing no matter what their gender was. Sometimes the girls had Barbie dolls in the boat but they still spent time fishing. W all look back fondly on those trips. So when Ron and Pat visit we always have to plan a walleye dinner.
I also see that the three naturalists are keeping busy. Canoeing lessons were going on at the dock yesterday. Then they all took a paddle on the lake. Tucker and I saw them pass when he was down swimming. Every week more and more people explore the woods with the three of them.
Bruce and I have spent a little time in the woods ourselves. The wild strawberries are ripe. We picked a bit the other day. They will soon be made into jam for the winter. It looks like both blueberries and raspberries will be abundant this year. In fact abundant might be an understatement.
It is a good thing as there is not one frozen blueberry in our house. I make blueberry jam but what we really like is blueberry pancakes and blueberry pie. Bruce is the pancake maker in our house. He makes them from scratch and includes corn meal, buttermilk, bananas, walnuts and blueberries. It is a great way to start the morning especially when topped with warm maple syrup.
And now just a short commercial for those of you who will be up on the Gunflint Trail on July 18th. That night the annual canoe races will be held here at the lodge. The event is a benefit for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department. This year we really want to thank the men and women who volunteer their time with the department. During the entire Ham Lake Fire, these folks worked fighting the fire and providing the necessary local knowledge for fire fighters from all over the country. In addition to the canoe races for all ages, food is sold and there are two raffles. One is for over 100 gifts from local stores and residents. The other is for a brand new canoe donated by Winonah Canoe Company. Tickets for a raffles are sold up and down the Trail from now until the event. You don’t have to be present to win. But if you are present, it really is a very fun evening.