Most of my vacations are nothing more than a long weekend spent here in our home state and even then, they are usually too few and far between as the wallet is normally too light.
But this year, I vowed for it to be different.
I have accrued a lot of vacation time from work and I planned on taking it off. I’m really not a beach sort of guy and my kids’ schedules always seem to be too heavy to take a long trip, so this year, I planned on an out-of-state hunt, exactly my kind of vacation.
This past February found myself and a buddy meeting up with our friend Glenn Gosnell discussing the idea of a black bear hunting trip to Ontario, Canada. Glenn has been bear hunting several times and serves as a local contact for an outfitter based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
We listened to Glenn’s stories about the bruins, blue berries, the North woods and the walleyes in the lake. We watched a video about the area that showcased several successful bear hunts from the camp we’d be stationed in. He even tempted us with some summer sausage made from bear meat and talked about the gourmet meals they prepared for the hunters.
Good food, hunting, wilderness!
Say no more, he had me at good food!
So, here we are.
By the time this article reaches the newspaper, we’ll be making the 15-hour trip up I-75. I’ve been to Michigan several times and always enjoy the trip North. The scenery, the pines interspersed with orchards and small homesteads and farms. The lakes, streams and rivers.
The cool, clean air.
There is just something captivating about true wilderness in the north country for an outdoorsman. I feel at home in these sorts of places.
My list had been made, checked and double checked. My evening ritual for the past three months has been launching dozens of arrows from my recurve bow down range and into the vitals of my makeshift bear target. I’m zoned in, my broadhead tipped shafts are razor sharp and flying well.
The bowstring waxed, feathers waterproofed, not much more I can do, but hope for a straight arrow given the chance at the real McCoy.
The dining room has been piled with gear and the list grew and pile seems to grow larger each day. Clothes for warm weather and clothes for mid 40’s – since one never knows what kind of weather to expect that far above the border. Bug repellent of all types.
Stories of bird-sized mosquitoes, thousands of “no-see-uums” and biting flies have me more leery of the insects than I am of the bears. A spare string and extra arrows and a back up of just about everything I can think of – knives, sharpeners, flashlights, cameras – are all packed and ready.
A serious survival kit, since this isn’t a ‘back 40’ type of a trip. A comfortable sleeping bag and a little bit of home in the form of my favorite pillow will make the ride as well. Passport at the ready and everything looks like it’s a go.
So, for the followers of ‘Along the Trail’, stay tuned. I can’t guarantee you a bear, but I’m certain that there will be an adventure or two and plenty of stories to tell.
To be continued…
– David Hewitt