Up North

Last year our son really got into fishing so over the winter we decided to plan a fishing vacation during our boy’s birthday week. We found a very old-school looking family-owned resort in Northern Wisconsin that had everything we were looking for — a dog-friendly cabin that would fit our family plus my parents, a dock to fish from & where we could tie-up my dad’s fishing boat, and a lake with fish in it. And last week we packed up our little car and made the 5hour trek north to Lost Land Lake.

Reserving these types of places online sight-unseen is always a bit of a gamble because you really never know what a place is like. A couple photos online and testimonials help, but you never really know until you get there. After a quick stop for groceries in Hayward, the nearest town, we  made the 30minute drive out of all cell service to the very end of a dead-end road on which the Northland Lodge is situated. When I walked into the lodge, I was greeted with a smile and a handshake by an extremely kind lady who let me know that my parents had just arrived and then gave me a run-down of activities and amenities.

We made our way to our neat & tidy little cabin and spent the evening getting settled in. It was quite literally just steps away from the water…

img_3499And although the cabins did not have a ton of space between them, I found the resort to be very quiet and peaceful.  Despite the early morning that would surely be coming from us, that didn’t stop a certain little lady from getting her hook in the water that very night…

img_3507When you have fish at your doorstep, why wait? As the last of the light faded, we all made our way to bed for the night. Falling asleep to loons calling out on the lake, I definitely had a good feeling about the week.

And then I awoke the next morning to this…

img_3400Does it get any more picturesque?

I spent the next day and a good portion of every day doing this… img_3505I learned a lot on the boat during this trip. First, that my re-spooling of our fishing poles was a drastic improvement over the mess we had at the end of last year. Second, I am now a wizard with the palomar knot and I’m working on getting better with the uni knot. And third, the fisherman’s gloves that I have really help me get over the issues I have handling fish. I’m not proud to admit that handling them totally weirds me out, but it totally does. It totally, totally does. And these gloves actually really helped me get over that to the point that I can get in there and take hooks out all by myself. Sure, as I’m doing it I’m usually talking the fish through it — “Hey guy, I’m sorry I hooked you, but if you hold still I’ll get it out quickly and put you right back in the water, OK?” The main thing, though, is that I can actually help the kids as well as myself when we’re out and that makes the whole experience a lot better for everyone. In any case, the fish were biting like gangbusters — we caught loads of small fish, most of which we released except for just enough for a little fish fry for my son’s birthday party on Friday night.

We also brought along one of our kayaks which the kids loved getting acquainted with and Moose…

img_3501Well, he insisted on having a turn, too. He’s such a weird dog.

We also discovered something new about Moose…

img_3435We are well aware that he sometimes doesn’t understand the difference between shouts of joy & shouts of distress, so when my daughter was whew-hooing away with kayaking glee, Moose did what he thought needed to be done.

img_3443He chased her down…

img_3456Grabbed the strap on the front of the boat…

img_3457Towed her into shore…

img_3453Got himself some sure footing on land and held her there.

We’re not sure how he figured this all out since we didn’t show him how to do any of it, but I’ll admit my heart melted a little to know what great lengths my sweet pup will go to keep my kiddos safe. The downside, of course, is that once he put it all together he seemed kind of frustrated that after all his hard work both kids always wanted to instantly turn back around and go back out. He kept trying to grab them and tow them back in before they passed the end of the dock. As you can imagine, this made for a very tired Moose.

img_3490Silly, sweet Moose.

While Mr. Knitting Sarah took charge of the kayaking lessons with both kids, I stole a little time for crafting. I had packed up my spinning wheel and a couple projects when at the last minute we discovered that my spinning wheel would not fit in the car. I won’t lie, I was so sad!  Thinking on my feet because we were literally headed out the door, I grabbed a simple knitting project and my spindle spinning project to take its place. And the weirdest thing happened…

img_3504It was perfect!

I kept catching my husband watching me as I spun and then he would start chuckling to himself. Thinking he was laughing at me, after a couple days I called him out on it to which he responded, “No! I’m not laughing at you! I’m laughing at me. It’s just so hypnotic I can’t stop staring at it!” And it was — very soothing and relaxing and dare I say I actually really increased not only my comfort level with the spindles, but also my speed which was fantastic.

img_3494I managed to get through most of what remained of this 2oz of fiber and officially finished it up last night at home. This is one of my 1+1+1 projects that I thought was hopeless, that I would never finish on time. Now… there’s a chance. I’ve got the contrast color I’ll be plying with it left to go and I’m optimistic that the singles will be done by the end of the month.

I’ve been working on a lace knitting project which I knew would not fly in this type of environment, so instead I started yet another of my 1+1+1 projects…

img_2232My Hamlin Peak Cardi in Quince & Co Kestrel. It’s a very simple knit that I’ve really been enjoying. In the interest of full disclosure, I had to start over a couple times because I wasn’t being very careful about increases, but I’m on the straight-and-narrow now. I really love how simple the design is and I’m finding it a super fun knit. It turned out being a great fit for the fishing trip, too, because my hands were so incredibly dry from being in the water and worm dirt and what-have-you all day that there were times the wool of my spinning project was sticking to my hands like velcro. The linen posed no such problems. Hooray!

The birthday boy, of course, was spoiled appropriately. He picked a double chocolate cake along with some cookies & cream ice cream to follow his fish fry birthday dinner and mac n’ cheese birthday dinner. I added the trick candles because I knew his trickster nature would appreciate it. He was showered with a few new books, including a D&D Monster Manual that he read non-stop in his non-fishing time — he loves to create monsters!

img_3496He also got a couple Tin-Tin books as well as a couple new Wii games to indulge in at home. But mostly, he was happy to have loads of time for this…

img_3506And we were delighted to spend that time with him.

All in all, we had beautiful weather, excellent fishing, and many good times. The only thing missing was catching a glimpse of a black bear out in the wild which was on my husband’s wishlist. We even went for a hike through the woods thick with mosquitoes to try to see one but to no avail. Next time, I guess. Next time.

We’re home now, tanned and tired and only driven slightly mad by our share of mosquito bites. The bags are mostly unpacked. The Laundry (yes, with a capital L) is being tackled slowly, but surely. The kayak is put away in the boathouse. And the kids are sleeping in. And I’m going to sip my coffee and exist in this moment for just a little while longer…

img_3500It doesn’t get a whole lot better than this.