A few months ago, our lake cabin friends Joe and Lisa asked if Andi and I would be interested in joining them on a fly-out fishing trip in Ontario, Canada. They've made the same trip in various forms -- with other couples, their kids, or just the guys -- over the last 20+ years, and it sounded like fun to us. An outside-the-box adventure, and the chance to visit somewhere new?
Yes, please! Sign us up.
Our trip to Lake Jeanette in N.W. Ontario took place last Tuesday - Saturday. I didn't ask many questions upon our initial sign-up, so it was only a few weeks ago I learned the four of us would be flown in by seaplane to a remote cabin without any access to the rest of the world during our stay. There are only two cabins on Lake Jeanette and zero roads leading to it. Talk about an isolated getaway!
Fortunately, our 'home away from home' for the week was a newly remodeled cabin built in 2011 comfortably equipped with a refrigerator, solar lights, gas range, bunk beds and pots for cooking. That's right, bunk beds! Andi and I were paying to vacation in a place where we'd sleep in separate beds. I questioned our logic on this one several times, but it all turned out okay. There's a shower with hot and cold running water in the cabin, but no power outlets (a.k.a.: no hair dryers on this vacation!) and the toilet is an out-house in the back woods. Now having visited, I'd say it was the perfect combination of 'roughing it' for me.
Our cabin on Lake Jeanette - living room with wood-burning stove,
and, our modest sleeping accommodations. Each couple had their own bedroom, and we brought our own bedding.
Tuesday morning, Andi and I met up with Joe and Lisa in the Twin Cities at 5:45am to get a jump-start on our drive to Canada. With stops for food, gas and the U.S. / Canadian border crossing in International Falls, MN, it took us about 11 hours to get to KaBeeLo Fishing Lodge, north of Ear Falls, Ontario.
Minutes after we arrived at the main outpost, we hopped into the seaplane and flew to our cabin on Lake Jeanette. All of our personal bags and fishing gear were loaded directly onto the plane with us. We each were allowed 40 pounds/per person for weight allowance. We stopped at a LCBO for alcohol just before Ear Falls, and it was kind of a gamble what to bring. The goal is not to run out too quickly, but not to bring anything back on the plane at the end of the trip either. Together, we brought two bottles of wine, two cases of beer, three bottles of booze and one case of water for four people. Food (eggs, potatoes, bread, onions, burgers, hot dogs, steak, bacon, canned fruit and vegetables) is included in the rate.
The 20-minute flight to Lake Jeanette was the perfect ending to a long day of car travel. We were all so excited to get there and start our vacation! Already, the scenery was gorgeous and what a sight to see it all from the air.
Joe, Lisa and Andi
I was lucky enough to snag front seat with the pilot.
Once we dropped our bags in the cabin, the four of us immediately set out for fishing. Joe and Andi selected which fishing boats they wanted to use for the week from the line-up of five boats available. Boats and unlimited gas were included in the price of our stay, but we brought everything else needed to fish including our poles, tackle, life jackets, depth finder, etc.
Each couple had their own fishing boat, and I loved the one-on-one time I got to spend with Andi everyday. He and I were a team on this crazy lake adventure.
Andi spent most of the first evening on the lake giving me a refresher course in fishing. I've fished a few times at our own lake cabin, but I'm hardly an expert. I needed a crash course in casting and reeling, a lesson on how to jig the rod for walleyes, and how to hook my own live bait minnows. Andi, on the other hand, is fairly knowledgeable having grown up fishing with his dad. In no time, Andi and I were catching big fish and having a blast doing so. He was a very patient teacher and I didn't envy him for a bit in all he had to do -- driving the boat, setting up our fishing poles, humanely taking our fish off the hooks and letting them go back into the water ... all while assisting his wife in getting the hang of things. We laughed a lot, and it felt so good to be outdoors in this beautiful place.
We met Joe and Lisa back at the cabin around sunset for dinner, just in time to snap a picture at this gorgeous view from our dock.
Joe fried some freshly-caught walleyes for appetizers, and then the four of us enjoyed roast beef, rice and homemade bread sent from the lodge to-go for dinner. Our first cooking challenge was to heat up our roast beef dinner without the option of an oven or a microwave. The available pots and pans for stove-top cooking came in handy.
By 10:00pm, I was exhausted and I think the rest of the crew was, too. We headed to bed for our first night at the cabin shortly afterwards. I got the giggles when I looked over and saw Andi snuggled up in his sleeping bag with his head lamp on, reading a book. There wasn't much else to do without phone or internet access. Three minutes into reading, we both clicked off our lights and fell fast asleep.
Quite an experience this trip would prove to be, and we were only getting started. Day 2 - Wednesday (a.k.a: our audition for Deadliest Catch) - coming soon...