Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Favorite Places, Part #3{Lake Front and other waters}

Garry and I headed north about 50 miles last night...the rains that had hit Celina, missed the Putnam County area around Kalida, and we arrived for a game between the home team, with a K, and their opponents, Elida, with a E....quick game, with him behind the plate.  Kalida scores 9 in the bottom of the 5th, to break open a close game and win 14-3 with the final margin coming on a walk-off/run rule Grand Slam Home Run....we took the back roads, and were home by 9pm.  Tonight "Pops" Gray and I are slated to do a 6pm double header at Rockford Parkway, weather cooperating.  The weather gurus say 60% chance of  rain and storms today, with 50% this time, the sun is shining bright, with the Radar showing rain back some 200 miles as the crow flies, near the Chicago area.  Tomorrow at Crestview, then the weekend off, as we will be joining youngest son Hal and wife for Father's Day weekend in Centerville and Cincinnati.  Saturday, the sex of the baby, coming in late November will be revealed(maybe), and then we head for dinner at the famous Montgomery Inn near Cincy, then take in the Reds vs Toronto Blue Jays in an Interleague game at Great American Ballpark.

Favorite Places Part 3...Lake Front Property___

Yesterday it was Seashores and Beaches on the, the more quite settings of clear fresh water lakes.  Living near the Gulf of Mexico in my early youth, and then on the south side of Grand Lake in my High School days, I have spent much of my life near water...I guess I have two regrets concerning that...(1) I didn't learn to swim until I was 13, which limited my Gulf experience to staying in the areas of less than 4 feet deep in those days...and (2) a penchant for getting "sea sick" when in deep water in a boat, something these days is controlled by the "Patch".  That patch keeps the inner ear hairs settled down and makes deep water boating more bearable.

(1) Higgins and Kneff Lakes in northern lower Michigan.

Patricia and I found these two lakes back in the days before we were married....we liked to camp and found Kneff Lake, near Grayling, on a trip up that way on Memorial Day weekend back in 1974.  At Kneff Lake we "roughed" showers, but they did have flush toilets, so we would camp and fish there for a couple of days...then move south to Higgins Lake State Park, where we would spend a night and a day in the more community style camping, more people, more noise, but they did have hot showers.  We would take the Airedales, first Rags, then Rags and Max with us, during my Red Door and college days at Hocking/ Athens.  I never can remember a bad time or bad weather for that 4 year run at those two lakes....the dogs loved the water, and we enjoyed getting away.

(2)  Lake In The Woods, Northern Minnesota____

I have only been to the far north area, The Boundary Waters, one time.  But it was a place that I had always wanted to go, and I would not mind getting back to someday, before I'm too damn old to move.

Jim Olson and I met four of his North Dakota friends up that way back in was early June and the temperatures were cool...highs in the low to mid 60s for the day, with lows in the 40s at night...we ended up on the small Island in the top photos, which was located in one of the thousands of small lakes in the area.  The highlight was actually getting to the island and finding our comrades.

Jim and I decided to have a few drinks before we jumped into the rented canoe...then realizing we had to portage across a strip of land about a mile wide...not once, but 3 times, with canoe and our overload of gear...try doing that drunk or stoned.  Even at 28 years old and in pretty good condition, which I was, Olson, 25 or so, but not much for physical activity, it was a chore.  By the time we found the island and our cohorts, it was almost dark, and we were envisioning spending the night, with the wolves and bears, lost from our friends.  But find them we did...and after that we had 3 pretty good days of eating, drinking, fishing, and boating, in the wild.  It was indeed a great time.

(3) Delta Lake in Upstate New York____

My Air Force days ended in Rome, New York, at Griffiss AFB.  Although I hated stateside duty, and the Chicken Shit SAC command at The Griff, I did get a couple of things from my days at Rome.  (1) I learned to Snow Ski, at Snow Ridge in Turin, buddy, the late Jack Friedl, and I learned to ski, and in upstate NY if you love the outdoors, you better learn to ski or snowmobile, or you become a total alcoholic {with the 9 months of snow and cold...},which we were close to becoming anyway.

We also learned, or were stupid enough to try "Cliff Diving" at Delta Lake.  The cliffs above the cold water of Delta approached 50 feet...and we, and a few other knuckleheads, would head there on occasion and dive or jump into the clear, cold, water.  Jack and a few others, with more balls than brains, would actually dive head first into the water 50 feet or more below.  I never would take that chance.  I jumped feet first...figuring a broken back and/or leg was preferable to a broken neck and life in a wheelchair.  Those guys you see on Wide World of Sports had nothing on us....or so it seemed.

Those memories are as clear these days as the Delta Lake water was in 1971.

(4)  Lake Erie___

Nick and I spend many weekends fishing in his 22 footer on "Ohio's Great Lake"...Lake Erie back in the 1980s...Walleye, a few bouts of getting sea sick, and the Erie Island Party Houses were the highlights of those years...the low lights were basically getting sea sick, and those weekends that something would got wrong with the boat...a prop shearing, a prop getting sheared, an engine fire, 6 foot seas, and getting sea sick...did I mention props being sheared and getting sea sick?  Finally after a decade of that, and hauling that large boat up on weekends, the Lake Erie portion of my life ended....and there are some good memories there, but I will venture, just a many pain in the asses, as good memories.

(5)  Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio____

I can't end this segment without writing about the lake I see on an almost daily basis....

Grand Lake these days is off limits to swimming, the fishing sucks, and boating is all that remains to enjoy.  The smell during certain months is unbearable....the 13,000 acres have become a cesspool by many standards.  But I still get out on it at least once a year, for the Bar Stool Open.  This year Nick will put his pontoon out on August 5th for the 11th annual event.  Other than that, I am not sure how often I will venture out on's just not what it used to be.  Growth in lake population, and uncontrolled farming practices are to blame in putting the 7 foot deep man make behemoth in pearl.

Grand Lake, or the Celina Reservoir, as it used to be called has always been shallow, and has always been rather polluted to a certain degree...but nothing like it is these days.  The mega farm runoffs and uncaring of those in stewardship has ruined a once good vacation spot.

I first visited Grand Lake in 1960....the crappie and catfish fishing were great, the boating and swimming were decent, and I spent my high school days either on the lake or partying and drinking in one of the many watering holes that surround the once "largest man-made lake in the world".  These days I spend a day or two boating, some of my walks next to the rocky shore line, or on occasion stopping by Windy Point to take some photos...otherwise the lake is about 5 blocks from my house, but I seldom think much about it.  Sad as that seems, it is reality...and no matter how much state and local officials try to put a ribbon on this pig, it is what it is...a shell of it's once former self.

Other Lakes I cannot leave off this list include, Lake Tagamung in Ontario, where we fished and camped back in 1995, Lake Tomahawk, and the surrounding lakes near Wausau and Merrill, Wisconsin, and the lakes around Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, where Patricia's parents call home...those all have some good memories as well.

I'm not sure what I'll write about as far as tomorrow...maybe part #4, or perhaps that will wait until brain is cramping...and I might need to rest it.  :)

back later>>>>

Photos-Top.."Our" Island in the Boundary Waters...the top photo is from a web site on the Minnesota Boundary Waters, and the second is how our Island looked back in June 1978.  Higgins Lake and Kneff Lake Michigan, the Boundary Water Island Camp Site in 78.   Delta Lake near Rome, NY, as it looks these days.   Me, with a Lake Erie Walleye back in 1984...and then Grand Lake, Nick and some of our "golfing" buddies during the Bar Stool Open, and a peaceful shot taken last summer, when the lake had been declared "off limits" except for a few boaters, like us, who decided to venture out...pretty peaceful at that time.

1 comment:

FHB said...

I didn't get to go on my annual fishing trip to Canada this year. I'm in withdrawals now. Those pictures are NOT helping.